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North of England Education Conference Sheffield 16 - 18 January 2013 Symposium Friday 18 January 10. 30 – 11. 45 Exploring metaphors to clarify cognitive understandings and perceptions of assessment Matsdorf, Sen and Taras
Symposium Paper 1 Mapping metaphors to clarify cognitive understandings and perceptions of assessment Dr Maddalena Taras
My Research 1. self-assessment (2001, 2003, 2008 a, 2010, 2013) 2. theory of assessment links SA, FA, ssa (Af. L) (2002, 2005, 2012 a, 2012 b) 3. metaphor: reflects historical/social priorities (2007 a, b) Research on metaphor Metaphors of Assessment 2007 a: Af. L anomalies in theory of process Terminology of Assessment : disparity in understanding of terminology (2007 b, 2008 c) Sectarian Divisions (2007 c, 2008 b, c, 2009, in review)
Aim: to make you think and challenge your ideas
Main point of paper 1. Aspects of metaphor and dichotomy 2. Definition of assessment functions and process 3. Issues with assessment highlighted by metaphor a) links summative and formative assessment b) functions and proce 4. How beliefs reflected in metaphors used This is reflected in the metaphors used.
Aspects of metaphor and dichotomy Metaphor controls • thought processes /concepts/realities (Faiclough 1994, Lakoff/Johnson 1980, 2002, Petrie/Oshlag 2002) • link between old and new ideas (Reddy 1979, Lakoff/Johnson 2002, Ortony 1979, 2002) • cognitive straightjacket to new ideas/paradigms (Reddy 1979, Lakoff/Johnson 1980, 2002) • taken as literal truth blocks developments and new choices (Petrie and Oshlag 2002 p 581) • include/exclude “silences” new voices offering new stories (Harrison 2004 p 175)
Aspects of metaphor and dichotomy Concepts/theories NOT single systems “Human beings do not function with internally consistent, monolithic conceptual systems” (Lakoff 1987 p 305) true even of scientific arguments BUT Working towards coherence part of understanding and progress
Aspects of metaphor and dichotomy Dichotomy/Duality “Within the fourth dimension of excluding and including is the concept of dichotomy. This effectively creates domains of exclusiveness which are either/or, black/white choices” (Stronach 1996) implications for education: tend to think option is right/wrong, black/white. Recognition of different shades of grey a sign of maturity/experience in student learning except we do it ourselves eg Summative/formative dichotomy.
Summative and formative functions A function is the use to which the product of assessment it put. It is a social, political and educational choice which influences the criteria, but not the process.
Definition of Assessment “Evaluation is itself a methodological activity which is essentially similar whether we are trying to evaluate coffee machines or teaching machines, plans for a house or plans for a curriculum” (Scriven 1967 p 40) Assessment is a ubiquitous process. Scriven context of curriculum evaluation, generalisable to all processes
Definition of Assessment “Assessment: a judgement justified according to specific weighted set goals, yielding either comparative or numerical ratings. Necessary to justify (a) the data-gathering instruments or criteria (b) the weightings (c) the selection of goals” (Scriven 1967 p 40) Do we all agree?
SA - FA (Taras 2005, 2010 a) SA and FA are processes SA is a judgement according to criteria and standards (implicit or explicit) Judgement (SA) provides feedback Use of feedback is FA SA + feedback use = FA
Functions of Metaphors “metaphor plays a very significant role in determining what is real for us” (Lakoff & Johnson 1980. 2012). reflect social, political stance: choose metaphors closest to our ideals reflect educational epistemologies Need to be aware of consequences and entailments The individualistic nature of personal experience adds a compounding factor to the other variables
How assessment beliefs reflected in metaphors used Metaphors of Assessment From compulsory sector (CS) Broadfoot 2002, 2008 Stobart 2008 Wiliam & Black 1996, Black & Wiliam 1998, Black et al 2003 From HE Biggs 1998 Taras 2007
How assessment beliefs reflected in metaphors used in CS FA and feedback = informal, ad hoc, (superficial) exchanges in classroom context Self-assessment generally limited to standard model NB CS dual definition FA: 1. learners respond to feedback, update, refine work/learning 2. teachers’ responses to update and refine teaching teachers’ responsibilities for control and impact on learners and learning (Black et al 2003)
How assessment beliefs reflected in metaphors used in HE links peer and self-assessments informal and formal contexts changing potential power and impact of assessment and feedback process and product 5 models (Taras 2010) FA definitions and discussions place responsibility on learners with peer and tutor support
Central issues across sectors assessment of work presented as a) against a standard b) being judged on its own terms ie feedback from implicit, unrevealed criteria and standards ie EXPLICIT versus IMPLICIT How feedback arrived at impacts on quality, ethics and communicability of consequences
How are these beliefs/ideas linked to metaphor? Metaphors of Assessment Summative and Formative Assessment distinction Black and Wiliam 1998 review 10 years assessment research – focus on FA – first review to separate SA and FA Produces metaphor of two different trees, two tree-trunks (Biggs 1998 p 109) Separate entities, even if same species
Two Trees metaphor of SA & FA Black & Wiliam 1998 a Separation SA & FA by Black & Wiliam (1998) produces metaphor of two different trees, two tree-trunks (Biggs 1998 p 109) Separate entities, even if same species
Biggs (1998) critique of Black and Wiliam 1998 excluding SA ignores negative effects of ‘backwash’ stronger than the positive effects of FA (Biggs 1996) improving learning requires 1. attenuating negative effects of SA 2. adding positive effects of FA to produce positive return for learning
Backside of an elephant metaphor Biggs 1998 one beast: appendages are mirror images each limb must work with other for whole to work relationship and links dominate not differences
Taras 2007 a 1. originally, two sides of coin: differences on either side of coin are distinguishing features like Biggs focus on similarities, basic sameness 2. Cake (SA) with Icing being FA 3. Relationship SA FA cake: i. e. parts of a whole
Assessment a Cake SA + feedback use = FA
Assessment a Cake: artificial separation SA FA
Dichotomy of SA and FA results in demonisation of SA Broadfoot two main metaphors a) Disease b) Frankenstein a) Disease Titles of sections “The Assessment Disease”, “The Assessment Disease: Treating the Symptoms”, “The Assessment Disease: Finding a Cure? ” Broadfoot (2008 p 214 -8) SA is “The Assessment Disease” and FA (Af. L) is the “Cure” or anti-dote. Metaphor, like Schon’s - socially deprived areas, provides a solution in entailment.
Broadfoot b) Frankenstein “we have produced a Frankenstein that preys on the educational process, reducing large parts of teaching and learning to mindless mechanistic processes sapping the transformative power of education” (Broadfoot 2008 p 213)
More derogatory examples Stobart: tadpoles and frogs tadpole frog-croaking metaphors “Helping a few tadpoles to become frogs has been, from the Chinese Civil Service selection examinations a thousand years ago through to selective university entrance today, one of the key historical roles of assessment” (Stobart 2008 p 13) “my Principle of Managerial Creep: As assessment purposes multiply, the more managerial the purpose, the more dominant its role” (Stobart 2008 p 15)
Dysthe “the tail that wags the dog” (Dysthe 2008 p 17) tail: appendage of minor importance i. e. assessment denigrated to a minor place “engine of the change process” (Dysthe 2008 p 17) theories of learning are primary and assessment should follow” (Shephard 2000 in (Dysthe 2008 p 17) Surely theories of learning and assessing must be integrated for both to be understood
Dichotomy of SA and FA results in FA (Af. L) as a panacea Black et al. 2003 Metaphor for FA Two hurdles The first hurdle is the location of teachers’ formative work in the larger context of assessment and testing. (Black et al. 2003 p. 123) The second hurdle is that to fall in love with the idea is but a start on the long hard road of commitment to the relationship, one in which the numerous and intimate details have to be worked out both at a personal and at an institutional level. …. what is central is the thoughtfulness and the clarity that underpins the commitment. (Black et al. 2003 p. 123)
Conclusions Important to understand our metaphors and the consequences for our thinking and practice
Any questions or comments? Please contact maddalena. [email protected] ac. uk
References BIGGS, J. (1998) Assessment and Classroom Learning: a role for summative assessment? in Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice. 5(1), 103 -110. BLACK, P. & WILIAM, D. (1998) ' Assessment and classroom learning' in Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 5(1) 7 -74. BLACK, P. , HARRISON, C. , LEE, C. , MARSHALL, B. and WILIAM, D. (2003) Assessment for learning. Putting it into practice (Maidenhead, Open University Press) BROADFOOT, P. (2002) Editorial: Beware the consequences of assessment! Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice, 9(3), 285 -288.
References BROADFOOT, P. (2008) Assessment for learners: Assessment literacy and the development of learning power, in Havnes, A. and Mc. Dowell, L. (Eds) (2008) Balancing Dilemmas in Assessment and Learning in Contemporary Education New York/London: Routledge pp 213 -224. DYSTHE, O. (2008) The challenges of assessment in a new learning culture, in HAVNES, A. & Mc. DOWELL, L. (Eds) (2008) Balancing Dilemmas in Assessment and Learning in Contemporary Education New York/London: Routledge pp 213 -224. LAKOFF, G. & JOHNSON, M. (1980) Metaphors we live by. University of Chicago Press. SCHON, D. A. (1979) ‘Generative Metaphor: A Perspective on Problemsetting in Social Policy’ in Ortony, A. (1979) (ed) Metaphor and Thought C. U. P.
References n n n SCRIVEN, M. (1967) The Methodology of Evaluation, in TYLER, R. , GAGNE, R. & SCRIVEN, M. (1967) Perspectives on Curriculum Evaluation (AERA Monograph Series – Curriculum Evaluation) Chicago, Rand Mc. Nally & Co. . 39 -83. SFARD, A. (1998) On two metaphors of learning and the dangers of choosing just one, in Educational Researcher, 27(2), 4 -13. STOBART, G. (2008) Testing times: The uses and abuses of assessment, New York/London: Routledge. TARAS, M (2001) The use of Tutor Feedback and Student Self-assessment in Summative Assessment Tasks: towards transparency for students and for tutors, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 26(6), 606 -614. TARAS, M (2002) Using assessment for learning and learning from assessment, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 27(6), 501 -510.
References TARAS, M (2003) To feedback or not to feedback in student selfassessment, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 28(5) 549 -565. TARAS, M (2005) Assessment – Summative and Formative – some theoretical reflections British Journal of Educational Studies. 53(3) 466 -478. TARAS, M. (2006 a) Do Unto Others or Not? Lecturers use expert feedback on research articles, why not likewise undergraduates on assessed work? Assesment & Evaluation n Higher Education 31(3) 363 -375. TARAS, M. (2007 a) Machinations of Assessment: Metaphors, Myths and Realities, Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 15, 1. TARAS, M. (2007 b) Terminal Terminology: the language of assessment” in, Reiss, M. , Hayes, R. and Atkinson, A. (Eds. ) Marginality and Difference in Education and Beyond, Trentham Books 1 85856 412 3. pp 52 -67.
References TARAS, M. (2008 a) Issues of power and equity in two models of self assessment Teaching in Higher Education, 13(1) 81 -92. TARAS, M. (2008 b) Summative and Formative Assessment: perceptions and realities Active Learning in HE, 9(2), 172 -192. TARAS, M. (2008 c) Assessment: sectarian divisions of terminology and concepts Journal of Further and Higher Education 32(4) 389 -397. TARAS, M. (2009) Summative Assessment: the Missing Link for Formative Assessment Journal of Further & Higher Education 33(1) 57– 69 TIGHT, M. (2004) Research into higher education: an a-theoretical community of practice? Higher Education Research & Development, 23(4), 395 -411. WILIAM, D & BLACK, P, (1996) Meanings and Consequences: a basis for distinguishing formative and summative functions of assessment? British Educational Research Journal, 22(5), 537 -48.