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‘It’s time to destroy the “myth of assessment”: we have almost no idea how to assess children...'

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

  2. redlamp2

    redlamp2 Occasional commenter

    I would say it's a fair assessment.
     
  3. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Saw what you did there:p
     
    redlamp2 likes this.
  4. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Of course it's a mess. Assessment of students at all levels has been a mess since I started teaching over 30 years ago. I remember when GCSE was first introduced and we all got enthused because it would involve a new way of teaching but it's reverted back to the old O-level in certain subjects. Then came the National Curriculum - remember the folders full of attainment targets for every subject at every key stage and tests at 7, 11, 14 and 16? A-level reformed in 2000 to incorporate AS levels and now being changed back again. A disaster! And so it goes on. Politicians cannot leave things alone because then it appears that they are complacent and so our public services, particularly education, is in a continuous state of flux from perpetual reform as every new secretary of state tries to make their mark..
     
    Middlemarch likes this.
  5. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Assessment is a genuine subject of study in HE. What it is, what it should do, how it can be used and so forth. Subjectivity, purpose, etc., are all well recorded.

    Professor Stuart Hall has set out how the new-liberal landscape of education has been marketised by appropriating assessment to provide the 'currency' which is earned, demonstrates profits, is used to justify decisions and so forth. Yet, the actual mathematics and assessment theory used in these tools within the market place to justify really quite serious things is exceptionally flawed.

    The government do not seek to undertake assessment accurately in the sense of what we as educators understand it. The government seeks to use assessment as a driver to fully privatise education, de professionalise the teaching workforce and deliver opportunities for entrepreneurial innovators to deliver 'assessment' for a lower base unit price and higher executive salary price.

    The problem in primary is that assessment isn't a qualification. A provider cannot provide a cut price qualification and none of the other non-assessed elements of education because at primary level those non-assessed elements of education are crucial for the development of the child. At secondary level, you can rely on the accumulated education to just cut all of that out and deliver nothing but the qualifications which are assessed by the market.
     
    Middlemarch, wanet and Shedman like this.
  6. ChrisHG

    ChrisHG New commenter

    Admitting our ignorance is never easy especially if it goes to the heart of what we, as a teaching profession, should be experts at and we know that to do it successfully and move children’s learning on, assessing what they have learnt or not, informs our practice. Assessment should inform the process, help to evaluate the product, but never be a judgement of a person, therefore it is an extremely complex process. It is not just about technics of assessment, but many other factors which influence it such as: our expectations, our philosophy on ability and potential, teacher – student relationship, use of data, types of assessment and few others. So assessment does not happen in the vacuum and it cannot be treated as an isolated issue. I also agree that there are many parties which are responsible for the current situation. But I can see also another reason which has been highlighted in The Carter Review and The Final Report of The Commission on Assessment without Levels and it is lack of a decent teacher training on many aspects of assessment, not just formative and I guess it is a very similar situation with CPD for qualified teachers.

    A few months I was looking for an answer to this question: ‘Are there any good examples of CPD programmes/practice on assessment from other educational systems?’ I could not find any, so I emailed Prof Dylan Wiliam and this is his response (I quote with Prof Wiliams’ permission): ‘The simple answer to your question about how teachers are prepared to use assessment effectively across the world is “badly”. Most countries almost completely ignore assessment in initial teacher education, and although there has been, in recent years, a substantial increase in the amount of attention given to formative uses of assessment, the technical side of assessment for summative purposes is almost completely ignored. As a result, most teachers get no training in the construction of assessments, have no idea how to calculate the reliability of the assessments they use, nor even how to interpret a reliability coefficient on commercially produced tests. If doctors had no idea how to interpret the results of a blood test, there would be a national outcry, but we seem to be happy that most teachers, politicians, leaders and inspectors have no idea what assessment results mean.

    In the US, back in the 1980s, Rick Stiggins documented the lack of attention given to assessment in teacher education but nothing much has been done to improve the situation anywhere in the world, as a far as I am aware.’

    I might be wrong but it seems that the situation in this country is not very different.

    We need to claim assessment as an integral part of our profession and assess teaching and learning ourselves. We need to become competent assessors, experts in assessment.
     
    wanet likes this.

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