Get Yourself A Blind Spot Prevention Team

I posted yesterday’s blog post and then sadly and belatedly realized that it was all. about. me.  (I realized this after emerging from a fabulous meeting with two smart and dedicated assessment colleagues who are working on many aspects of the assessment projects I had listed, and then later another assessment project meeting that was equally generative and engaging with a small group of faculty from an academic department).

How’s that for a blind spot?!? (Ugh – how embarrassing!)

What I totally failed to represent in that post was the importance of doing this work with other people — and how they are a key source of my learning, and are also likely learning as well, and of course, we learn together (as represented so nicely in THIS article). One person engaging in the work of assessment learns only so much; a group of people engaging in the work of assessment together, thinking and reflecting together, planning together can learn so much more.  Wisdom of Crowds and all that. Duh, right?

But seriously, this speaks to why it’s so important for an entire campus community to be involved in assessment work — assessing student learning is no easy task and sometimes we don’t want to see (or we can’t see) what’s there to see! Cathy Davidson’s recent post “Why You May Be Blind to a Good Idea” in the Harvard Business Review nicely addresses the value of working with others as well:

…since we all see selectively but we don’t all select the same things, we can leverage the different ways we slice and dice the world. The trick, though, is we can only do this by first accepting that we each have limits: Everything we see means we’re missing something else. It’s that simple. And impossible to see.

When doing the hard but important work of academic assessment, it’s good to able to see as much as possible, as clearly as possible. I, for one, need others to help me avoid the blind spots and biases, and I am grateful I have such talented and caring blind spot prevention teams in my world.

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One thought on “Get Yourself A Blind Spot Prevention Team

  1. Melanie,
    Thank you for your post! Davidson’s article is great. I especially like the part about “collaboration by difference”–something that I feel our entire Marylhurst University community needs to work on honoring a bit better. It makes me think about our work in PLA and what a collaborative effort it is to move our students through the process. I now get why we all celebrate when a student completes their PLA Portfolio!

    ~Christine

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