Sunday, July 26, 2009

I responded as follows to Derek Wenmoth's recent blog titled 'Measuring the Right Things' he shared about Microsoft's recent paper on interoperability; Improving Schools.

A timely blog entry when I have been giving much thought to assessment measures that empower the individual and provide motivation for possible next learning steps. We recently held a pilot with 5 classroom teachers trialling student led conferences where the teacher was available but not present. Student ran around an hour long session with their parents explaining how they were going in their learning and what their next learning steps were. Parents were involved in wide range of experiences including trying out science experiments, assessing a piece of writing using the students success criteria, viewing students online forums and leaving a comment to hearing about their child's report grades. In videoing student responses before and after the experience it was enlightening to hear how great it was for them that they really had to take responsibility and own their learning. A students words of - before the teacher did all the talking, now I have to really know my goals and what my next learning steps are. Parents were delighted and proud of the ownership their children took. Our teachers response was - please don't make us do 3 way conferences like before. Such a strategy highlights the importance of students being at the centre. In the build up to the conferences no assessment was done to the individual, rather they were an active part in building knowledge of themselves as a learner.
Secondly it brought about the very question posed in this blog entry - what should students share? What is important data to present to all stakeholders? As the journey continues I hope the weighting doesn't swing back to being solely on Literacy and Numeracy as the mental models most have around how to assess these ares are steeped in history and top down approach. Our recent developments in producing learning progressions in foundation learning areas that acknowledge the complexity of learning (not linear and about hopping through hoops) are our best crack at motivating any learner to progress learning by being able to answer, how am I going, where am I going and where to next? Kids need to experience stretch everyday! Once web based material, DLOs are linked to learning intentions in kid friendly language , forums for learners to collaborate etc are developed then the world of data starts to become the child's.
Anyway, long entries aren't much fun - bit passionate about this one! Always keen to dialogue some more.

No comments: