The numbers game

Steve Wheeler, Learning With E's', Apr 15, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The assignment of a numeric value to student work is a technology. It's actually a relatively recent technology. Why did we adopt it? Steve Wheeler asks the question and the closest he comes to an answer is in saying "marking of students' work is... about how their work measures up against standards." In the wider scheme of things, though, surprisingly few assessments are made this way. Consider the way you recognize a person in a crowd - do you rate each person ("she's 40% of my grandmother, he's 25% of my grandmother")? Of course not. Do you give numerical values to the correct way (and various incorrect ways) of going to the office in the morning? These alternative assessments are not about "how (to)... get them to understand what they need to do better next time." They speak to a different assessment technology, one not based on grades, but on recognition.

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