Kuhlthau, Caspan & Manitoes (2007, p.111) in Assessment in guided inquiry state that “A grade on a paper is a limited indication of the specific learning that has taken place in inquiry…This type of evaluation provides limited opportunity for students to reflect on the process and develop their own growth potential”. Why then do universities the world over use academic papers as the main form of evaluation for their students? They could learn from this approach and start creating opportunities for evaluations that allow for deeper learning of the course content and also allow (where applicable) for the creation of a piece of work that could be practically applied in the field. For instance I would have gained a much deeper level of understanding of information literacy models if rather than write a paper critically comparing two information literacy models I had been asked to create a guided inquiry unit of work using one information literacy model for a particular grade or class in the school at which I teach. If this was the case I would have researched different models of information literacy, comparing and contrasting them, chosen one, collaborated with the classroom teacher to choose the curriculum area and broad topic and created a unit of work that I could have then actually implemented in the school in which I teach. This to me would have been a much more user-friendly and enjoyable assignment that I would have had a lot more motivation to complete.
Looking back on my early university years when I was first studying to be a teacher the assignments that really captured my attention and motivated me were the ones in which I created something that could be used practically in the classroom. I remember writing lots of essays but I certainly don’t remember what they were about or how they helped me once in the classroom however I do remember a lot of the units of work that I wrote and then utilised. It has certainly made me think more critically about the types of assessment and evaluation that I have given and will give in the future to the students that I teach.
Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2007). Assessment in guided inquiry. In Guided inquiry: Learning in the 21st century (pp. 111-131). Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.