As I recently set to correct some assessment pieces that my students have worked on. I began to reflect on how they have demonstrated their skills, knowledge and understanding through a standardized test as opposed to their demonstration of skills throughout lessons during class time without the pressure of exam situations. With time pressure and lack of ability to discuss learning, to develop ideas and knowledge or collaborate, students regularly underperform.
This kind of testing was developed at the beginning of the Industrial age to help employer score and sort workers into groups and categorise their skills to put them into the most appropriate areas of the factory. Fortunately our world has developed and now this kind of categorisation is redundant. Unfortunately the education system has not developed it’s methods to reflect this development.
Without the pressures of these testing situations we observe more authentic student abilities. It is disconcerting to me that as long as we continue to administer standardized tests to students we are not giving students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and abilities in a normal scenario.
Employers are looking more and more at the so-called “soft skills”; such as collaboration, team work and problem solving. When we take these opportunities away from the students, after encouraging and embracing this in daily classes, we are asking our students to perform in a different way to how we normally expect and encourage when competing assessments.
We are taking away the strategies that would be otherwise encouraged and embraced.
With the resources available to us through the development of technology and ‘anywhere-anytime’ access to global knowledge it does not make sense to test student knowledge and recall of information when it is all Google-able.
In all levels of academia we subject students this regime of recall testing Google-able information. In the workplace the demonstration of employable skills includes the application of knowledge not the recall of this without access to resources so why do we insist on this method in education?
How can we make this a systemic change and remove the emphasis from tests and scores to an authentic demonstration of skills?