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Assessing Constructions and Constructing Asssessments

A Dialogue
D. J. Cunningham
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Jasmina HasanbegovicCunningham revitalises the participants of the Galilean Dialogue to discuss objectivist and constructivist views of assessment. After presenting the learning position of objectivism and constructivism, the discussants reflect the activities of an instructional developer under a constructive framework. The work of an constructivist begins by selecting tasks that are relevant to the child’s lived experience whereby the task of the teacher is then to provide access to tools that can be used to better understand or construct solutions to the problem at an individual or group level. Assessment as a human matter arises naturally from the situations where students are involved in realistic or actual tasks and not by an instrument designed to be as independent of context as possible. The mind constructs information based upon past experience and ongoing interactions in the world. These constructions can be assessed by seeing if the students can successfully construct plausible solutions to the tasks and by checking if the student develops a kind of self- awareness. The instructional designer will work within the Wteachers’ zone of proximal development", providing tools and techniques to help the teacher accomplish his/her goal.
Quelle: http://www.elearning-reviews.org/
Von Jasmina Hasanbegovic, erfasst im Biblionetz am 26.11.2004
Cunningham (chapter 3) argues that the goal of instruction is not to as sure that individuals know particular things (e.g., as argued by Hirsch, 1987) but rather to show them how to construct plausible interpretations of those things, using the tools that we have provided or developed in collaboration with them. Part of assuring that it is "plausible" includes ässuming alternative perspectives (alternative goals, emphases) and developing or soliciting alternative interpretations from those other perspectives. Thus, while all interpretations or constructions are not equal, it cannot be presumed that there is one correct perspective or one correct interpretation.
Cunningham explicitly rejects the notion that he is simply discussing higher order learning — one of the many possible categories of learning. This is a view that is rather consistently expressed by the contributors. Skills cannot be considered independently of the problems to which they are applied. Learningj» particular subskill means using it effectively in solvmg problems. Consistent with this, Cunningham rejects traditional tests, suggesting that we look at the learning activity itself and look at the child's ability to reflect upon or discuss that activity. Cunningham argues that assessment emerges quite naturally from task performance if we have authentic tasks of some substance (e.g., beyond doing word problems at the end of a chapter).
im Buch Constructivism and the technology of instruction (1992) im Text Constructivism auf Seite 7

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