Assessing postmodernism??

kevin fleming (
Sat, 22 Mar 1997 12:15:49 -0500

Hello everyone...

My name is Kevin Fleming and I am a Ph.D. student in counseling psychology
here at the University of Notre Dame. Having worked with George Howard for
some time now, I have developed research interests in narrative psychology
(specifically as it applies the education of future psychologists) and
philososphy of science issues. I have been a member of this list for some
time now, though I have mostly just sat back and "listened" to the great
ideas that fly across my computer screen. However, I have a certain
question involving a "snag" I am in in conretizing further a facet of my
dissertation research. I have consulted one-on-one with Jim Mancuso and he
has proven to be an immense help to me (thanks, Jim!)...and i guess now i'd
like to open up the issue further and get more perspectives/assistance on
my question....and I hope it is pertinent to this membership!...

Specifically, my research project attempts to investigate the influence of
modernist and postmodernist teachings on students' conceptual learning in
two kinds of psychology classes: a more modernist, traditional Personality
class and a more postmodern (in its emphasis on local and historical
truths) constructivist-type class Psychology of Healthy Lifestyles (this
class uses narrative psych methodologies--autobiographies, teleographies,
and self-experiments--to explore life skills domains). Both classes share
content in that the essence of personhood, so-to-speak, is explored. Though
I have found an interesting way (i think) to assess the extent a student
utilizes a more modernist perspective (using the ordered tree technique
(Reitman & Rueter, 1980), looking at the similarity indices produced when
comparing the instructor's "tree" of concepts and a student's "tree" of
concepts) I am in a snag with an assessment of the extent one uses a
postmodernist kind of approach (i.e, hetergeneous w/one's use of
perspectives, usefulness of one's personal knowledge, interconnectedness to
the world, the balance between objectivism and relativism, and how
reasonable or coherent a response is --to get a sense of separation between
"good idiosyncratic" and "bad idiosyncratic").

Now, my question to you all is this: if you were to come up with an essay
question to give the students that could be "rate-able" for these kinds of
characteristics (or other postmodern aspects that i don't know about), what
essay question would it be?.....or is there another assessment
approach? i know that PCP is just one facet of this large,
contextualized knowledge base we call postmodernism, but I figure someone
out there may have something amenable to what i'd like to do here...just

Any help is greatly appreciated....thanks so much!



Kevin J. Fleming, M.A.
Doctoral Candidate in Counseling Psychology
University of Notre Dame Counseling Center
Notre Dame, IN 46545
Phone: (219) 631-7336
fax: (219) 631-5643
Voice mail: (219) 631-4351