“Assessment as a Subversive Activity”

The 2011 volume of the AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom contained two articles—by John Champagne and John Powell—critical of “the relentlessly expanding assessment movement.”

In response, Berea College professor Dave Porter describes his own extensive experience with assessment, arguing that assessment is about creating a culture of evidence that is much more than merely collecting piles of data and accumulating a multitude of meaningless measures.

Further, he argues: 1) assessment is an integral part of learning (and hence education), 2) assessment is a necessary function of effective and adaptive organizations, and 3) involvement in assessment activities is particularly important for the AAUP and its members. “If one plans to speak truth to power, there is no better ally than the evidence assessment can provide,” Porter says.

Read the article and tell us what you think.

One thought on ““Assessment as a Subversive Activity”

  1. I did not read the original article being discussed in this rebuttal. But if Porter’s description ot the arguments in that article are accurate, those authors are guilty of at least one logical error, the genetic fallacy (arguing against something based on its origins). There may be good arguments against assessment, but that is not one of them.

    Assessment is something all good educators do; it is critical for the development and evolution of good pedagogy. The assessment infrastructure at many universities, with lots of reports and file-cabinet-filling activities, is a different thing than assessment. I think it is the mandating of this infrastructure that is troublesome to many, but the infrastructure should not be confused with assessment itself.

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