How does assessment fit into the equation?

Over the past school year, the school where I worked in BC was engaged in professional development around the new BCED Plan curriculum.  We started by looking at those 6 core competencies, the specific skills that need to be taught, and puzzling out how these could fit together into units, lessons, etc.  However, it didnt take long for all of us to start asking “but how are we going to assess these things?”  How do we assess a compettency such as personal awareness? or critical thinking?  The BCED plan gave different rubrics, and scales to assess these on.

The below video is well worth your time to watch, as it adds many interesting insights from educators around the world.  Although it does not come to any conclusions about the right way to assess, it does open up a variety of opinions and perspectives.

The assumption in our education systems up til now has been that if we teach math, reading, writing (the ‘core skills’), then those extras like creativity will automatically follow suit.  Of course the kids are learning problem solving while doing math, right?  However, an interesting quote in this video was “people measure what they treasure.”  And, up until now, we only measured math, reading, writing.  We only measured math test marks, reading scores, and writing levels.  If this is really the way we assess, then that must also mean that we only treasure those things (and certainly don’t treasure creativity, critical thinking, innovation).  Assessment then needs to be both broad and specific.  It needs to give clear feedback to parents and students about how they are doing, and ways to improve.  It should be a balanced approach where we not only TEACH reading, writing, math, but also creativity, personal identity, and problem solving skills.  Not only taught, but practiced. And not only practiced, but assessed (using Assessment FOR, AS, and OF Learning).   There needs to be alignment between curriculum, parental support, the ability of children to build on what was taught in the years prior, and assessment that guides and assists these.

Within this video one of the participants mentioned an article that closely connects with the topic of assessment: “The Negative Consequences of over-ambitious curriculum.”  Stay posted to read a review of that article!


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