Is there a connection between assessment and motivation?

I think the first thing that anyone in the Higher Education master’s program thinks of when they hear the term “assessment” is probably not a positive experience from two classes we had to take during our first year.  This is not because of anything that our professor did, but more of the material and the assignments/projects we had for the courses. However, assessment is meant to be positive when we are thinking about how we can go about improving a process or learn more information about a process.

On a different not, after watching The surprising truth about what motivates us video for a second time, a lot of what is introduced was very interesting and provided a different take on several myths or assumptions many of us have about motivation and success. Even seeing the video before, I was still surprised that the large incentives did not lead to the most success. When thinking about why this would be the case, I am assuming the stress of wanting to get the large incentive adds pressure resulting in lesser performance. Whereas, a normal incentive of wanting to achieve some result, removes the increased pressure while doing the task. Along the same lines, Making the Grade: The Role of Assessment in Authentic Learning made a comment that “something like 90 percent of a typical university degree depends on unseen, time-constrained written examinations, and [instructor]-marked essays and/or reports.” I’m not surprised by the large percentage, but it is more interesting when combining that statistic with the results from the video. This could mean that students are not performing as well as they should be or expected to perform since they are under pressure and the stress of performing at a high level. I don’t know how this could ultimately change or how we would go about assessing the success in the class without using the examinations or an equivalent measure.

Also from the video I mentioned above, was how much autonomy in the workplace can result in success or an increase in production. The example used in the video shows how much even one day of autonomy can lead to success. It would be interesting to see if academics were able to mirror something similar to possibly find an increase in success or motivation.

Mindful Learning

Before entering grad school, I hadn’t thought too deeply about the current education system and the various flaws it might have. During the first month of grad school I saw a Youtube video by Prince Ea, arguing against the current structure of education in the United States. He includes comments related to how the advancement of technology and how the rest of the world seems to have adapted/changed, except for the education system. After hearing some of the comments Prince Ea included in the video made me want to talk to my sister as she is a 4th grade teacher. It was intriguing talking to her about some of the ways she is required to teach as it has changed drastically from when I was in 4th grade, but almost seem to make it more complicated and more difficult to learn. I asked my sister why this was the case, and she was unable to really give me a reason except for that’s the new direction teaching was moving.

Langer introduced the concept of “what we teach” compared to “how we teach it” as we currently do one, but should focus on the other. Currently we are so focused on the content or “what we teach” (teaching to a test) that we can get distracted by how students are receiving the information and if they are actually learning from it. We have gotten so focused on how we have taught information the last 20 plus years, that we don’t always actively think about new ways to approach teaching. However, we need to focus on “how we teach” the material to students as the new generation is very different and has access to significantly more compared even my generation. I don’t have the answers to how this needs to change exactly, but something has to happen for the next generation of students to be able to fully succeed and reach their potential.

Additionally, in Sir Ken Robinson’s video, he includes information on how it’s not necessarily that we don’t have qualified teachers in schools currently, it’s mainly that the system is the overall issue/problem. He had numerous additional great comments and provided important information that would be beneficial for the education system to listen to and adjust.