Saturday, January 19, 2013

E-Assessment Question , #InsideLearning and #GlowRoadshow

For learners,  and I am one, learning is a lifelong continuum . I still think though that those who deliver learning and the accreditation of learning still live in silos,  worse some of them have stopped learning.

At the E-Assessment Question, an excellent event in Leeds,  I presented to an audience where there was a confident inevitability that most things one way or another will be assessed on-line in the near future. In work based learning this will happen in next 3 years,  in College space I predict this will happen in the next five years in schools space mmm ? If it does not happen and it is not driven by schools then it will be driven by forces outside of the school system and directly to learners. You can see the big commercial interests circling.

Universities need to wake up too. They are still too inflexible. It is neither the most intelligent nor the strongest that survive but those most adaptable to change . Directors of Jessops , Blockbuster and HMV did not adapt.

In Scotland we are really lucky that we are able to push at all the boundaries associated with changing current modes of assessment. The drive in England back to paper and pencil and exam based assessment is as much to do with a false belief in some golden era of academic standards as it is to do with trying to discourage sharp practices from commercially driven awarding bodies along with a complete lack of trust in schools and school teachers. It really is a dreadful situation and I feel for many of those trying to innovate in this environment. I fear too that many of those who have been innovating in this space will simply give up trying to operate in the fragmented English schools system.

When I use that "assessed" word I mean the means of gathering evidence and the means to gain accreditation will be on-line and not that everything will be assessed by on-line multiple choice questions.  Which is common misconception about e-assessment.

But we have much to do too in Scotland - some of the comments from the panel at Inside Learning were just depressing . It would be awful to believe that schools start preparing learners for external examinations from 1st year of secondary school . It is awful too that some folks with experience of the system can't , don't or won't see that what is chosen to be assessed is often simply a reflection of what they choose to make important.  I think too conversations about what is important is still too top down. I hope my children get asked what they want to learn today - to pinch an old advertising slogan. I know the assessment and accreditation system can cope with this and I am sure that schools and teachers can too. To the student teachers who were along on the night one of the best things you can do for your professional development is to become a marker or assessor for SQA,  having an understanding of the system will help you change it.
And sign up for a relevant massive open on-line course to see how things are changing.

I am writing this on a Saturday morning where 120 teachers from around Glasgow and the surrounding areas have turned up to take part in a Glow Road Show  in their own time . I know they are really up for change and I hope they know that they really can change things.

There are big opportunities to change thinking in the assessment space and there are huge affordances that technology will bring to learners and this means different ways of assessing and accrediting folk at a national level. I am really hopeful that this is going to start happening with the new awards at National 4 .

I hope folks in school sector learn about how things are delivered , assessed and accredited in the College and work based sectors it will give them more confidence to change things

I am massively optimistic for learners and learning . Change,  it is a coming .