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ERIC Number: EJ988989
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov-15
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Grades and Tests May Miss Measuring What Matters Most in Learning
Berrett, Dan
Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov 2012
As pressure mounts on colleges to document what their students learn, it remains tough to judge from outside the classroom how much knowledge they gain from their academic experience. The traditional measure of learning is the course grade. Nothing says academic success more succinctly than an A. Alternative methods to document learning have arisen in the form of standardized tests of critical thinking, which are meant to assess students' ability to analyze material at a collegiate level. The strength of such tests is in their ability to provide results that can be compared across institutions. But what if neither of those methods says much about the teaching, expectations, and assignments that students encounter in their courses? According to this view, the nature of teaching and learning should be measured instead of relying solely on an outcome like a grade or a test. Students should be exposed to courses and assignments that require them to analyze information and apply it to new contexts, reflect on what they know, identify what they still need to learn, and sort through contradictory arguments. Such opportunities are described in research literature as "deep approaches to learning." "Deep approaches" to learning figure prominently in the new edition of the National Survey of Student Engagement.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Survey of Student Engagement