Having just spent 2 days in Canberra at the ACSA (Australian Curriculum Studies Association) Symposium entitled Innovative Assessment in the Face of Changing Curriculum: Testing Times and being in the process of completing a Coursera MOOC entitled Assessment in the 21st Century with Patrick Griffin. I find myself reflecting on the following:
NAPLAN, MYAT, PAT-R, PAT-M (and the list of Standardised external tests that we require our students to complete - some of which are "high stakes') are of limited use. Yes - they provide us with some insight into 'where a student is at' but inferences made from these can be far-reaching. At a systemic level, schools and teachers are given directives to "raise the middle band". What stands out for me is that we broadly acknowledge the limitations of Here I highlight the major points I took from the three keynotes (discussed in order of presentation - Prof Stephen Dobson, Dr Greg Thompson and Associate Professor Debra Bateman), and provide links to workshop resources shared at the Symposium.
My all-time favourite presenter and friend - A/Prof Debra Bateman - focused on the 'oppervations' or 'opportunities for innovation' within the current assessment climate. She spoke of the moral imperative teachers have in saying that "curriculum policy that is constructed with integrity demands that schools are accountable for student learning". With this in mind Deb articulated a clear argument for a focus on 'capturing student learning'. In doing so she critically discussed representations of learning (LHS below) and made perhaps the most important point of the conference for me - and that is (yes, I believe this point is so important I am using caps!) IT IS NOT OK TO ALLOW THE WEIGHT OF 'OTHERS' EDUCATIONAL AGENDAS' TO DISTRACT US FROM THE CORE BUSINESS OF TEACHING AND LEARNING (see RHS below)