The texts this week challenge notions of truth within education practices, allowing the reader to make meaning from the theories presented. To begin, Hinchey describes in detail several differing epistemologies surrounding learning. Epistemology, being the world view of knowledge, is essential in our teaching in learning as it determines what is taught and how materials are delivered. How do we know when students “know” and what is knowledge? Hinchey answers this question from the perspective of two epistemologies, pointing to positivism, constructivism and finally socio-culturalism to highlight what each world view sees to be important. Most importantly, Hinchey describes the phenomenon of truth and knowledge as socially constructed as well as ever-changing as our search for meaning and learning continues.
Connected to this text is the writing by James, who transforms Hinchey’s dialogue into practical case studies on what these epistemologies may look like in a classroom. James discloses at the beginning of her writing that teachers rarely teach in these styles of practice in isolation, but rather allow for many styles of assessment to be used in the classroom. The author also connects assessment to learning, stating that the style of assessment will inevitably construct how learning is determined and how students will perceive their own learning. James problematizes this practice, however, stating the lack of assessment theories that pair with learning theories stating, “This may account for the lack of an adequate theoretical base for some assessment practices and, conversely, for lack of development of assessments aligned with some of the most interesting new learning theory” James (2006). These multiple theories connect closely to the idea of assessment as, for and of learning as well as the role of formative assessment in the learning process.