Book by Richard J. Mezeske and Barbara A. Mezeske
Review by Zebeen A. Panju
The Mezeskes (a husband and wife team) serve as general editors of this book that includes contributions from 14 academics from Hope College. Each author reflects a wide range of disciplines yet all are committed to using assessments that reflect the learner. This book is written for college instructors who wish to change the way they use assessments in the classroom. The book illustrates practical and creative ways professors can apply the various assessment techniques.
Creative assessment is defined here as assessments that spin, twist, and reform what might be a standard classroom assessment method (p. 4). The examples provided are starting points and can be used by instructors to begin discussions regarding what matters most in the courses they teach: What components of each course count the most for solving a range of problems in the discipline? If facts are important, and they usually are, how can they be used to support a flexible approach to thinking, solving problems, considering options, and gathering and interpreting evidence? What are the facts not telling us (p.6)?
The various assessment techniques outlined in the book include concept mapping, variable grading, learning logs, moving from memorization to analysis, making labs more practical, exams as learning experiences, web-based assessment, thinking styles, tracking learning over time, and assessment in the real world. Each assessment can be used in a wide range of settings and are easily adaptable.
Janzen, in Chapter 12, provides an example of creative assessment tool that requires students to devise and play grammar games (p. 152). Janzen believes that “games always function as a prompt for discussion about pedagogy” (p. 159); the games change as the semester advances. Richard Mezeske uses concept mapping while another author uses Web-based learning and yet another uses journals to enhance the learner’s experience.
The book is well organized book and each author presents his or her ideas clearly. The editors have managed to maintain the same tone throughout the book despite the fact that 14 authors contributed. The book is easy reading and there is a logical flow of ideas that moves the reader from one chapter to the other. The examples, suggestions, and detailed bibliography support the work of each author’s contribution. The various assessment examples are easy to understand and follow even for a novice using assessments for the first time.
Beyond Tests and Quizzes, Creative Assessments in the College Classroom, (2007) Book by Richard J. Mezeske and Barbara A. Mezeske (Eds). Review by Zebeen Panju. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. pp. 256 pages $39.00 ISBN 978-0-470-18083-9