Rethinking Evaluation of Student Learning

Patricia Cranton


This paper presents a critical examination of strategies for the evaluation of student learning. A perspective on evaluation is proposed which takes into account Habermass three kinds of knowledge: instrumental, practical or communicative, and emancipatory. The research paradigms corresponding to each kind of knowledge are used as a starting point for thinking about the types of evaluation of learning strategies that might be appropriate. It is suggested that objectively-scored techniques are suited to the assessment of instrumental knowledge, interpretive techniques to the evaluation of communicative knowledge, and subjective self-evaluation to the understanding of emancipatory knowledge.


evaluation; Habermas; instrumental knowledge; practical knowledge; emanicpatory knoweldge; assessment

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Higher Education Perspectives. ISSN: 1710-1530