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Beyond the Big Test: Noncognitive Assessment in Higher Education


reviewed by Tom Cockburn — 2004

coverTitle: Beyond the Big Test: Noncognitive Assessment in Higher Education
Author(s): William E. Sedlacek
Publisher: Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco
ISBN: 0787960209, Pages: 273, Year: 2004
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I liked this book although I didn’t agree with all of the author’s commentary, conclusions or prescriptions. However, the book already comes with much high praise from other places as the six testimonials included show. For those keen to know about size dimensions, here they are: the book has 9 chapters of exposition and argument, 85 pages of appendices, chock full of heuristics you can use immediately to develop and assess programs, faculty, facilities, and candidates for admission. There are also 30 pages of references, names, and the index. So, basically, a third of the book is a toolkit and reference material rather than description, analysis, evaluation, and review. Nevertheless the two thirds that do cover these areas are more than ample.  Sedlacek has been researching, testing and advocating alternatives to the ‘Big Test’ approach for over 30 years now.   What is meant by the ‘Big Test’ is really the practice of using one, omnibus test to try to assess a diverse range of people and abilities.... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 106 Number 12, 2004, p. 2264-2267
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11341, Date Accessed: 10/19/2017 3:27:23 AM

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About the Author
  • Tom Cockburn
    University of Waikato, New Zealand
    E-mail Author
    TOM COCKBURN is Senior Partner and CEO of his own international consulting partnership. He is a former head of a UK Business School and currently associated with the University of Waikato in New Zealand. He has recently published on the use of scenarios in PR education with Professor David McKie of the University of Waikato and is working on a book provisionally titled Communities of Commitment.
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