chapter  8
22 Pages

Evaluation and Validation of Learning

Assessment is the most political of all the educational processes: it is the area where issues of power are most at stake. If there is no staff-student collaboration on assessment, then staff exert a stranglehold that inhibits the development of collaboration with respect to all other processes. (Heron, 1988:85)

Chapter Preview 'Wait a minute! First, you say that learners should analyse their situations, determine their own learning needs and design their own curricula; then you say they can manage their own learning; now you want them to evaluate their learning as well? This is going too far!' When we first proposed introducing alternative evaluation (assessment) approaches for a critical self-directed learning (SDL) course at a conventional university, some of our colleagues were, understandably, a bit incredulous. The idea of sharing control with learners over the educator's ultimately powerful function – that of deciding learners' fates by evaluating them with either a pass or a fail mark – was hard for some authorities to accept. However, once they had reflected on the arbitrary and unfair nature of much conventional evaluation, considered the many alternative purposes of evaluation, and learned more about the validity of alternative evaluations and the role of external validation in SDL, they let us proceed.