Whenever I think about assessment in higher education, two quotes come to mind. The first is sociologist William Bruce Cameron’s (1963) remark that “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts” (p. 13). At the same time, I also tend to think of the concluding lines of W. S. Merwin’s (2005) poem “Berryman.” In this piece, a young poet is speaking with his mentor and comes to ask him “how can you ever be sure/that what you write is really/any good at all,” and the elder poet responds:
… you can't
you can't you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don't write.