Sunday, March 1, 2009

Assessment - Thinking about John Hatties 'Visible Learning'

In the last 12 months I have been doing some serious thinking about assessment.  Our assessment methods at times seem so 20th century.  Our notion of intelligence continues to broaden which is heartening however our strategies and tools to show growth in what have been categorized as soft areas are in infant stages.  It is critical to get parent buy in to 21st century approaches to learning, however this is challenging when we are just starting to experiment with and create means to show growth and progression in key competencies such as 'Managing self' and 'relating to others'.  It has been said time and time again 'what is assessed is valued.'  We are currently grappling with ways of sharing assessment data with parents in a timely manner.  More importantly the assessment information we are keen to share with parents is broader than the traditional information shared around curriculum content knowledge.  We hare starting to find the greater the students assessment literacy the more self motivated the learner becomes.  No more 'guess what's in the teachers head',  these kids know what they are learning, why they are learning it and how they will know they are successful.  The clearer we are with students about the progressions in foundation areas of learning the better.  Students can take more charge.  As Hattie puts it 'When students SEE themselves as their own teachers.   The teachers role is fundamental and must be acknowledged.  Importantly John Hatties 2009 research points out that teachers are far more powerful and influential when they are activators of learning not facilitators of learning.  Learning occurs when teachers understand their learners and '`See learning through the eyes of the student.
Some important messages to reflect on when undertaking an assessment review to see if practices align with beliefs!
Hatties latest book Visible Learning makes for good reading.

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