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Measuring Learning

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: July 18, 2003
Latest Update: July 18, 2003
E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

"No, No, Kids, put the shapes that are alike together."

Topic of the Week:
Measuring Learning without the Learner

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, July 2003.
"Fair use" encouraged.

Friday, July 17, 2003: Are they learning? Can I be sure what they're doing unless I listen to them? Suppose the young lady on the left is just confused. She's having trouble telling the difference in shape between squares and circles. Or maybe she thinks the green circle looks neat with the blue square? I might agree with her. So I'd better find out what's on her mind, hadn't I? What about the young man in the middle? He may very well know that the light green circle should go with the dark green circle, but the young lady already has the light green circle, and, hey, that red square doesn't look so bad here. And, my goodness, the young man on the right. It looks like there's a blue female shape into which he is cramming an orange male shape. Never seen those shapes in this kind of puzzle game before. But what an interesting approach to cram one shape inside the other, instead of just laying it over the other. We may have just discovered some creativity in this group.

What I estimate they are learning is going to depend on what I learn from them through their actions or verbally about whether they were working together, so that one having the light green circle means the other can't have it? Or were they to negotiate which piece or pieces they would have? And were there strict rules of how to do whatever they are trying to do? or can I recognize and encourage their creativity? For the sake of our future together I hope the answer is that yes, we can encourage creativity and grade, not on tests and rules, but on the interdependence of our interactions and learning together.

By encouraging children to follow the traditonal rules we provide privilege and support to the dominant discourse, teaching them not to trust their creativity, but to conform. Conformity and normativity and discipline are important skills, but so are critical thinking and creativity.

More up soon . . . jeanne