Re-imagining Assessments

Looking to the future
  • In University, i.e. for those who want a career in research:
    Make research the primary vehicle of evidence (so, increase research work and reduce or eliminate exams and assignments). Of course they could still fake it by outsourcing the writing and maybe even the research work itself — but then they’d have to continue to do the same in their work, and that gets expensive very quickly; moreover if their employer can’t detect that they are faking the research, perhaps they deserve to be deceived this way 🤷🏾‍♂️
  • In Vocational Education (or their glorified cousins — universities), i.e. for those who want commercial employment (job or entrepreneur):
    What they need is to demonstrate their ability to practically apply their knowledge, so the portfolio of their past work becomes the primary vehicle of evidence (and, again, reduce or eliminate exams and assignments). The portfolio would mainly comprise hands-on work (e.g. internships, gig-work) for real needs as expressed by prospective employers (if there are no prospective employers, we should reconsider the relevance of offering the program for this audience), but would also include student-initiated passion projects — if nothing else, these would help students showcase evidence of their transversal skills, which are also in demand by employers.
    Students intending to be entrepreneurs should have a startup (or several) in their portfolio. If they go on to be an entrepreneur, the skills learned here will remain useful. If they don’t, it would still be possible to market themselves as an intrapreneur.
  • For those who have no employment ambitions:
    There’s no need to assess them — they don’t need a grade at all. Just let them learn what they are interested in learning, to the extent that they want to. However, even for them, a portfolio (could be exclusively passion projects) will guide them in understanding what they have learned, and help identify what they would like to learn about next.



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Sifaan Zavahir

Sifaan Zavahir

Stories have the power to change us. We have the power to change the story. I am a Story Maker.