Fair assessment provides all students with equal opportunity to demonstrate their learning. In our last post – Seven Ways to Create a Fair Assessment System – we shared some steps that Linda Suskie identified in her article Fair Assessment Practices. Check out the blog for details, but to recap, they are:
- Have clearly stated learning outcomes and share them with your students, so they know what you expect from them.
- Match your assessment to what you teach and vice versa.
- Use many different measures and many different kinds of measures.
- Help students learn how to do the assessment work.
- Engage and encourage your students.
- Interpret assessment results appropriately.
- Evaluate the outcomes of your assessments.
It seems clear that a fair assessment system is critical if it is to benefit all students, but there still is work needed to make fair and appropriate use of assessments universal. Suskie shares some great ways to help spread the word that are worth sharing.
- Help other higher education professionals learn about fair assessment practices. Suskie’s experience in higher education suggests it’s important to have professional development opportunities that focus on teaching, learning, and assessment methodologies. Educator preparation programs and ongoing professional development opportunities can build awareness and shared understanding of fair practices.
- Encourage disciplinary and other professional organizations to adopt fair assessment practice statements. Standards and statements can provide a goal and guide behavior. Suskie cites a number of organizations as examples that have put models forward to advance fair assessment practices. (Refer to her article for the list).
- Speak out when you see unfair assessment practices. We need to be courageous and challenge unfair practices. Being proactive requires the need to speak out, step in when needed, and offer guidance for improvement and reform.
- Help improve our assessment methods. As Suskie states, “Sponsor and participate in research that helps create fairer assessment tools and validate existing ones. Collaborate with assessment sponsors to help them improve their assessment tools and practices.”
- Help find ways to share what we already know. Through research, we have learned a lot about how to use assessment to support learning, and that validates the need for fair assessment systems. Putting this research into practice will go a long way.
Assessing student learning fairly is crucial to helping all students achieve success. Educating our peers on how best to create a fair assessment system is one part of this process. It’s part of what we hope to achieve at AssessmentEducation.org and we hope you’ll spread the word as well!