If a fundamental goal of education is to prepare students to act independently in the world—in other words, to make good choices—an ideal educational assessment would measure how well we are preparing students to do so. Current assessments, however, focus almost exclusively on how much knowledge students have accrued and can retrieve. Choice should be the interpretive framework within which learning assessments are organized. Digital technologies make this possible; interactive assessments can evaluate students in a context of choosing whether, what, how, and when to learn.
We are creating a suite of interactive assessments that evaluate the choice to critically think, persist, plan, seek negative feedback, pursue a general explanation, and more. For example, an assessment of students’ choice to engage in critical thinking to learn about the primary colors of light predicted 35% of the variance in their mathematics grades. We are also developing a development and data abstraction platform that can help people design their own choice-based assessments and detect important behaviors in interactive environments.
- Schwartz, D.L., & Arena, D.A. (2013). Measuring what matters most: Choice-based assessments for the digital age. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- Schwartz, D. L., Lindgren, R., & Lewis, S. (2009). Constructivism in an age of non-constructivist assessments. In S. Tobias and T. Duffy (Eds.), Constructivist instruction: Success or failure (pp. 34-61). New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis.