This month’s Edutopia magazine has a pretty comprehensive series on rethinking assessment written by Grace Rubenstein that picks up on my question here yesterday in some provocative ways. (Full disclosure: I sit on the national advisory board for Edutopia’s parent organization, the George Lucas Education Foundation.) It’s heartening to read passages like this:

“What we want to assess is how well prepared people are to learn new things in a nonsequestered environment where they have access to technology tools and social networks,” says Bransford. Compared to typical standardized tests, for which seeking new information would be considered cheating, he says this model is “way more motivating, much more interesting for students, and much more valid in terms of what people really need to do when they get out of school.”

That phrase “nonsequestered environment” really catches me. We don’t stay in classrooms all of our lives, do we? How do kids do when the curriculum isn’t delivered, the homework isn’t assigned, and the work is for real purposes? What will they do when they are faced with a question they don’t know the answer to? How will they work it? How will they tap into their networks, if they have them? How will they assess the information they get back and assess their own process?

That would be some amazingly important work to watch and evaluate, wouldn’t it?