When I read this from Marilyn M. Lombardi, “Making the Grade: The Role of Assessment in Authentic Learning”:
“If we want learners to engage with ambiguous and complex problems, including those drawn from real life, then we need new forms of assessment that document the higher-order thinking and problem solving that students demonstrate.”
I just want to say: “RIGHT!” As a student, I am really tired of those standardized tests and meaningless exams. With the flood of new knowledge and technology, we do need new forms of assessment that can reflect our students’ authentic learning and mastery. Memorization and repetition turn out to severely impede students’ desire of deep and extensive learning. Most of the students are able to repeat/recite what they have learned when they at school. However, when they graduated, what else can they remember and for how much can those memories be useful. I heard a lot that graduated students are complaining about the sophisticated education system and how badly they realize that what they’ve learned and tested are, in fact, made little use for their future career. When working as newcomers, they are panicked as they seem to be used to follow instructions for routine tasks and have no idea how to address real-life unknown challenges. Such a tragedy of education.
If we want students to fully involved into the learning environment and actively push themselves to master and develop the innovative knowledge, we need to appropriately incentivize them both extrinsically and intrinsically. Traditional assessment of student performance is apparently outdated from the contemporary learning environment. It is still important, though, as a supplementary tool for assessing students’ mastery of course required knowledge. Part of the reason for me to reconsider the importance of traditional assessment is that, it is a fairly standardized tool to give the lecturers a peer-evaluation of students’ performance compared with others. However, more creative assessment in inquiry-based learning is, without no doubt, increasingly pivotal to be called for the contemporary education system. We have spent lots of time discussing how to incentivize students for creative and critical thinking. But if we are fail to process authentic assessment in their authentic learning achievements, the revolution of education can never reach its ultimate goal.
About extrinsic motivation, I think most of the students (if not all) are pleased to get “A” grade that recognizes their devotion and commitment to the class, irrespective of the assessment methods. Here we can make a simple analogy that, getting “A” is a full prize reward. To get “A”, students are generally ignited to learn these contents that will be graded for class requirement. However, because the evaluation is just based on those that will be graded, students are reluctant to actively learn what’s out of the scope of class/exam requirement. So, the problem becomes how to design a qualitative assessment method that can inspire students to learn extensively. Simple but also complex way is to modify the exam form and to take into consideration of extra bonus for critical and creative learning achievement, such as problem-analysis and problem-solve project that require self-promotion on learning.
About intrinsic motivation, I think it is more about self-purpose and self-achievement. Since the first day when we came to school, we were asked to think about “who am I?” “What I’m gonna be?” “How can I achieve to be?” With these thoughts in mind, we are purposely looking around campus and choosing the courses that satisfy our life/career expectation, or at least, our personal interest. To evaluate the achievements under this motivation is absolutely even harder. This will need lecturers to put more effort on designing diversified but peer-based assessment methods that incentivize every (more) student to achieve their expectations. However, this will also put too much workload and pressure on lecturers and crowd out their limited time for their own research or other schedules. Luckily, it is very nice that there have been increasing research (such as Marilyn M. Lombardi, “Making the Grade: The Role of Assessment in Authentic Learning”) on how to revise assessment system and most of them provide feasible examples for lecturers to adapt without occupying too much time.
As an economic researcher, I tend to believe that individuals are all utility/purpose maximizer under certain life constraints. If we can define the proper utility formula that can represent their life/career expectation, we are on the right way of guiding them to make quicker and better achievements.