Re: Assessment/Grading p.o.v.

Marcy Bauman (marcyb@UMD.UMICH.EDU)
Mon, 2 Sep 1996 00:04:38 -0400

On Sun, 1 Sep 1996, Bob King wrote:

> Marcy, I *am* serious about pomo theory of self. I agree with you that
> it's true -- particularly true to experience. And I am truly hopeful that
> personalized education will indeed become possible if not unavoidable in
> the era, soon to be upon us, when every student has a laptop starting in
> the elementary grades. Institutions are already changing, as you pointed
> out in one of your earlier posts. Lots of things are possible now that
> are barely being dreamed of because of old habits, I think!

Bob, yes, I agree that things that we can barely dream are now
possible. I'm a little worried about what "personalized education" might
come to mean, though: my fear is that it will mean ultra-tracking
because we have the ability to take any subject and break it into ever
smaller discrete bits and recombine those bits into ultra-personalized
multiple-choice tests . . . or that the fact that people can pursue
degrees online and offsite may come to mean that some people never
interact with others in a learning community at all.

My idea about personalized education has always been that within
a larger project or enterprise, everyone participates according to their
abilities, and contributes something really worthwhile to the group's
tasks and goals. This idea doesn't strike me as terribly difficult to
achieve. I see it all the time in my 9-year-old son's pick-up street
hockey games, for example, which include the 5-year-old across the
street who can barely skate, the kid down the street who doesn't like to
rillerblade so he plays in tennis shoes, the hot-shot kid who's taking
ice hockey lessons, and so on. Nobody knows or can do exactly what
anyone else can, but everyone gets better. And the game goes on.

I think computers offer a powerful means of enacting those kinds
of enterprises in the classroom . . . but we better start dreaming fast,
because they also make writing tests a whole lot easier, too.


Marcy Bauman
Writing Program
University of Michigan-Dearborn
4901 Evergreen Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48128

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