What is Your Philosophy of Assessment?
One area of consistent disconnect between faculty, staff, and others involved in assessment of student learning is agreement on what assessment is and isn’t, along with agreement on the value, worth, and purpose for engaging in assessment of student learning in the first place. In part, this is due to conversations on assessment beginning with a focus on the doing of assessment as opposed to why we do assessment. It is also due to disciplinary differences and philosophical stances on assessment –the underlying mental models if you will –that drive decisions around assessment processes and practices (Jankowski, 2017). Without clarity on the philosophy behind assessment, faculty and staff can talk past each other, misunderstand one another, and/or reinforce or obfuscate assessment culture. Explore your own perceptions and philosophical approaches regarding the purpose and value of assessment. The purpose of this activity is two–fold. The first is to help uncover underlying tendencies towards different philosophies of assessment based on assessment–related beliefs. The second purpose is for assessment professionals to be better prepared and informed on how to engage in conversations about student learning with people from different philosophical positions and viewpoints such that they do not talk past each other. Knowing the philosophical stances of people, disciplines, units or departments on assessment can help improve communication and lower misunderstanding. For example, one would not be overly successful talking to a person about teaching and learning who believes assessment to be about compliance. The four philosophies are:▪Teaching and Learning:Assessment is viewed as part of pedagogy and student learning, driven by faculty questions about their classroom and programmatic practices in ways that guide future developments in both teaching and learning. The purpose of assessment is formative, and to enhance faculty teaching and