School assessments are “out of date” by the end of the school year and should be replaced by a system that allows students to take and retake them during the year, according to government advisors, similar to driving tests.
The International Council of Education Advisors (ICEA) of Nicola Sturgeon argues in a major new study that it is possible to overhaul the conventional diet of make-or-break exams in favor of a “greater role for internal assessment in determining qualifications that better match the knowledge and skills demanded by broader social and economic change.”
The report claimed that secondary school exams are “essentially an outdated 19th- and 20th-century technology deployed in a 21st-century teaching and learning environment,” with interactive channels meaning that they can now be “more continuous rather than episodic.”
Cancelled higher exams – John Swinney under pressure.
He continues, “There may still be test components, but if they are based on a wide range of changing, problem-based issues, they can be taken and retaken throughout the year as driving tests, rather than at a one-time, stressful, win-or-lose moment.”
In the United States, at least one state is changing its budget from standardized testing to formative evaluation. As the basis for college choices, California has now abandoned standardized achievement assessments as well.
In the midst of questions about Covid-19 and the disruption it has caused to learning, the ICEA study comes after the cancellation of next year’s National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher exams.
The report release also follows the debacle of exam results earlier this year. Thousands of students saw their teacher-valued grades downgraded by the moderation mechanism of SQA, which took into account the past performance of schools and resulted in the hardest hitting of those from less fortunate backgrounds.
A change of heart led to the initial grades being restored.
“The report, which states that Education Secretary John Swinney was right to abolish the National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher tests, says: “The testing concerns of this year have highlighted the danger that the legitimate needs for reliable measures override the scope of learning that is increasingly vital to the success of individuals, communities, and economies. Both reliability and validity are important.
In 2016, the ICEA was set up to advise ministers on how best to attain excellence and equality in Scottish education.
Its members include Professor Andy Hargreaves, President of the International Congress on Effectiveness and Change of Schools; Professor Graham Donaldson, OECD International Counsellor; and Professor Pasi Sahlberg, a Finnish teacher, writer and researcher.
Not only does the council discuss evaluation, but it also sets out a range of ideas and suggestions in fields such as education, teacher preparation, and leadership.
“Our report proposes a profound transformation of Scottish education, indeed of all education systems, so that they can operate as effectively, or nearly as effectively, in a pandemic as they do in other circumstances,”Our report proposes a profound transformation of Scottish education, indeed of all education systems, so that they can operate in a pandemic as efficiently or almost as effectively as they do in other circumstances.
“It also proposes a universally designed education system that provides quality education for all during a pandemic in a way that also enhances and transforms quality education for all in other ‘normal’ circumstances.”
The incorporation of new technologies and outdoor learning as the Scottish education system recovers from the coronavirus pandemic are two popular themes.
The report says this “digital literacy” on the significance of “needs to be systematically and explicitly taught and deliberately learned from an early age.” – which involves practices such as acceptable and inappropriate online actions and determining the importance, validity and accuracy of online materials.
John Swinney cancels 2021 exams
“should be a mandatory part of teacher training, and something in which all existing teachers should become fully competent within five years.”should be a compulsory part of teacher training and should become fully competent within five years for all existing teachers.
As for outdoor learning, the report says it is something that Nordic countries with climates close to Scotland have a long history of expanding in all situations, not just during a pandemic, and can and should be extended.