Monday, November 23, 2009

Welcome To R Space

Are our assessment and evaluation processes out of step with the times? Some people think so.
One reason for this is that we've traditionally taught and assessed based on the idea that all children learn at the same rate and in the same way. So when it's time for that final project or test, time's up on the learning. Game over.
This can cause some pressures on both students and teachers. If you doubt this, just look around any staff room at report card time.

Click on the video on the right to see Lucy and Ethel try to cope with standard outcomes delivered in assembly line fashion. Ridiculous, yet not so far removed from the challenge we face when it's time to wrap up student learning in a tidy report.

If an intermediate or secondary student hasn't learned as much as others have on the day of the test, or doesn't hand that project in, he or she is penalized. As they and we all know, the penalty is a poor mark. If parents are wondering why a report card mark is low, they are presented with a row of numbers that are supposed to represent what has been learned . . . and what hasn't. That's the discussion here, and it has to do with why we educate our students. The question below gets at the heart of the matter:

Education's purpose is to develop ability, not to sort people according to whether or not they already have it (Gilbert, 2005)

Agree or disagree? Take the poll to the right and let us know where you stand. And by the way, Welcome to R Space

This blog is for ideas, opinions, comments, resources and general discussion in the Richmond school district community. For starters we'll be spending some time on the dicey topics of assessment, evaluation and reporting. What are the differences between these things? What's right about our practices now? What gets in the way of doing what we think is best for our kids?

If you're in the mood for more, below is a link to a little light reading on the basics of assessment "for", "as" and "of" learning. Additional resources are located to the right.
So weigh in on our poll, and send other thoughts you may have by responding below.BlackandWiliam Ed 5Nov03

Poll results and more next time. If you would like to become a follower of R Space and get email notices when new comments are posted, please click on the followers box.