Activating Assessment for Learning: Are We on the Way with Web 2.0?

Activating Assessment for Learning: Are We on the Way with Web 2.0?

Denise Whitelock (The Open University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-294-7.ch017
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Abstract

This chapter examines the role Web 2.0 tools can play in promoting the “assessment for learning” agenda. It presents a number of cases of peer, self, and computer assessments that display a range of characteristics proposed by Elliott (2008) for the next generation of assessment tasks. The discussion of the cases reveals a missing characteristic, which is a form of feedback to the students that will take their learning forward—the author calls this “advice for action.” It is argued that in order for assessment tasks and tools to become more effective they need to be embedded within a pedagogical framework, which in turn requires a supportive infrastructure as proposed by the 4Ts pyramid. The major components of the pyramid consist of: (1) tool development; (2) staff training; (3) rethinking the assessment tasks; and (4) learning from the assessment tasks.
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If we wish to discover the truth about an educational system, we must look into its assessment procedures. (Rowntree, 1987, p. 1)

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Theoretical Drivers For Influences On Assessment

It is difficult to differentiate or separate assessment from learning, and when we start to investigate the theoretical influences on assessment it is not unreasonable to expect them to be more strongly tied to learning theories than is often found to be the case. This is because developments in assessment have been largely driven by measurement techniques that can account for the validity and reliability of large-scale testing programs, rather than provide students with feedback that will assist them with future learning scenarios. The latter notion is referred to in this chapter as “advice for action.” On the other hand, the way in which knowledge creation has been defined and understood has had far-reaching consequences for the way in which education has been delivered (Case, 1996). Consequently, it has affected pedagogical strategies, but often theoretical positions have not been thoroughly worked out at the level of student assessment.

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