What if assessment was more like a performance review?


In the Rogerseller design elective we’ve been thinking about how assessment (undergraduate) fits with this type of complex problem. It seems inappropriate to boil it down to how well a student can design or even communicate an idea, when in fact the situation is multi-dimensional. It has, for example, a variety of relationships that change through the project. The client becomes related to the student, independently of the student’s relationship to the lecturer. Students from different disciplines are [albeit, remotely] related in the pursuit of an answer. And the institution, company and external expertise (workshop conductor; educational researcher) all inter-rlate in some way.

Possibly, then, it would be better to abandon conventional student assessment and replace it with a performance review that was based on different criteria.  Given that the primary aim is learning, we could imagine that the criteria is based on the performance of learning. In other words: how well did the, let’s cal her ‘designer’, learn from the client? Or what did the designer teach the client? What external resources did the designer source to inform the outcome? How did the designer share her knowledge/information? What did the designer contribute to the running of the project? And How does the designer evaluate her own solution/contribution?

These are not quite getting the shift – maybe the other thing that is missing is a projective element. That is: what does the designer imagine they could do with this new knowledge? What projects/responsibilities would the designer like to do in the next stage? What contribution, outside of providing a narrow project response, would the designer like to make?

The aim here is not to replace an academic trope with a corporate one. It is rather to make assessment less abstract, and, importantly, to reconfigure the relationship between student and teacher. In this the student sets their own goals and evaluates them in conjunction with the teacher.

The other element of the performance review is that it at least purports to pay forward, and open the ‘performer’ to the future value of what they are doing, as well as reviewing the recent past on which this is built.

Or, maybe there’s another model of evaluation that could be pursued?


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