8. Process Evaluation

Evaluating Students’ Deep Learning

Tests often tend to reinforce a surface approach to learning. While many teaching methods encourage higher‐level thinking, testing often reinforces memorizing rather than critical reflection.

Since testing does rarely support conceptual understanding and prevents a deep approach to learning, language teachers should learn how to support the autonomy of their students, increasing their level of achievement through self‐determination. To support student autonomy, teachers should provide resources for a variety of choices and a meaningful rationale for each, as well as acknowledging students’ desires.

Deep evaluation is empowering the apprentice.

Deep evaluation

The deep process perspective allows for a criterion‐referenced evaluation if needed; however, it provides a very different view of learning. It has to match a socio‐affective taxonomy unifying heart, mind, and emotions in action. The evaluation is on quality processes. Teachers provide abundant input and resources, and learners develop their own creative projects, so that no real comparisons are possible, except possibly on a scale of engagement. The large variety of possible outputs from a curriculum input is such that assessment changes its role: it focuses on meaningful relevance, rather than formalism. If criterion‐referenced rubrics are used to rate accomplishments, it is through a flexible appreciation, including self-appreciation and peer‐appreciation of how students or groups of students realize their own projects. It cannot be a surface assessment based on the observation of performances. It focuses on relevance with high‐stakes creative action.

The deep approach uses collaborative projects and individual inquiries to bring students to create their own artifacts that serve as evidence of their learning. This differs from the way assessment is organized in many courses. Deep learning engages the students with problems that are relevant to their lives; they feel, therefore, intrinsically motivated, and there is less need for control (Blumenfeld et al., 1991). In the class, students organize their work and manage their time, not the teacher (Tochon, 1989). Students share experiences, collaborate, and work together to make sense of their discoveries (Kemaloğlu, 2010).

Deep learners engage in problem solving from the phases of conception through the phases of design, decision‐making, investigation, realization, and reporting. They can choose to work by themselves or in groups; however, there must be a negotiation on the type of process involved, the life situation explored, and the ways it will be explored and accounted for.

“The teacher constructs a unifying plan that lends meaning to the content elements to be developed. This way, the student is not assimilating these elements in a void, but rather grasps their usefulness immediately.”

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The deep approach is about mindset and embodied action. It is about persons, humans, in the dynamics of living. It is something people want to live and work for. It is never fully achieved, it is always in the making, and depends upon situations.


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