Authentic Assessment: Praxis with Power
This paper explores the important, yet often overlooked, intersection between critical pedagogy and classroom assessment practices by laying a framework for considering the assumptions, implications and possibilities of critical approaches to assessment within the culturally diverse classroom. Important questions include: What should students learn? How should they express this learning? Who determines this? How do different forms of assessment influence students' knowledge? How can assessment empower students? One goal is to highlight how assessment practices directly and indirectly influence curriculum, instruction, and both teacher and student learning. A second goal is to critique traditional forms of assessment for their hegemonic assumptions that student knowledge is determined by the teacher, static and isolated and that student learning is a simple, formulaic activity. The paper suggests that when assessment practices are connected to student experiences in the social world, students are allowed meaningful opportunities to recognize and critique existing power relations. The paper draws from critical studies, an area of scholarship that views human productions as outgrowths of human experience. The author also draws from cultural studies and its emphasis on the importance of understanding and using popular culture as sites of engagement and production. Finally, the author looks to American progressives who advocate the importance of education as a process of living, not preparation for future life.
Keywords: Classroom Assessment Techniques, Evaluation Theories and Principles, Critical Theory, Popular Culture
Dr. Deborah Vriend Van Duinen
Doctoral Student, Michigan State University