Monday, September 17, 2012

Just a thought

Listening to the news this morning about the introduction of a new Secondary Education examination, the newly names "Gove-level" and wondering if any has done the apparently obvious thing and actualy thought about education from an educators point of view, a learners point of of view and a business point of view?

You see it would seem to me that we need to educate business leaders that education isn't just about standard spelling and numeracy, important as they are, but it's wider than that. And educators already know that young people need to be able to count and spell and formulate sentences without urban punctuation.

Has anyone actually sat down and asked, business leaders, government and high education leaders what the skill set is that they are looking for from prospective workers/learners and then looked at how best to assess those skills?

When I look at the concept of a single exam at the end of a tow year course, I see a very shallow exploration of learning. If you can regurgitate the correct amount of correct information you get the grade. When I look at a modular system, I see other problems around how much help and assistance a given individual might get to produce their best work. Either way, the test is flawed. But maybe that's not the biggest issue. Maybe the biggest issue is that no matter what method of assessment we use, we only appear to be interested in driving an education system that teaches to the test.

The course I am currently doing is, if done properly, about developing a skill set. Sadly most of us are only used to taking exams and passing or failing. So we don't treat assessments as an opportunity to discover what we still need to learn, but we treat them as a hurdle to cross. The result? We stop learning once we've made it through the test.

I don't know how you shift the mind set away from exams to assessing the development of skills in the mind of either tutor or student, but I wonder if this is exactly what we need to do if we're going to develop a broad education system that prepares all of us for life in all its dimensions.

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