The most common conceptions of assessment—by which educational professionals typically mean the study of learning outcomes for individual students—center on familiar measures such as tests, papers, projects, and other formalized efforts that earn participants grades, credits, and degrees. Such assessments are strongly associated with the particular practices, norms, and assumptions of school, used institutionally to define and legitimize how much and what types of learning take place. Assessment of out-of-school learning can be something quite different, covering a wide range of functions and forms.

The functions of assessment in out-of-school learning might focus on individual outcomes, such as whether or not participants in a Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts summer camp earned specific badges, the quality of a dance or athletic performance for inclusion on a ...

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