There have been quite a few discussions around assessment the last few weeks. I have enjoyed being active in many of them as I continue to question the system and my own practice. There are a few differing perspectives about marks and their relevancy but on the whole nobody seems to really care about them – parents included. It is feedback that is crucial.
I think we can all agree that for the first time in history a change is taking place in education. As we prepare for this edu-renaissance, I wonder what role our students will have. Lets be honest, we haven’t a clue what is about to happen – or even what should probably happen.
I’m not writing this morning about student voice and choice in everyday tasks. We are beyond that. We have accepted that students should be accountable for learning and be self-driven, with our guidance. I’m not writing this morning about assessment, marks and the correlation between engagement and test scores. Its quite obvious.
Instead, I am writing about what role our students should have in this grassroots movement we continue to call 21st century education. I have mentioned previously how un-fond I am of the term, but perhaps a term is necessary to describe this radical movement. It is a radical grassroots movement, isn’t it?
What I mean to say is for the first time teachers are ignoring policy and procedure and rules and regulations in certain instances. Instead teachers are making decisions based on student best interests. For the first time, we are taking real risks and feeling confident that we are supported in the decision making. There is little fear – and the real beneficiaries are our students.
We keep talking about engaging kids in daily tasks, letting them make decisions about assignments, etc. We should also remember that we are shaping a future for those not even in our system yet. Those toddlers learning to walk for the first time. My two year old niece who uses manipulatives for learning on an iPad. It’s her voice I want to hear.
Preparing for a Renaissance in Assessment, written by Pearson’s Chief Education Advisor, Sir Michael Barber and assessment expert, Dr Peter Hill, says that new technologies will transform assessment and testing in education.
Think long-term – we don’t know when the renaissance will arrive but we need to be prepared by investing in the capacity to bring it about
Build partnerships – we need to build partnerships between teachers and governments, and everyone working in education and technology
Create the infrastructure – having high quality technological infrastructure at all levels in the system, including at individual schools level, is critical
Develop teacher capacity – invest in developing teachers’ familiarity with both technology and sophisticated assessment
Allow variation in implementation – encourage schools and teachers to innovate with a framework for implementation and learn from the most successful examples
Adopt a delivery approach – make it a priority, plan ahead, ensure routine check-ins with all key players and make clear who is responsible
Communicate consistently – from government and leading educators working together and from school leaders to parents
Apply the change knowledge – our starting point needs to be our knowledge base of what it takes to achieve successful, system-wide change including building a shared vision and learning from pioneers
Before this drastic change occurs, lets not forget about student voice. For the first time, we have the opportunity to make real system-wide change. Let’s make sure the right people have a say at the table.