An evaluation argument that tries to persuade your readers to accept your reasoned judgment on a topic.
Evaluation involves making judgments. Evaluation arguments require you to make a persuasive case for the validity of your judgment.
In this task, you will write an evaluation argument that tries to persuade your readers to accept your reasoned judgment on a topic.
Note: Choose only one of the following topics for your essay.
• Evaluate the effectiveness of a policy.
• Evaluate the quality of a consumer product.
• Evaluate the benefits of pursuing a specific hobby.
• Evaluate the merits of a specific film or book.
Note: this task requires you to make a claim about the merits of a book, film, product, policy, or hobby and then provide reasons why that claim is true. If you choose to evaluate the merits of a book or film, do not simply summarize the plot; instead, use details from the book or film as evidence to support the claim.
Evaluative judgement is the capability to make decisions about the quality of work of oneself and others. In this paper, we propose that developing students’ evaluative judgement should be a goal of higher education, to enable students to improve their work and to meet their future learning needs: a necessary capability of graduates. We explore evaluative judgement within a discourse of pedagogy rather than primarily within an assessment discourse, as a way of encompassing and integrating a range of pedagogical practices.
We trace the origins and development of the term ‘evaluative judgement’ to form a concise definition then recommend refinements to existing higher education practices of self-assessment, peer assessment, feedback, rubrics, and use of exemplars to contribute to the development of evaluative judgement. Considering pedagogical practices in light of evaluative judgement may lead to fruitful methods of engendering the skills learners require both within and beyond higher education settings.
How does a student come to an understanding of the quality of their efforts and make decisions on the acceptability of their work? How does an artist know which of their pieces is good enough to exhibit? How does an employee know whether their work is ready for their manager? Each of these and other common scenarios require more than the ability to do good work; they require appraisal and an understanding of standards or quality.
This capability of ‘evaluative judgement’, or being able to judge the quality of one’s own and others’ work, is necessary not just in a student’s current course but for learning throughout life (Boud and Soler 2016). It encapsulates the ongoing interactions between the individual, their fellow students or practitioners, and standards of performance required for effective and reflexive practice.
However, current assessment and feedback practices do not necessarily operate from this perspective. Assessment design is frequently critiqued for being unidirectional, excessively content and task focused, while also positioning students as passive recipients of feedback information (e.g. Carless et al. 2011). Worse than failing to support the development of evaluative judgement, these approaches may even inhibit it, by producing graduates dependent on others’ assessment of their work, who are not able to identify criteria to apply in any given context.
This may be because evaluative judgement is undertheorised and under-researched. In particular, although there have been some theoretical arguments about its importance (e.g. Sadler 2010), evaluative judgement has not been the focus of sustained attention and very little empirical work exists on the effectiveness of strategies for developing students’ evaluative judgement (Nicol 2014; Tai et al. 2016).
Sadler (2013) observed that ‘quality is something I do not know how to define, but I recognise it when I see it’ (p. 8), a common experience for those dealing with abstract concepts. This perceived inability to articulate what quality is has likely impacted on our ambitions and capability to directly educate learners about quality.