Fiddling with criteria, or, accomplishment versus assessment

Dave Ferguson, Dave's Whiteboard, Jan 02, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Having previously written about music as a formof tacit knowledge, Dave Ferguson advances to make some useful distinctions:

  • Measurement is a description in terms of a more-or-less objective standard.
  • Evaluation comes when you compare the measurement with some set of criteria

He then adds, "it’s not always an easy task to choose the best assessment." Indeed, "I’d go further to say that there might not be a best assessment." Consider, say, the evaluation of "correctness" in fiddle music. In the Cape Breton tradition, adherence to the text is valued, while in the Scottish tradition, personal variation is valued. Which is "correct"? "The one stream isn’t better than the other; they’re just different. 'Personal style is greatly valued in Cape Breton music,' Dunlay writes, 'but it is expressed in ways other than by creating variations of tunes.'" (photo)

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