The readings of this week remind me of Bloom’s Taxonomy, where it categorizes learning into 6 cognitive learning levels, from rudimentary learning to advanced learning: remember, understand, apply, analyze, create and evaluate. The traditional assessment focuses more on checking the cognitive learning level 1-3 (remember, understand and apply), while the authentic assessment focuses more on the level 4-6 learning (analyze, create and evaluate).
This authentic assessment is more time consuming than the traditional one, as Lombardi and Oblinger also mentioned in their paper, therefore it is harder for professor to adopt it given the time constraint within current tenure track evaluation system. I know most university offers position of instructor, who serves 100% duty in teaching. By doing that, the teachers can spend more time in designing the classes and assessing students’ performance to facilitate higher cognitive learning. This 100% teaching based placement is good. But the fact is people still value research higher than teaching. If instructor doesn’t obtain similar recognition as the research based professor in their tenure track (if there is one), then it would be a discouragement for the 100% teaching based instructor. So the way I see this change from traditional assessment to authentic assessment is more of the evolution of the university assessment system on teachers and professors as a whole, rather than the change of teachers alone.
The second challenge comes from the subjectiveness in authentic assessment. The evaluation of cognitive learning level 4-6 is more subjective than the traditional one. Therefore we would always assume that the teacher would be at a better (or higher) position to evaluate students. However, this won’t always be true, especially in fields like arts. I am even more suspicious as I read “Imagination First” by Eric Liu and Scott Nppe-Drandon. The authors try to demystify imagination. But the authors failed to say that imagination is judged by what standards. The appreciation of imagination is even more subjective than the authentic assessment. Therefore who would have the authority to judge? What if the teacher fails to notice the value of the assessments of a genius? Like Van Gogh, whose painting was not appreciated by audiences of his time, thus led a poor and miserable life. Those are the questions I think we, as a teacher, need to keep in mind when we assess students.