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Which clippings match 'Standards Of Achievement' keyword pg.1 of 1
22 APRIL 2012

Cooperation and collaboration: problem solving and problem finding

"The economists Richard Lester and Michael Piore have studied the firms that sought to create the switching technology, finding that cooperation and collaboration within certain companies allowed them to make headway on the switching technology problem, whereas internal competition at other corporations diminished engineers' efforts to improve the quality of the switches. Motorola, a success story, developed what it called a 'technology shelf,' created by a small group of engineers, on which were placed possible technical solutions that other teams might use in the future; rather than trying to solve the problem outright, it developed tools whose immediate value was not clear. Nokia grappled with the problem in another collaborative way, creating an open–ended conversation among its engineers in which salespeople and designers were often included. The boundaries among business units in Nokia were deliberately ambiguous, because more than technical information was needed to get a feeling for the problem; lateral thinking was required. Lester and Piore describe the process of communication this entailed as 'fluid, context–dependent, undetermined.'[20]

By contrast, companies like Ericsson proceeded with more seeming clarity and discipline, dividing the problem into its parts. The birth of the new switch was intended to occur through 'the exchange of information' among offices 'rather than the cultivation of an interpretative community.'[21] Rigidly organized, Ericsson fell away. It did eventually solve the switching technology problem, but with greater difficulty; different offices protected their turf. In any organization, individuals or teams that compete and are rewarded for doing better than others will hoard information. In technology firms, hoarding information particularly disables good work.

The corporations that succeeded through cooperation shared with the Linux community that experimental mark of technological craftsmanship, the intimate, fluid join between problem solving and problem finding. Within the framework of competition, by contrast, clear standards of achievement and closure are needed to measure performance and to dole out rewards.

[20] Richard K. Lester and Michael J. Piore, Innovation, the Missing Dimension (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004), 98.

[21] Ibid., 104."

(Richard Sennett, 2008, pp.32–33)

1). Sennett, R. (2008). "The Craftsman". New Haven & London, Yale University Press.


2008boundaries • business units • clarity and discipline • closurecollaborationcommunicationcommunication processcompetitioncompetitive teams • context-dependent communication • cooperationcooperation and collaborationcorporationscraftsmanship • deliberately ambiguous • designers • dividing problems into parts • dole out rewards • engagementengineers • fluid communication • framework of competition • hoarding information • information exchangeinformation in context • internal competition • interpretative community • lateral thinkingLinux • Linux community • measure performance • Michael Piore • MotorolaNokia • open-ended conversation • participationperformanceperformativityproblem findingproblem solving and problem findingproblem-solvingreward • Richard Lester • Richard SennettsalespeopleshareSony Ericssonstandards of achievementsuccess • switching technology • technical information • technical solutions • technological craftsmanship • technology shelf • The Craftsman • undetermined communication • working methods


Simon Perkins
15 MARCH 2012

Seeking quality in criterion referenced assessment

"Norm and criterion referenced assessment are two distinctly different methods of awarding grades that express quite different values about teaching, learning and student achievement. Norm referenced assessment, or 'grading on the curve' as it is commonly known, places groups of students into predetermined bands of achievements. Students compete for limited numbers of grades within these bands which range between fail and excellence. This form of grading speaks to traditional and rather antiquated notions of 'academic rigour' and 'maintaining standards'. It says very little about the nature or quality of teaching and learning, or the learning outcomes of students. Grading is formulaic and the procedure for calculating a final grade is largely invisible to students.

Criterion referenced assessment has been widely adopted in recent times because it seeks a fairer and more accountable assessment regime than norm referencing. Students are measured against identified standards of achievement rather than being ranked against each other. In criterion referenced assessment the quality of achievement is not dependent on how well others in the cohort have performed, but on how well the individual student has performed as measured against specific criteria and standards. Underlying this grading scheme is a concern for accountability regarding the qualities and achievements of students, transparency and negotiability in the process by which grades are awarded, an acknowledgement of subjectivity and the exercise of professional judgement in marking."

(Lee Dunn, Sharon Parry and Chris Morgan, 2002)


2002 • academic rigour • accountabilityassessmentassessment criteria • assessment regime • awarding grades • banding • benchmark • cohort • criteria and standards • criterion • criterion referenced assessment • education • excellence • fail • fairness • grades • grading • grading on the curve • grading schemeinformation in contextlearninglearning outcomes • marking • measurement • negotiability • norm • norm referenced assessment • norm referencing • pedagogy • predetermined bands of achievements • professional judgement • qualities and achievements • quality of achievement • range • ranked • standardisationstandardised testingstandardsstandards of achievementstudent achievementstudent performancestudentssubjectivityteachingteaching and learning • teaching and learning quality • teaching methodstransparency


Simon Perkins

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