Assessment in Higher Education: Issues of Access, Quality, Student Development, and Public Policy

By Samuel J. Messick | Go to book overview

curs experientially prior to or outside of college--assessment that is basically judgmental in nature--is the recognition that reliability and validity can be attained through careful training of judges to apply clear performance standards. Much of this assessment is portfolio-assisted, to use Keeton's term, in the sense that multiple forms of a student's prior experiences are compiled, from which inferences about the level and amount of relevant experiential learning are evaluated.

Such attempts to infuse higher education with sound assessment of experiential learning are important for at least two reasons. One is that recognition of experiential learning opens access and facilitates progress of an increasingly diverse student clientele. The other reason is that the availability of sound procedures for assessing experiential learning should increase the likelihood that hands-on practice of desired skills will become a more integral part of formal instructional experiences, thereby making higher education more performance- based as well as theory-based.

In Chapters 5 and 6, Wilbert McKeachie and Sister Joel Read, respectively, offer commentary elaborating points stimulated by the three previous chapters. McKeachie emphasizes that feedback often leads to improvements in teaching and learning but is no panacea. Indeed, he outlines conditions needed for feedback to be effective. Prominent among these are feedback that stimulates student involvement and reflectiveness and that is generalizable and fosters development of transferable skills to advance further learning. Sister Joel Read focusses on six characteristics of assessment aimed at supporting student access and success, prime among which are validity and reliability but also other features bearing on issues of comparability, fairness, and value. She emphasizes that to facilitate student access and success across the curriculum, the assessments should be diagnostic and provide feedback not only about current status but also about directions for improvement.


REFERENCES

Holtzman W. H. ( 1976). "Education for creative problem solving". In S. Messick & Associates (Eds.), Individuality in learning (p. 23-33). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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