What Exactly Is "Understanding?" And How Do We Assess It? | Edutopia

What Exactly Is "Understanding?" And How Do We Assess It? | Edutopia:

Terry Heick
Terry Heick is interested in learning innovation in pursuit of increased social capacity. He is editor of Edudemic Magazine for iPad, Director of Curriculum atTeachThought, and a regular blogger for Edutopia.

Assessing understanding might be the most complex task an educator or academic institution is tasked with. Unfortunately, professional development gives a lower level of attention to developing quality assessments, training that is rarely commensurate with this complexity. The challenge of assessment is no less than figuring out what a learner knows, and where he or she needs to go next.
In other words, what does a learner understand?
This in itself is an important shift from the days when curriculum was simply delivered regardless of the student's content knowledge.
Among the big ideas Richard and Rebecca DuFour brought to the educational mainstream consciousness was a shift from teaching to learning, a subtle but critical movement. But even with this shift from curriculum, instruction and teacher actions, and toward data, assessment and learning, there remains uncomfortable murkiness.


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