Reflections, Journeys, and Possessions: Metaphors of Assessment Used by High School Students
by Sylvia Stralberg - July 05, 2006
Metaphorical thinking structures our basic understanding of the world, and plays an important role in how we perceive everyday occurrences. In this paper, I explore the various metaphors used by high school students to conceptualize assessment. In semi-structured interviews, I asked 15 students to discuss their views on the alternative assessment methods used at their progressive high school. Analysis of interview transcripts revealed a surprising variety of metaphors, ranging from assessment as a gift or punishment given by teachers, to assessment as a reflection of students’ abilities and efforts. In my discussion, I argue that moving beyond the dominant metaphor of “Assessment as Possession” may enable students to view evaluation as an instructive part of their academic journey rather than simply something handed down to them by those in authority.
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