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?
I have been an educator for more that 20 years in both primary and secondary education. Over the last 10 years I have had an emphasis in my teaching on the use of technology in education for both adult and student learners.
In recent times I have been reflecting upon work, education and the processes that enable me to support all learners. I have reflected upon these practices and decided that some of my practices are very good pedagogy and other areas have room for improvement.
My Learning journey Mantra
I am writing this blog to share my courses, practices and reflections on a daily basis. I believe it is important to reflect regularly. Daily reflections will bring to light the small things and the reflections for both successes and failures. As it is my belief that these are equally important in education and sharing these demonstrates both the development of new ideas and the ongoing learning for the improvement of both my practices and the learning options in the classroom.
I look forward to developing this blog and sharing my Digital Teaching and Learning. I hop you enjoy this blog and please join in the conversation.Rachael
via Blogger http://bit.ly/2ph74sW
This post is the first in a series of posts in response to the Innovator’s Mindset book study MOOC, By George Couros (@GCouros). I am hoping this will form the foundation of my next steps in my role as a leader in our College. All ideas I have and share are my own and will be raw and unpolished. I look forward to the feedback I get from readers to further refine my ideas.
What is the purpose of Education?
I believe the purpose is to prepare students for their and our future. It should teach resilience, growth mindset, critical thinking and how to create information to create knowledge.
Is innovation necessary in Education?
Yes, it must reflect change with the world innovation may not be something completely new – just new and better in your setting and for your context.
How are you embracing change to spur innovation in your own context?
Recently changing school, state and moving into leadership, I have embraced change in many ways. Now I will encourage others to join me on a journey of change and innovation to make education in our setting new and better. Some strategies that we must embrace, that I have identified through reading this and other books include:
- make connections to the heart of educators and students to enhance connections with our mind.
- compliance, for teachers or students, does not foster innovation.
- all students have a sense of wonder, an opportunity to explore, to become leaders and leave school more curious than when they started.
The challenges I am sure to face include pushback from some staff which I will need to work on motivating all staff “one snowball at a time,” empower our teachers to make changes through small manageable steps that are not time consuming and leadership modelling of the desired practices which will enable everyone to succeed. We will build relationships through shared experiences and become lifelong learners, learning from within the expertise in our College.
Higher education certification – senior year at school including the pressure cooker situation of year 12 and the end of year exams, waiting to see your final results of schooling and then the waiting scenario for which universities might (or might not) offer you from your choices that you originally made over 3 months ago (although these could be altered in the meantime). Is there any wonder questions need to be raised about this process and the validity of it in our world of technology and connectedness?
I have begun reflecting upon the books that I have been reading and this book is a great inspiration to my teaching practices; “The Google Story” by David A. Vise. You can read my reflections about this book here.
I have proven when education embraces some of the lessons learnt by Brin and Page into the life lessons being taught across the world that there is greater success and innovation. Every teacher can start this by simply asking the students about their creative ideas and providing the Google innovation “20% time” to develop and incubate these ideas.
With more and more focus on standardised testing and data collection in education teachers are looking for solutions that satisfy the curriculum and the governing education department’s requirements of assessment data.
The timeless question for many teachers in the classroom today is: How can I keep my students motivated to learn and participate? And there are a vast number of resources to answer this timeless question, but my answer is always to make it feel like it isn’t learning and the students are engaged and demonstrate a whole lot more than the curriculum outcomes that you have set for the lesson.
Have you ever tried peer or self observation? Have you had a visitor in the room and observe a lesson only to find the students don’t behave the same as they usually would – either better or worse?
As professionals many of us work in classrooms of isolation, with 20+ young people,
The average class size in Australian schools was 24.7 students, above the OECD average of 24, and far bigger than some high-performing school systems. (I Give A Gonski, 2014)