Interaction between Literacy and Content Learning: The Inconvenient Truth About Assessment
The page linked below has a nice set of important issues in assessment. Another one that I considered highlighting was that most students seek to avoid failure rather than achieve success. Many educational designs emphasize opportunities for student learning, when the reality is that many students are only seeking to get by.
As we think about computing as a literacy, the below point becomes more critical. For example, how do separate the students’ understanding of computer science from what they are are able to present in their program code? Programming is still a hard task which requires content knowledge, but also creates a lot of cognitive load about stupid things like semicolons and order of parameters in a function call. The issue is particularly important for me, since I’m interested in supporting non-CS majors use programming for learning about other content, where all my interest is in the content and I want to minimize the programming.
Literacy (reading and writing ability) can obscure content knowledge. Further, language development, lexical knowledge (VL), and listening ability are all related to mathematical and reading ability (Flanagan 2006). This can mean that it’s often easier to assess something other than an academic standard than it is knowledge of the standard itself. It may not tell you what you want it to, but it’s telling you something.