It has always seemed counter-intuitive to me that many professors dislike assessment.They think of it as a necessary evil imposed on them by university administrators. Yet, they happily follow their own research agendas: they create pre- and post-tests to get answers to their questions; they set up experiments to uncover the relati0nship between X, Y and Z; they write survey questions & conduct focus groups and interviews to find out what makes their subjects tick; they write articles about their findings to increase knowledge in the field (and work towards tenure). Sometimes I wonder if they just don’t see the similarities between good research and good assessment practices. However, the parallels are so obvious:
- In assessment, just like in research, there is an question that needs answers. While in research, it most likely is a question related to the field, in assessment, it is most likely related to if and how students are learning.
- The same methods used in research can be applied to assessment. Do you do qualitative research like interviews and focus groups in your research endeavors? You can do the same with your students. Or you could ask a colleague or graduate assistant to do this in your classroom to avoid making your students uncomfortable. Do you use quantitative methods such a surveys in your research? You can create a survey for your students as well.
- Publishing your findings is possible in research as well as assessment. In fact, there are more and more highly rated journals that are willing to publish which teaching methods work in what kind of situation, etc.
So, I wonder, how is it that not more professors see the similarities between research and assessment?