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

By Samuel J. Messick | Go to book overview

18
TECHNOLOGY AND THE FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION ASSESSMENT

Samuel Messick

Educational Testing Service

Computer technologies, including multimedia, are dramatically changing the way individuals learn as well as the way they work. Technological innovations are having a profound impact on the processes of instruction, selection, guidance, placement, and performance in both educational and employment settings. As a consequence, higher education needs to gear up to capitalize upon and extend the new technology-based modes of learning as well as to prepare individuals to cope with new and changing demands of the workplace. Meeting these challenges will require, among many other accommodations, a more extensive and varied role of assessment in higher education. The greatly expanded diversity of new demands on individuals and institutions will require new and more varied methods of assessing new and more varied aptitudes, competencies, and personal qualities, using new and more varied delivery systems to respond effectively and in timely fashion to new and more varied educational and societal needs.

Given the rapid pace and pervasiveness of technological change, some rationale is needed to guide proposed enhancements in higher education assessment, as well as in higher education itself, to minimize haphazard and trial-anderror responses. Of the numerous features of a technology-dominated future that are relevant to education and assessment, many of which bear common implications concerning the need for diversity in both the content and methods of learning and measurement, we will highlight three major ones:

First, the massive infusion of computer technology into education will lead to a heightened individuality in learning and performance as well as to a widening and deepening of consistent individual differences in learning and thinking styles.

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