That Nasty Invalid word: Assessment

The ONLY thing that somehow seems to mean that our current education is of value is this concept of assessment. Assessment means that someone somewhere who thinks they know something has said what you are doing or what you have learned is correct. Ok lets examine that a bit.

Lets pick something simple… say baking a cake. You get a recipe and it has proved valid for this writer of the recipe. You write to the EXPERT who has made the cake before. The ONLY one that is valid for the complexities of that recipe.

You describe what variants you perceive from your location. You may not have that brand of chocolate so you substitute the kind that is in your store. The measuring method of the size of egg is not exactly the same.. their egg might be different size than the one used by the baker or brown freshly laid. The pan is the same size but has darkened with years of use. The oven fluctuates some & where you put the pan on the shelfs within the oven will have a bearing. Your elevation is 5000 feet above the elevation of the writer of the recipe.

The recipe writer suggests adding more flour for the elevation change, but figures the chocolate won’t make much difference and everything else should be ok. OK, now the recipe as been ASSESSED by the ONLY expert available. Now we know how to make that cake.. Yeah for us! We are now valid according to the expert.

Then we make the cake. It fails miserably! Why? Well because the person assessing the necessary changes was just guessing like the rest of us are in this world. He/she has never used our equipment, been at our elevation or any number of variables. The ONLY functional ASSESSMENT is doing it. The real variables of life are far more complex than the powers of observation are of any one person, a dozen people etc. If it works than that is the bottom line.

We could have spent a lot less time, money, & illusion if we just made the cake, self-assessed, modified & tried again. The illusion that we now know what to do because we wrote the EXPERT & are therefore MORE valid than before was just that, an illusion. That is what higher education is at the moment.. an illusion of validity.

So we call this valid education because we have thrown up a zillion layers of assessment that says it is valid. The teacher assesses the student by using tests that are created by others or by themselves. The tests may be good or they made have been created right after the teacher’s pet died.

The student might have learned the material or his dad just gave the college a contribution, is a prime member of the football team, flirts well with the instructor, or claims a disability or prejudice that prevents a direct correlation from being revealed.

The educational rating system is designed by the instructor so he can have the proper amount of A’s, B’s etc because if NOT.. then HE will be assessed as something invalid.. because somewhere someone said that…his particular class should have this breakdown.

The department head is assessed by the college chair; the college chair is assessed by the university, the university spends hundreds of thousands of dollars being assessed by an accreditation board created from members of this same system who have been assessed…all this time and effort spent to prove something that is not provable except by doing. The Cake will either work or will not work.

This assessment fixation or this large lower half of the iceberg of education is what is literally costing society, people, & businesses millions of unproductive dollars to receive this skewed perception of validity. Is there any wonder why other countries are starting to exceed our progress?

We need to get functional again.

Next Blog: What is today’s valid assessment?

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