Liked Modern Art, and the Art of Educational Assessment by Marten Koomen (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? by Edna Sackson (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?


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 by John Fischetti (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.://“>source