Putting More Human Judgment Into Student Assessment By Deborah Meier

Putting More Human Judgment Into Student Assessment

Ed Week
Deborah Meier and Joe Nathan discuss the role of performance and human judgment in school assessment systems. Do state driver's license exams offer lessons for schools?

Dear Joe,

I'm trying to get at the heart of our agreement and disagreement. 

Example: I think we are interpreting the word "measure" differently. I'm using judgment, in this case, to distinguish from measurement, which has a connotation of numerical precision and objectivity that judgment lacks--for good reasons. Judgment, as I see it, has all the defects of its blessings. It doesn't claim to be able to do more than it claims and for that very reason is at its best when it is required to work in collaboration with other factors to reach a consensus. It doesn't, also, claim to be righter than what it represents. It's at the heart of democracy, and that means it is sometimes wrong!!!!  

For the purpose of graduation requirements judgment therefore operates best when its members or contributors include a majority who have no special interest or conflict of interest with the task set before it. I liked including a member of the faculty and an adult chosen by the candidate for graduation and the student assistant. Generally we kept the membership as constant for all meetings and defenses as possible, adding--where needed--someone expert in the field/domain under review to add expert disciplinary knowledge if needed.

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