Assessment in Our Schools Today

I enjoyed the works of :

Book: Assessment for Learning: How to Make Classroom Assessment Work, by Anne Davies

Damian Cooper: Too bad you have to see/work with him live!

There is a lot of assessment talk out there and its good.  However there are traditional practices that are still very much institutionalized in our schools today.  Which way will it go?  Universities still require marks as a form of information about those who they will let into their doors and the ministry of education still requires ‘marks’ to be reports several times a year and has mandatory provincial exams (albeit a reduced list from just five years ago).  There are many questions about the value of standardized testing but we are still required to do them.  Is it fair to go with the tide and abolish this type of assessment or do we owe it to our students to prepare them for these standardized assessments that are waiting for them at the post secondary level?


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One response to “Assessment in Our Schools Today

  1. Aaron Akune

    At the heart of our assessment practices should be student learning. I often reflect on what types of assessment practices are motivating or demotivating for students. As best we can, we need to utilize practices that are motivating, and encourage student learning. We do have to be careful not to use a reward vs punishment system of assessment.

    The reporting of marks is a reality. Unfortunately, a letter grade or percentage really doesn’t tell a student or parent enough. They fail to communicate which learning outcomes a student has met and which ones he or she has not met yet. Therefore, reporting student progress with respect to meeting specific learning targets is more important.

    Provincial exams are also another unfortunate reality. As much as there is pressure to prepare students for these standardized assessments, I believe it is most important to focus on deep learning. Focussing on only surface level learning and ‘teaching to the test’ is a very shortsighted approach. Through deep learning I believe it is possible for students to prepare themselves for these standardized assessments.

    Often we speak of the need to prepare students for the world of post-secondary education. While this is important I believe we should be doing far more than this. We should be working with our students so they can develop the skills necessary to be healthy and productive citizens in the real world, regardless of whether they pursue a post-secondary education or not.

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