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It seems reasonable to want to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of public schooling. The problem is that the metrics that are currently used are inadequate and distort practice. Would the subjective well-being of the school community be a better metric and if so how could you measure it? ...continue reading "Subjective well-being – the ultimate metric?"

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We are familiar with micro credentials - things like digital badges. One of the claimed advantages of micro-credentials is that they enable you to assess competences (knowledge, skills and dispositions) that cannot easily be assessed or captured using traditional metrics (e.g. exams, essays). Assessing competences (e.g. leadership; resilience) often involves looking at what people do, looking at their practice, at their ability to apply 'knowledge' in particular contexts. This creates a problem, which nano-credentials will help to overcome. ...continue reading "Introducing nano-credentials"

Currently our education system is dominated by a grades-based approach to assessment - but is this the best approach (from an educational perspective)? ...continue reading "Rethinking assessment – from grades to micro-credentials"

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I have to admit that I’m not a fan of rubrics – preferring non-standardised forms of assessment – and perhaps because most of the rubrics I have come across have been pretty terrible. So I thought I’d have a go at developing a better one. ...continue reading "The halfbaked academic rubric"

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We know that summative assessment drives practice in schools. We also know that current forms of summative assessment inhibit both curriculum and pedagogical innovation because of their focus on 'knowledge' (as viewed in a knowledge based curriculum). The challenge is to find new forms of summative assessment which satisfy the criteria against which they will be judged. Those criteria should include: ...continue reading "Characteristics of effective summative assessment"

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By Dennis Sherwood

In the summer of 2020, the Covid-19 outbreak led to the cancellation in the UK of all school exams. What happened next has been described as a scandal, a disaster, a fiasco, as has been reported extensively elsewhere. In the quest to discover what went wrong, ...continue reading "Why are exam grades unreliable?"

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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 ... ...continue reading "From standardised testing to living CVs"

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Schools tend to focus heavily on end of Year 12 exams (e.g. HSCs and the ATAR in Australia) that will enable students to progress to university. However, most students do NOT go on to university and of those who do many do not rely on an ATAR to get their place. It is time that schools focussed on the success ...continue reading "Starting to think about Additional Routes To Success"

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Around the world governments are taking action to contain the spread of COVID-19, often in ways that are quite revealing about the purposes and practices of schooling, and the scope to which unchallengeable norms in education can actually be overthrown. ...continue reading "COVID-19 and the future of schooling"

In previous posts I have talked about why school is a problem, how people learn and hence how we should teach, what should be learnt in school, and that we need to think more radically about the design of schooling. In this post I suggest a strategy for achieving this sort of 'disruptive innovation'. ...continue reading "Radical change strategy"