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From standardised testing to living CVs

In the Industrial Age schooling was focussed on preparing folk for working on production lines - standardisation was the name of the game and standardised testing was an appropriate way to enhance schooling. Today, in the Automation Age, we need to prepare young people to tackle wicked problems - standardised testing is no longer fit for purpose. We need new ways to assess the knowledge, competences and dispositions that people need to succeed ...

This got me thinking about how I came to be a professor. Looking at my CV it is clear that it was nothing to do with standardisation - most of the evidence in my CV is underpinned by peer review:

  • My publication record relies on peer reviewers (and anyone who has ever tried to publish an academic journal article will know that there is nothing standardised about reviewers' feedback)
  • My grant success relies on peer reviewers thinking that the ideas underpinning my grant applications are interesting and important, and that I have the expertise needed to deliver the projects
  • My 'service record' (e.g. membership of editorial boards, invitations to be an examiner) relies upon people respecting and valuing my expertise
  • The number of keynotes and other invited presentations is based on peer review - people thinking that I have something interesting to say and can present it in an engaging way

Fundamentally, my career progression, after school/university, relies almost totally on peer review - and this seems to be the case for most careers. Employers want to know what other people think of you - they want great references and other forms of endorsement to complement formal qualifications.

The Education Council (2020) argued that we need to develop "a digital Education Passport for lifelong learning - a living document that allows young people to capture progressively their education and training qualifications and workplace experience" (p.22).

I think we need to extend this notion of an Education Passport, creating a living CV that not only incorporates traditional CV elements such as qualifications and work experience, but also endorsements and recommendations that fully reflect your knowledge, competences and dispositions.

This looks very much like what LinkedIn offers - a living CV that includes your qualifications and work experience, alongside endorsements, recommendations and extended information to underpin your profile (e.g. in the form of posts).

Peter Twining's LinkedIn profile My LinkedIn profile includes more than 50 endorsements for 'Educational Technology' - each of the people who endorsed me for that will have had quite different (non-standardised) views about what that endorsement meant - nonetheless cumulatively those endorsements are pretty compelling evidence that I have educational technology expertise.

Could we use LinkedIn to complement the traditional forms of reporting of school leavers' learning?

Wouldn't a LinkedIn profile that included young people's academic achievements and work experience, complemented by endorsements and recommendations from people in the community (e.g. from voluntary work, clubs and other out of school activities) provide a much richer and more complete picture of their knowledge, competences and dispositions than a traditional school transcript?

Furthermore, by using LinkedIn school students could:

  • explore potential careers - extending the possibilities beyond the jobs that your friends and family have - who ever thought you could be a personal shopper! (Contrary to popular perception LinkedIn is quite egalitarian in the range of jobs/professions that it includes.)
  • find out what knowledge, competences and dispositions you need to succeed in the jobs they are interested in - by looking at the LinkedIn profiles of people who already have succeeded in those jobs
  • start to develop their professional networks - potentially helping to overcome social disadvantage for those young people whose parents cannot get them an internship in the local law firm - though of course they would need to be supported in how to network effectively (and safely).

In the Automation Age we need to think more creatively about how to evidence young people's learning - using LinkedIn seems like an potentially powerful tool to help complement traditional school metrics, and in so doing provide additional routes to success.

4 thoughts on “From standardised testing to living CVs

  1. Sandy

    Dear Peter;
    I am not a big fan of standardised rubrics either. Nor am I a fan of not differentiating in tutorials at University. I guess, as a primary teacher who worked in one of the hardest to staff schools in NSW (lowest 5% in Basic Skills- Now NAPLAN) for 8 years, then in a top performing school for 7 years (in the top 5%) I could see in brief, "standardised approaches" limit students and teachers. I learnt to differentiate in schools (not Universities) and taught how to we might differentiate in schools at a previous Uni. I assume cost deters some Universities from differentiating, but, I think it could be done with a cost effective lens. My bigger picture lens would argue if we differentiated and rethought standardised rubrics most graduates (regardless of their degree) leave Uni after 4 years of success with being engaged with what is taught at Uni and are well prepared for life, not just a knowledge worker.... Instead, a knowledge human being.

    1. James Ladwig

      Keep in mind that Initial Teacher Ed is highly regulated by such rubric -- Universities in Aus literally have to tick rubric boxes for multiple regulated agencies... brain-numbingling stupid, but reality.

  2. James Ladwig

    Broadly, I do wonder / write about the underlying tension created by the very idea of a CV, marketing your Self, vis-a-vis non 'western' cultures....

    I think it is important to see the advertising yourself as bringing a culture with it, just due to premises of its function

    1. PeterT

      Totally agree James. Tall poppy syndrome...

      You could go further, and argue that the 'closing the gap' agenda in Australia is just another - perhaps more socially acceptable - form of cultural assimilation.


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