The role of assessment

I attended the Pearsons Global Research Conference  in Perth last month, which brought together educators from around the globe to discuss the role of technology and assessment in system wide improvement. In the past we have viewed assessment as a tool but there is a shift in viewing assessment as a tool for learning at system, school and student level.  A 21st century curriculum requires a 21st century approach to assessment, that is, assessment that provides insight not only into student learning but informs teacher instruction.

In his paper ‘Choosing the wrong drivers for whole system reform‘,  Michael Fullan states that critical thinking and reasoning, problem solving, collaboration, communication, digital base learning and citizenship will become the ‘new average’ for the rest of the century.  The challenge for us is not only how we design assessments that enable students to apply and -reapply ‘the new average’ to tasks in order to understand the process as much as the facts but how we use the data to create learning experiences that stretch learners’ thinking.  One of the key speakers was former adviser to Tony Blair and Chief Education Adviser to Pearsons, Sir Michael Barber  who provided some suggestions on what we could be doing better.

What I realised after attending the conference was the depth of experience and research currently available on how we assess and report on student performance. While the focus was primarily on system level improvement, we are moving away from the one island approach to delivery on scale.


3 thoughts on “The role of assessment

  1. In the paper, he talks about intrinsic motivation. I am currently conducting some research on how students use online homework management systems. This research has led me to study the Need for Cognition (NFC), or students’ intrinsic motivation to think and learn. This is fascinating research that suggests that students with a low NFC tend to overestimate their performance capabilities and therefore stop studying before they are adequately prepared for an exam. Additionally, students with low NFC have difficulty revising their study habits or even in identifying that their study habits are ineffective. I find this fascinating and am wondering if anyone is studying how to improve a student’s intrinsic motivation to learn.

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