Assessing Concept Possession as an Explicit and Social Practice

Alessia Marabini, Luca Moretti

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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We focus on issues of learning assessment from the point of view of an
investigation of philosophical elements in teaching. We contend that assessment
of concept possession at school based on ordinary multiple-choice tests might be ineffective because it overlooks aspects of human rationality illuminated by
Robert Brandom’s inferentialism––the view that conceptual content largely
coincides with the inferential role of linguistic expressions used in public
discourse. More particularly, we argue that multiple-choice tests at schools might fail to accurately assess the possession of a concept or the lack of it, for they only check the written outputs of the pupils who take them, without detecting the inferences actually endorsed or used by them. We suggest that school tests would acquire reliability if they enabled pupils to make the reasons of their answers or the inferences they use explicit, so as to contribute to what Brandom calls the game of giving and asking for reasons. We explore the possibility to put this suggestion into practice by deploying two-tier multiple-choice tests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-816
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Philosophy of Education
Issue number4
Early online date20 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

We are grateful to Jan Derry, Fed Luzzi, Paul Standish, Shone Surendran, the audience of a research seminar of the Institute of Education of UCL, and two anonymous reviewers of this journal for comments on a draft of this paper.


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