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ERIC Number: EJ1115563
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 15
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0748-8475
What I Learned about Higher Ed Assessment in a Small Village in South America
Occhipinti, Laurie
Thought & Action, v32 n1 p9-23 Sum 2016
Does assessment change what is being taught? Laurie Occhipinti uses an analogy to answer this question. While conducting research on economic development in a remote rural area of the Argentine Chaco, a community had received some public funds to construct a new community center. They discussed where to place the center. The middle of the village seemed like a logical, common sense choice. But an NGO employee involved in the process advised them differently. "Make it visible from the road," she suggested. The village itself was not visible from the unpaved rural route that traversed the province. It sat over a mile back in the bush. The NGO employee sagely noted that the people who had given the money for the center would want to see the building, yet they would not get out of their car risking snakes and mud, and trekking to the village itself. The strategic choice was to make the building visible, even though that largely defeated the purpose of a community center, and made the structure far less useful to the villagers themselves. Occhipinti imagines that the process of assessment similarly seeks to make the work of education visible to those casual monitoring agencies, to those who won't get out of their car. As with the Argentinial village, it makes assessment less useful--defeating its own purpose. Occhipinti further points out that, from a faculty perspective, the question becomes one of repurposing assessment, into a management technique rather than a pedagogy, to comply with the requirements of assessment, while trying to bend it to the needs of her courses, and curriculum, trying to prevent it from doing harm. Once assessment is recognized as a management technique, educators are liberated to some extent, from a need to internalize assessment and instead treat it as a tool for improvement.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Argentina; South America
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A