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Can We Assess Efficiency and Innovation in Transfer? Documents

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Can We Assess Efficiency and Innovation in Transfer? 

written by N. Sanjay Rebello

Schwartz, Bransford and Sears propose a two-dimensional framework that describes transfer in terms of efficiency and innovation. Efficiency is the ability to apply prior knowledge to new situations quickly and accurately. Innovation is the ability to question assumptions, let go of prior knowledge and generate new ideas. Schwartz et. al. argue that most educational assessments focus on efficiency at the expense of innovation. We suggest that this perspective does not adequately reflect the challenges that our students face while problem solving. For instance, while faculty may find end-of-chapter physics problems to be routine and overly focused on efficiency, our students, who lack prior knowledge and experience may find these problems to be novel and innovative. We propose a framework based on an operational meaning of 'efficiency' and 'innovation' and development of criteria to measure these constructs in ways that reflect both learners' challenges as well as educators' expectations.

Published November 11, 2009
Last Modified October 12, 2009

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