Last summer, while collaborating with a colleague to write an assessment report, she started to talk to me about concepts she was learning in her Ph.D program. As we are both on this journey, we often share our successes and struggles in this area. This time was different. This time, she was teaching me. Specifically, she was teaching me about Critical Theory. As we worked on the report and I listened to her talk, she paused for a moment and said, “You know, you really do this well in your assessment practice”. Really? What do you mean by that?
This colleague challenged me to think about the approaches I took to make assessment work more inclusive. Creating spaces for participant agency, taking collaborative approaches to assessment work, employing diverse methodological approaches and considering my own positionality and subjectivity in this work are all approaches supported by the core ideas in Critical Theory.
This was one of those moments as a practitioner where I just needed to go home, have a glass of wine, and reflect on the knowledge this incredible person had just shared with me.
We gave a presentation on Critical Approaches to Assessment at the North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities conference and, although it went well, it fell flat. This was so much more than just dis-aggregating the data. As I started to dig more into this topic a colleague shared this fantastic post about Inclusive Assessment and recently, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment shared an occasional paper called Equity and Assessment: Moving Towards Culturally Responsive Assessment. Months after the initial presentation and a lot of reflection later, I am so excited to share that Joe Levy and I will be presenting at NASPA as one of two Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Sponsored Programs on: Using Critical Theory to Inform Assessment Practice for Equitable Outcomes.
How do you weave new ideas into your practice? In what was do you work towards equitable outcomes for the populations you serve?
Join us at NASPA and stay tuned for an upcoming series of posts on inclusive assessment.