Assessment Over Evaluation in Helping New Initiatives Thrive was originally posted on his EdTechResearcher blog on EdWeek.

Separating assessment from evaluation is one way that schools and educators can start having healthier conversations about change and improvement. In a recent conversation with my colleague Peter Senge about the differences between assessment and evaluation, he had this to say:

“I really think the word ‘evaluation’ is wrong. Not wrong in the sense that it doesn’t have any meaning, but I think there tends to be a real confusion. I find this confusion particularly in the education sector (less so in business) between assessment or measurement versus evaluation. In my mind, you cannot learn anything without assessment. It’s indispensable. If you’re trying to learn to walk, if you can’t tell the difference between two steps and 10 steps, you’re not going learn to walk. So, learners are always assessing. They’re making judgment about their progress relative to their aims. It’s essential to learning. No assessment, no learning. Evaluation is when you add a value judgment into the assessment. Like, ‘Oh, I only walked two steps. I’ll never learn to walk.’ You see, that’s unnecessary. So, I always say, ‘Look, evaluation is really optional. You don’t need evaluation. But you need assessment.'”


Keep Reading on his EdTechResearcher blog on EdWeek.