My feeling is that PBAs may be one of th…

My feeling is that PBAs may be one of the more difficult of the emerging markets for which to develop ventures. I came to this conclusion in reflecting both on David V’s outlining of the crucial difference between products and services, and one of the optional readings which outlined how PBA is fundamentally about performance assessment, rather than testing. In my view, PBAs are ultimately about assessment: a qualitative act (therefore falling under the category of service in the product/service divide) that needs to be performed with sound judgment and care. I’m confident that, as educators, we all know that assessment-done-right is a time-consuming process. Particularly when the product to be assessed is individualized – as the PBAs we’ve considered this week are.

It seems that most of the existing market is not about facilitating the assessment piece, but rather providing platforms for the product in PBA. Drawing links to previous weeks, I would think that e-book and other e-publishing platforms are ideal ventures that suit PBA-style education. Given the popularity of graphic novels, I think that a venture that focused on facilitating students producing their own graphic novels could be quite successful.

As for a potential service venture, older students – such as post-secondary – can often partner with community organizations to create PBA projects; at institutions like UBC, this form of applied learning is very much on the rise as these schools want… and perhaps need… to demonstrate the relevance of their teaching, learning and research to the broader community. Another prospect might be to build some kind of social network that facilitates networking between students, educators, and prospective community partners? Certainly these exist for things like volunteering, but I haven’t seen a site developed for community-based PBA in systematic way.

Expanding the scope of individualized products that students can produce to fulfill their course requirements means that assessment will become more individualized and qualitative. I’m having difficulty thinking of possible avenues through which to develop a plausible venture. What pops into mind are numerical codes that act as a kind of shorthand for longer comments (I think these are often used on report cards…?) – and I’m not sure how appropriate those are, given how depersonalizing they can be*. Perhaps a rubric-generator? In my heart, I think that these kinds of products to facilitate assessment risk being not flexible enough for the requirements of the service of assessing individualized product-based work… but perhaps therein simply lies the challenge.

*who am i kidding? lord knows i have stock phrases that i regularly trot out!


Posted in: Week 10: Product-Based Assessments