Evaluation as part of the learning process ?

Evaluation is often considered as an activity independent of learning, that validates, checks the knowledge and the skills that are acquired by students. Recurrent debates ask whether knowledge or skills should be evaluated, which skills and knowledge, how to evaluate them and whether grades are useful or not. Non-standard approaches propose qualitative and multidimensional evaluation, involving the students themselves, either by peer-evaluation or auto-evaluation.

But evaluation is rarely considered as a skill, and rarely considered as part of learning itself. Indeed, when students are learning, they are, in one way or another, checking that they learn correctly, understand and remember. We believe that evaluation is part of learning. And evaluation is also a skill that needs to be learnt, taught.

Interestingly, in scientific research, evaluation is part of the research practice: researchers constantly submit their research progress to colleagues, peers, in meetings, publications. Peer-reviewing is part of the research practice. Though the evaluation procedure has drawbacks and biases in this context (mainly due to competitivity or career advancement issues) knowledge building relies on knowledge evaluation by the researchers, as individuals and as a community. Could evaluation in research inspire a new vision of evaluation for students learning ?


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