Michael Wesch of A Vision of Students Today fame gave a TEDx talk last year that I revisited the other day when I found myself (frustratingly) having to justify the case for authentic assessment. “But they’ll cheat won’t they?” is the classic response I get when I present the case for an open-book, open-web summative assessment. Some research I did with Amy Wong back in 2009 suggests the contrary but a much more important question is why someone would want to cheat in the first place.
If the test of a person’s ‘knowledge’ is the ability to dredge information from the brain and use this to piece together something resembling a coherent argument in the unnatural setting of an examination hall, then resorting to unethical means for the dredging process will never be beyond temptation.
If, on the other hand, the knowledge to be tested is a person’s ability to think on one’s feet to solve unstructured, real-world problems, generating unique, meaningful and useful responses, how is it possible to cheat?
Wesch uses the term knowledge-able to describe this attribute, which amounts to a little more than being ‘knowledgeable’. The difference between the two is that the latter does not necessarily require you to practice your knowledge, where you go beyond critical thinking to actually create meaning.
Acquiring knowledge-ability effectively ‘future-proofs’ your learning … it is learning that lasts way beyond the ‘test’.
Source: Beyond Critical Thinking
One student replies:
"What do you think about cheating?
The worst that can happen with students, I think, is to get used to cheating. In the end they cheat themselves because they stop to develop their own potential. Let someone else do their home-works and it feels easier! But the whole thing is one big fake because they don't really develop their knowledge about what they actually study. Worst of all, their presentation of knowledge in an exam will put them in an embarrassing situation and their faculty in a bad light. I would not like that. Modern higher education very much cares about the development of the student's reflection. To get a good grade in exams is not the most important thing. Rather to produce creative thinkers who will be able to challenge the labor market and to successfully compete there will make the name of the educational institution well-known all over. Students of such a school will easily find work in a good position. To put it in one sentence: A student must be honest to himself, go ahead and develop his potential for real success."(Comment: The text has short and clear sentences. The text shows the personal position of the author. The author seems to be really interested to get the message over to the reader.)