FINAL_WCED_ASSESSMENT_ADDRESS_S_P_Govender.15392425

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					MOVING AHEAD WITH ASSESSMENT:
   FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE




  Keynote address presented by

        S.P. GOVENDER

  at the WCED WINELANDS EMDC


     Assessment Conference
          11 May 2007
                 INTRODUCTION

CONFERENCE CONTEXT: EDUCATION TRANSFORMATION &
                    CURRICULUM REVISION

Assessment:           Commands attention: issue of
                      controversy.

Core business:        Teaching and learning

Real core business:   Teaching, learning and the assessment
                      of learners.


CRUCIAL QUESTION: Where am I in the Assessment journey?

Assessment:           Measurement of the extent of learning
                      by individuals.
TRUE PURPOSE OF ASSESSMENT


is “… not simply to measure what learners
   have achieved, but to help learners to
   learn and achieve more. Assessment
   which does not motivate learners to learn
   and tell them what they need to do in
   order to improve does not fulfill its
   educational purpose.”


                         (Sieborger, 1998)
  PAST ASSESSMENT PRACTICES

                                              Basis for
  Basis for                                   Further
   Lifelong             Theoretical?
                                            Qualification?
  Learning?



                       YOUR MATRIC             Enrich
Internationally
                        CERTIFICATE              &
 Comparable?
                                              Empower?



            Benefit
           Society &                    Build
           Economy?               self-confidence?
CRUCIAL QUESTION


 “Did my schooling afford me
 maximum opportunity to explore
 my potential & develop myself in
 relation to others & the world?”
PHILOSOPHY BEHIND ASSESSMENT IN SA SCHOOLS



Consider NATED 550:

 Judgements made?

 Determine a university entrance or simply get a
  certificate?

 Demands of commerce, industry and higher
  education institutions?

 How much was based on assessment standards?
PHILOSOPHY BEHIND ASSESSMENT IN SA SCHOOLS



   Was it not an event rather than a process?

   Was it not a surprise rather than being transparent
    and continuous?

    Was it intended to threaten teachers and trap
    learners, rather than being developmental and fair?

   To what extent was there selfish ownership of marks
    with 100% being virtually unattainable for the
    majority?

    CRUCIAL QUESTION: Has my assessment practice
    been developmental or judgemental?
RECENT THINKING AND TRENDS


 Teaching, learning and assessment
  have become an integrated process;

 New focus on what the learner can do
  in a contextualized situation;

 Approach to assessment: qualitative,
  developmental, remedial, intellectual
  growth, transparent, continuous;
DEFINING ASSESSMENT
   The National Protocol for Recording and Reporting (Grades
    R-12) defines assessment:

       “Assessment is a process of collecting, analysing and
        interpreting information to assist teachers, parents and
        other stakeholders in making decisions about the
        progress of learners;

       Classroom assessment should be both informal and
        formal;

       The forms of assessment used should be appropriate to
        the age and the developmental level of the learners in
        the phase;

       The design of these tasks should therefore ensure that a
        variety of skills are assessed.”
 PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF ASSESSMENT
        POLICIES AND THEORIES


 satisfy the needs of not only the writers of
  policy, but the main client and focus of
  attention - the learners

CONSIDER THESE SCENARIOS:

 Teachers award 60% as an assessment in
  an examination. Does this indicate 40% of
  work not mastered?

 So imagine the pilot or the heart surgeon.
NEW QUALIFICATION

New qualification promises:

 High knowledge, skills & values;

 Practical know-how, and

 Well balanced citizens able to compete in the
  global village.

  CRUCIAL QUESTION: Is assessment an end in
   itself or a means to an end?
HOW DO WE VIEW LEARNERS?

   Are they perceived to be empty vessels?

   Are they individuals with an extensive range of
    experiences, ideas and knowledge?

 Learners really do need their teachers: Teachers
  have extensive subject knowledge!

 Some teachers abdicate their role of teacher in
  the classroom and act as a “facilitator”.

 The new thinking is to balance what should be
  taught and what should be discovered.
EXPECTATIONS OF LEARNERS

   In the past this balance was weighted towards
    teacher dominance.

   Balance seems to have swung towards self discovery
    by learners, indicating an irrational expectancy of
    what learners can do.

   Administration and Management of learner’s
    portfolios: Assessments recorded by teachers of
    learners’ projects - assessment of parents work
    determined by their economic status?

    Crucial question: Do we as individual teachers or as
    institutions have a policy that addresses such
    realities that compromise the integrity of
    assessment?
OUTCOMES-BASED ASSESSMENT

   Idea that the new curriculum discards memorization
    and learners should not rote learn.

   Paradigm shift in assessment is that memorization
    should not be overstressed at the expense of
    understanding and application of knowledge.

   Current assessment policy must reflect the
    philosophy of Outcomes-based Education: Clear focus
    on what the learners “know” and “can do”.

   Knowledge acquisition in itself is unimportant. The
    true value of knowledge rests on the extent to which
    learners can apply and demonstrate!

   Constantly changing world offers new ways of
    learning!
CLASSROOM ASSESSMENT ACTIVITIES


   Assessment does not need to remain at a dreary, boring,
    dull level, but can be made exciting and challenging.

   E-Learning and multi-media not being utilised
    adequately in well resourced schools in our country.

   Silent orderly classroom vs dynamic, moving, constantly
    changing, visually stimulating learning environment.

   New ethos can help dismantle the negativity associated
    with both formal and informal assessment tasks.

    CRUCIAL QUESTION: Did innovation in our teaching,
    learning and assessment begin with the introduction of
    OBE in our country?
TEACHER CHALLENGES

   Protocol on Assessment now the Protocol on
    Recording and Reporting

   Reduce the amount of work

   Acknowledgement - teachers stretched to the limit -
    demands of teachers

   Capture and sustain the attention of learners

   Enforcing discipline

   Diverse assessment strategies such as activities in
    pairs and groups, projects, oral and visual
    presentations, etc.
TEACHER CHALLENGES

 Assessment Standards in the Subject Guideline
  documents intimidate teachers

 Theoretical paradigm of testing or examining every
  component of the subject

 Focus on Assessment Standards: Describe the level
  at which learners should demonstrate achievement
  of a Learning Outcome.

  CRUCIAL QUESTION: Is there sufficient focus on
  the role of Assessment Standards in directing
  teaching, learning & assessment?
 ATTITUDES TO ASSESSMENT

 Excuses to undermine the new assessment approach

 Practical side of maintaining a portfolio of work

 Some teachers plead ignorance of this requirement

 Dual set of books: Old mark book is kept side-by-side
  with the new record sheets

 Record sheets may be kept manually or electronically
  & form the basis of the progression/promotion
  schedules and the report cards sent to parents.
ATTITUDES TO ASSESSMENT


 Practical application of assessment?

 Teachers overwhelmed? Challenged
  to construct creative ways to teach
  content and assess?
ADVICE TO PRINCIPALS
CRUCIAL QUESTION: Is assessment being
adequately supervised & monitored at
schools?

 Teacher portfolios are to be produced on
  request for moderation and accountability
  purposes.

 Subject Heads and Management to supervise
  and monitor teacher portfolios at regular
  intervals.
ASSESSMENT FEEDBACK

 Acknowledge that in the public service
  sector, level of accountability has been
  increased

 Inadequate feedback to learners or
  parents and no remedial action to close
  gaps and address learners’.

 Collectively, we must take full
  responsibility for learner attainment.
CHANGING TERMINOLOGY

 What is in a name?

   Portfolio instead of file
   Facilitator instead of teacher
   Programme of assessment versus exam
    time-tables
   Learner portfolios instead of workbooks

 Administrative procedures need to be
  followed and evidence collected for credible
  assessment of learners.
    GRAPPLING WITH NEW TERMINOLOGY

   Progression & promotion debate

   Comfortable with promotion, where there is a fixed set of criteria that
    must be met (Grades 9-12)

   Progression is far more nebulous and we struggle to understand how this
    judgment should be made.

   Some prefer clear distinctions between the terms “progression and
    promotion”

   Definition of promotion: “the progression of a learner from one
    grade to the next when that learner meets the minimum
    requirements for the achievement of outcomes in the particular
    grade.”

    CRUCIAL QUESTION: Terminology used in the theoretical
    documents understood and related to the known before practical
    application can take place?
    PIVOTAL ROLE OF SCHOOL ASSESSMENT COMMITTEES


CRUCIAL QUESTION: Have schools established effective mechanisms
for the management and administration of assessment policies and
procedures?

    Developing school assessment policy.

    Recommending condonations of learners

    Requesting concessions for learners who experience barrier

    Formulation of an assessment plan per grade so that
     tasks/projects/tests are spread reasonably for maximum learner
     output

    Establishing internal control systems for moderation: projects /
     tests / examinations, etc.
    SHARING THE EASTERN CAPE EXPERIENCE

   SCHOOL SUPPORT VISITS:

       Provincial curriculum guideline documents have been developed and
        standardised not only to monitor and evaluate schools but to offer
        targeted intervention and support.


   TRAINING OF SCHOOL PRINCIPALS:

       Instructional leaders need clear understanding of the practical
        application of policies
       No school assessment policy can be in contradiction to departmental
        policies
       School policies governed by national and provincial education policies.


   CLUSTER MODERATION OF CASS:

       Transcend mere standardization of CASS and involves training in the
        practical implementation of assessment theories.
    SHARING THE EASTERN CAPE EXPERIENCE


   COMMON TESTS:

       Compulsory common tests / exams ensure that the curriculum is
        adequately covered
       In 2006, the Province set its own Common Exams for Grade 11.

   CLUSTER SUBJECT COMMITTEES:

       Provincial Guideline document on establishing Phase / LA / Subject
        Committees
       Practical ideas are discussed and implemented in terms of new
        policies.
       Insufficient curriculum advisors

   IN-SERVICE TRAINING OF TEACHERS:

       Provincial document on Role Functions & Responsibilities of
        Curriculum Advisors: Teacher Development focus
       Trained in areas that have been identified as gaps.
CONCLUSION

   Assessment of learner performance speaks directly to
    the efficiency of curriculum implementation and the
    effectiveness of teaching-learning activities.

   Assessment plays a pivotal role in establishing
    uniformity, promoting standardization, ensuring
    quality controls, fostering quality assurance,
    improving the quality of teaching and learning,
    enhancing learner attainment.

   Proactively address assessment challenges: e.g.
    learners’ needs, teachers’ interests, introduction of
    NCS Section B CTA’s, NCS National compulsory Grade
    11 in 2007, the new NCS National Senior Certificate in
    2008!
“We are what we repeatedly do.
 Excellence, then, is not an act,
          but a habit!”

           (Aristotle)
All said and done, teachers remain the
custodians of society and mentors of
our children. With this comes the
power to shape minds and the
potential to alter society. So, use your
classrooms and carve your name on
human hearts … you shall remain
immortal.

				
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