Re: Assessment/Grading p.o.v.

Bob King (kingbx@HAMLET.UNCG.EDU)
Thu, 29 Aug 1996 15:59:22 -0400

On Thu, 29 Aug 1996, !Maureen Fitzpatrick wrote:

> I'm going a little off here but this reminded me of something that happened
> I was a Residence Hall Director while I was doing my graduate course work.
> students took a personality inventory that we used to assist us in matching
> roommates. One year, we had a new overlord who insisted that we all file
> forms in our non-existent offices (the top drawer of a dresser in my case).
> When we asked him why we would need these forms, he said "So when there are
> conflicts and some roommates tell you they don't get along, you can show them
> they do!"

That's a great story! -- and not a bit off topic, imo. I think others
have mentioned along the way of this particular thread that tests are
meant to "point towards" something else, which is the "real thing" (i.e.,
learning), and that things really only get goofy when the pointer takes
the place of the point.

The point in the above story, I gather anyway, is that people spend the
time to try to assign roomates carefully so that getting along (the real
thing, in this case) is more likely to happen, not to convince people that
that is has been pre-proven they do get along and therefore must!

Diagnostic tests are meant to point towards possible trouble, or possible
fruitful paths to consider, not to guarantee against trouble or to dictate
a path. I have never taken the Meyer's Briggs test, but I would imagine
it might point me towards new ways of looking at an old subject (namely
myself, even though I'm not *that* old, imo of course :) I wouldn't
expect it to "tell me who I am" or anything like that.

Evaluative tests are meant to point towards whatever still needs to be
learned, not meant to compare and rank students. That's how mastery
learning works: a person studies for awhile, then tests for what
s/he's missed. I've taught myself some stuff about computers this way,
and I've actually appreciated the little tests at the end of the chapters
because I know some of it I just need to commit to memory, plain and

Bob King