Monday, April 27, 2009

Assessment - Communicating a Balanced Picture

My previous blog entry talked about having a clear and easily articulated 'end in mind' for the students leaving our school.  The bit we are working on and haven't got quite right yet is what are we communicating to our parent body about how students are going according to the 4 major outcomes we would like students to leave our school equipped with.  For so long we have been so preoccupied with reporting on levels of achievement against curriculum areas.  What we have not been so good at is communicating a students ability to 'know what to do when they don't know what to do' or share a students level of competency in say their ability to investigate.  I think we need to take a hard look at current assessment practices.  A far more balanced picture needs to be presented to students and parents about what equates to success.  At the moment success in school and success in life look quite different.  Let's not let outdated assessment measures and methods hold back innovation.  A fresh approach is required to develop tools and e portfolio spaces that students own and manage.  As I was reminded of recently by a colleague, teachers come and go each year in a students education, parents hold the historic overview and students have the greatest potential to positively influence their learning.   When the necessary scaffolds are in place for example progressions that show students in 'kid speak' where am I and what are the next learning steps are.  Secondly when we grow students assessment literacy to know how to answer, how am I going?, Where am I going? and where to next?, students have huge learning power to achieve to their potential.  We need to strive towards communicating a balanced picture to encompass achievement as we know it and include a dispositional overview of an individuals learning capacity.  

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