Replied to Sweeping changes to HSC and syllabus proposed by government review (The Sydney Morning Herald)

The report proposed reducing more than 170 senior-level courses to a “limited set of rigorous, high-quality, advanced courses”. Vocational and academic subjects would slowly be brought closer so that eventually every course would mix theory and application.

HSC students would also have to complete a single major project, which would allow the development and assessment of skills such as gathering and analysing, as well as so-called general capabilities such as team work and communication.

It is interesting to consider the proposed changes in the NSW Curriculum Review Interim Report against other curriculum frameworks, like New Zealand. It also reminds me of a comment someone once made to me that curriculum is the best guess for tomorrow. I was also intrigued by Marten Koomen’s take, especially highlighting Masters’ Rasch over Reckase. It makes me rethink the use of ‘crowded curriculum‘.
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Thank you Marten for the link to this, it is intriguing to think how the models we build upon can morph into the natural way of being as if there are no other alternatives.
Liked Connecting assessment goals to our education practices – a historical perspective by dave dave

Grading is good at ‘encouraging people’ to do complicated tasks that are often represented by memorization, obedience and linear thinking. If those are our actual goals. If our goals are complex and include things like creativity… we’re looking to support intrinsic motivation. Grades don’t support intrinsic motivation.

Replied to Criterion vs Holistic Rubrics? #EDU407Sum19 by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry

I like having personal conversations with students and developing TAGs-Targeted Areas of Growth. What are the one or two criterion a student should focus on when improving writing. Never try to get an 8 year old writer to adresss six different indicators of quaility at once. I don’t think adult writers should undertake such an endeavor.

Greg, this reminds me of Bianca Hewes ‘two medals and a mission‘ for providing feedback.
Replied to Singapore abolishes school exam rankings, says learning is not competition (Citi Newsroom)

For older students in primary schools and secondary schools, marks for each subject will be rounded off and presented as a whole number, without decimal points – to reduce the focus on academic scores. Parents will continue to receive information about their child’s progress in school during parent-teacher meetings.

Is this that different from Australia? I find that there is a lot of confusion about what schools do and are required to do when it comes to assessment and reporting. This is something discussed in Episode 139 of the TER Podcast.
Replied to When will the ‘grade addiction’ end? Probs never. (Bianca Hewes)

This experience reminded me that our young people learn this addiction to grades from us, the adults. They don’t desire a mark or a grade for the mud pie they make and proudly display when they are 3. They don’t want to be given a piece of paper with an A on it when they learn to ride a bike. We make this unnatural framework for their learning, and often all it does is create anxiety, perfectionism, conflict, competition and, worst of all, not great learners.

I have always loved your use of ‘Medals and Missions‘ to support students in becoming more self-determined learners. It also reminds me of a post from Bernard Bull arguing that letter grades are the enemy of authentic and humane learning.
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I first heard of Mastery Transcript Consortium via Grant Lichtman’s blog:

One of the most powerful elements of the MTC design to date is the input they received from colleges in advance of launching the initiative. In discussion with directors of admissions and college presidents, Scott and his team found a receptive audience “if you can give us something that we can initially scan in two minutes”. It is also more than serendipitous that this effort was launched the same year that dozens of colleges and universities signed on to the “Turning the Tide” manifesto that refocuses college admissions on depth, interest, and passion, and away from multiple advanced placement courses, grade point average, and shallow community service experiences.

I also remember Scott Looney talking on the Modern Learners podcast:

For me it picks up on what Todd Rose discusses in his book End of Average, as well as some of what is being attempted in the Open Badges space.

I think that it is something that Templestowe College has touched in the development of alternative pathways to higher education. There is also a PYP primary school near me that has mapped out the various learnings and marks them off, I don’t see that as any different?

I still think though Audrey Watters sums it up best when she asks:

What is “competency”? Who decides? How is it different from current assessment decisions? (Is it?)

According to Will Richardson if the focus of ‘mastery’ is about better teaching then we are still missing the point.

The other thing to consider is the place of ‘grades’ in US schools. How prevalent are ‘grades’ in Australia? I am not against mastery or any such intervention, I am just mindful of it being seen as the solution.

Liked Modern Art, and the Art of Educational Assessment (Tulip Education Research Blog)

Art tells us that educational assessment simply produces symbols that are at best a pale reflection of a preconceived reality. These symbols can be distorted and exploited, until one day their utility will diminish, and a new dawn will emerge.

Replied to Why do we STILL have reports? (What Ed Said)

Why do governments and administrators continue to dictate not just the existence of report cards, but often the format and parameters they should fit?

What if the hours teachers spend writing and proofreading reports were instead allocated to professional learning and collaborative planning that enhanced future learning?

and…

WHY has so little changed in the four years

since I last wrote those questions?

Being in a role that supports the implementation of biannual reporting, it is an intriguing question. What I find the most interesting is how little schools are actually mandated to do. Even though they need to provided judgements (for some things) twice a year and feedback to parents twice a year (which can be in person), it sometimes feels as if we have bought into some myth that we must provide written reports and that parents want it. Even worse, everyone has a belief as to how they must look.

It has been good to see some of the schools that I have spoken to really strip back some elements, especially in regards to specialists. It always amazes me the amount of time spent by a teacher who would potentially see the children for an hour a week.

It will be interesting to see if Gonski 2.0 brings any changes, but I guess that is your point about solutions being pushed on schools. I also look forward to reading ACER’s research into the area and the general guidelines that they put forward.

Bookmarked Gonski’s new plan to reinvent Australian schools for the future has this one big flaw (EduResearch Matters)

The glaring contradiction in the report, as I see it, its that it asks for massive changes to an assembly-line reality by advocating for more assessment assembly-lines. Ken Boston in his recent commentary speaks to this by advocating that this is a “evolution not a revolution.” What is missing from this argument for learning progressions is the assumption that learning can be standardized across children. Chunking a NAPLAN component a day or week turns teachers into test givers and paper pushers rather than gifted learning scientists negotiating each child’s journey through the curriculum so that they are engaged and inspired, not lab rats.

Another post adding to the conversation on #Gonski2.
Bookmarked Tech, Agency, Voice (On Not Teaching) | Hybrid Pedagogy by Chris Friend (Hybrid Pedagogy)

We are too often expected to create classes like the opera house, where a “successful” course gets all students, no matter where they come from or what they care about, to think “glacier” when given the right stimulus. To give the correct answer on a test given a specific predetermined question. But what would our classes look like if they instead replicated the experience of a sculpture garden, with that evocative face, filling me with a sense of wonder, compelling me to physically turn around despite myself and investigate a question I developed on my own?

We shouldn’t teach students. We should inspire them. And then we should get out of their way.

In a keynote for PL 2018 New Learning Horizons: Digital and Hybrid Pedagogy, Chris Friend discusses the way in which the language that we use in educational technology (especially around learning management systems) reinstates power and hierarchy:

A learning management system of one form or another seems ubiquitous in today’s universities. We’ve grown so accustomed to them that we expect to use one even in our face-to-face classes. But their ubiquity brings with it their ability to change the way we see learning. What exists in an LMS becomes the way we see our classes. What if inside that LMS, the button students clicked when they finished a project read, “share my creation” rather than “submit”? How would that small change influence students’ relationships to their own work, much less the class they are a part of? These small reminders of authority structures appear throughout our environments. In my school’s LMS, I work with “users” in an “org unit”, not students in a class. Every time I see the words “org unit” I question how we view our institution and whether we really think we work in the best interests of students.

Friend suggests that rather than ‘teaching’ and ‘submitting’ work, we should be ‘inspiring’ and asking students to ‘share’ their work. Associated with this, rather than dictate the end outcome, allow students to interpret it themselves and provide their justifications for the standards:

My favorite way to assess students? Ask them. Ask them to show what they’ve done for a class. Ask them to show how they know they’ve achieved the course outcomes or standards or learning goals or whatnot. In an engineering class, ask them how they know they’ve solved a particular design challenge. In a science class, ask them how they know they performed a viable experiment and can trust their results. In a music class, ask them how they know whether their performance of a piece accurately or creatively interpreted the intentions of the composer.

Although Friend is talking about a post-secondary environment, this still has ramifications for primary and secondary schools.

Replied to Assessment in the digital world….with a pencil by Gill (a macgirl in a pc world)

My current setup for my reading conference notes looks like this – a summary page at the start with hyperlinks to individual pages for each of the student records. The different colours on dates are for the fact that I share my grade with another teacher so this solution allows us both to take notes and know where the other teacher is up to.

When Reading Conferences rolled out across the WMR a few years ago, I pushed for doing conferences online. Initially this was via Google Docs and then Word documents on Dropbox.

In a Secondary environment, this allowed access to multiple stakeholders, both teachers and students. In hindsight, it did not work. Not only did students feel that reading was done to them, but it was also left to the English teachers. I reflected about it here.

When I moved down to Primary, I discovered the limits of capturing things like running records digitally. I can really see the possibilities of the pen in supporting this.

How do you see this continuing to evolve? Are students actively involved?

Education is Changing—It’s Time Assessment Caught Up

There is a lot of discussion about 21st century learning and/or capabilities. What is not always discussed is how assessment is transformed to adjust to this. Esther Care suggests that the focus should be skills in context:

 >Twenty-first century education is about skills—sets of processes. Our students need to be able to adapt to contexts, meet challenges, and solve problems that are as yet unknown. Our best chance at helping them succeed is to thus use assessment to support their learning about the sets of processes that they will bring to bear in those situations. Let’s focus on the skills, not the scores.://ssir.org/articles/entry/education_is_changingits_time_assessment_caught_up“>source