Brownbag Lunch Presentation: Assessment: The Silent Killer of Learning


Friday, May 12, 2017 12:00 pm - 12:50 pm
Thornton 102

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Why is it that stellar students sometimes fail in the workplace while dropouts succeed? One reason is that most, if not all, of our current assessment practices are inauthentic. Just as the lecture focuses on the delivery of information to students, assessment focuses on having students regurgitate that same information back to the instructor. Consequently, assessment fails to focus on the skills that are relevant to life in the 21st century. Assessment has been called the "hidden curriculum" as it is an important driver of students' study habits. Unless we rethink our approach to assessment, it will be very difficult to produce a meaningful change in education.

Eric Mazur is the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, Area Dean of Applied Physics, and a member of the Faculty of Education at Harvard University. He leads a research program in optical physics and supervises one of the largest research groups in the Physics Department. Mazur came to Harvard University in 1982 after obtaining his Ph.D. at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. In 1984 he joined the faculty. He has made important contributions to spectroscopy, light scattering, the interaction of ultrashort laser pulses with materials, and nanophotonics. Mazur has received numerous awards, including the Millikan Medal from the American Association of Physics Teachers. In 2014 Mazur became the inaugural recipient of the Minerva Prize for Advancements in Higher Education.

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Department of Physics, Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning