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Type: Journal article
Title: Can educationally significant learning be assessed?
Author: Stolz, S.A.
Citation: Educational Philosophy and Theory, 2017; 49(4):379-390
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 0013-1857
Statement of
Steven A. Stolz
Abstract: This article argues that assessment is a central feature of teaching, particularly as a means to determine whether what has been taught has been learnt. However, I take issue with the current trend in education which places a significant amount of emphasis upon large-scale public testing, which in turn has exacerbated the ‘teaching-to-the-test’ syndrome, not to mention distorting teaching decisions that are detrimental to the overall development of student knowledge and understanding. Part of the problem with assessment in education seems to revolve around the nature of knowledge and how best to assess human knowledge and understanding. Although much philosophical uncertainty and disagreement exists surrounding the nature of knowledge, I argue that coming to know something is a sine qua non of any education. In saying this, I highlight the limits of assessment by demonstrating how certain activities are resistant to large-scale public testing because they are not easily reducible to facts which can be tested for, or at least in the same way as propositional forms of knowledge. Consequently, my argument is a philosophical one to the effect that assessment, particularly large-scale public testing is incapable of assessing all forms of learning, or even the quality of student understanding because the instruments available are both too blunt and tend to capture a certain kind of knowledge that privileges theory over practice, and mental skills over physical skills.
Keywords: epistemology; knowledge; teaching; learning; assessment
Description: Published online: 01 Jun 2015.
Rights: © 2015 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2015.1048664
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