QAAET Conference - The purposes of assessment last- Dr Tina Issacs

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Keynote Presentation by Dr Tina Issacs at the First Quality Assurance Authority for Education and Training (QAAET) - 9 & 10 February 2011 - Bahrain

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QAAET Conference - The purposes of assessment last- Dr Tina Issacs

  1. 1. The Purposes of ssessment Quality Education & Training:Sunday, February 13, 2011 1 Towards a Better Future
  2. 2. It’s the economy, stupid (Clinton campaign slogan,1992)James Callaghan, Ruskin College speech, 18 Oct1976 I am concerned on my journeys to find complaints from industry that new recruits from the schools sometimes do not have the basic tools to do the job that is required….to the teacher, I would say that you must satisfy the parents and industry that what you are doing meets their requirements and the needs of our children. Quality Education & Training: Towards a Better Future
  3. 3. Three questions to ask of any assessment: 1. What is the principal purpose of this assessment? 2. Is the form of the assessment fit for purpose? 3. Does it achieve its purpose?Three broad groupings: 1. Selection and certification 2. Determining and raising standards 3. Formative assessment – assessment for learning Quality Education & Training:3 Towards a Better Future
  4. 4. Assessment = the process of firstly gatheringevidence, and secondly interpreting that evidence inthe light of some defined criterion in order to form ajudgement (Harlen, 1994)Why do we assess? (P. Black et al, 1987): • Diagnostic assessment to identify students’ learning needs • Formative assessment to support and encourage learning • Summative assessment to identify learning outcomes • Evaluative assessment which is directed at assessing the quality of provision in institutions and in the system as a whole Quality Education & Training: Towards a Better Future
  5. 5. • Certification of achievement (competence)• Selection (competition)• The evaluation of provision (content)• The control of both individual aspirations and systemic functioning (control)Importance of the relationship between curriculum and assessmentWho assesses (teachers, students themselves, government)?What is assessed (knowledge, practical skills, social/emotionalskills)?When to assess (for formative purposes, as summative use)?How to assess (norm-referenced, criterion-referenced, ipsative)? Quality Education & Training: Towards a Better Future
  6. 6. Chinese civil service selection tests 1st centuryA.D. – early 20th century • High point during Ming dynasty (1368 – 1662) • Relied on rote knowledge • Extremely low pass rate • Despite extraordinary security, people still found ways to cheat • Still, ‘it is estimated that up to 60 percent of the successful candidates came from families that were not part of the administrative elite’ (Stobart 2008) Quality Education & Training: Towards a Better Future
  7. 7. 19th Century enthusiasm for testing • Antithesis of corruption and patronage • Testing of basic abilities as well as attainments and skills • Ability = merit • Talent = virtue Quality Education & Training:7 Towards a Better Future
  8. 8. Diagnostic assessment • Origins in ascertaining who would profit from specialist schooling • Alfred Binet 1905 – 1908, one to one diagnostics, spatial, verbal and numerical sub-tests • US and Great Britain change to written IQ tests – assumption that intelligence is fixedAssessment to set and raise standards • Entrance examinations to universities • Backwash effect on curriculumAssessment as accountability • Payment by results Quality Education & Training: Towards a Better Future
  9. 9. The children … were drilled in the contents of those books until they knewthem almost by heart. In arithmetic they worked abstract sums, in obedienceto formal rules, day after day, and month after month; and they were put upto various tricks and dodges which would, it was hoped, enable them toknow by what precise rules the various questions on the arithmetic cardwere to be answered.Not a thought was given, except in a small minority of schools, to the realtraining of the child, to the fostering of his mental (and other) growth. Toget him through the yearly examination by hook or by crook was the oneconcern of the teacher.As profound distrust of the teacher was the basis of the policy of thedepartment, so profound distrust of the child was the basis of the policy ofthe teachers.To leave the child to find anything out for himself, to think out anything forhimself, would have been regarded as proof of incapacity, no to say insanity,on the part of the teacher, and would have led to results which, from the‘percentage’ point of view, would probably have been disastrous. Quality Education & Training: Towards a Better Future
  10. 10. • The term ‘assessment purpose’ can be interpreted in a variety of different ways: judgement level; decision level; impact level• The uses to which assessment results are put are often categorized misleadingly Purposes/uses Where assessment systems are supposed to support more than one purpose, the purposes must be prioritized• Quality Education & Training: Towards a Better Future
  11. 11. • Distinction between formative and summative assessment is spurious• Summative characterises a type of assessment judgement = summing up appraisal of performance• Formative characterises a type of use to which assessment judgements are put = using assessment to achieve a formative purpose, which can include summative assessment Quality Education & Training: Towards a Better Future
  12. 12. student monitoring to decide whether students are making sufficient progress in attainment in relation to expectations or targets; and, potentially, to allocate rewards or sanctionsformative to identify students’ proximal learning needs, guiding subsequent teachingsocial evaluation to judge the social or personal value of students’ achievementsdiagnosis to clarify the type and extent of students’ learning difficulties in light of well-established criteria, for intervention Quality Education & Training: Towards a Better Future
  13. 13. provision eligibility to determine whether students meet eligibility criteria for special educational provisionscreening to identify students who differ significantly from their peers, for further assessmentsegregation to segregate students into homogeneous groups, on the basis of aptitudes or attainments, to make the instructional process more straightforwardguidance to identify the most suitable courses, or vocations for students to pursue, given their aptitudes Quality Education & Training: Towards a Better Future
  14. 14. transfer to identify the general educational needs of students who transfer to new schoolsplacement to locate students with respect to their position in a specified learning sequence, to identify the level of course which most closely reflects itqualification to decide whether students are sufficiently qualified for a job, course or role in life – that is, whether they are equipped to succeed in it – and whether to enrol them or to appoint them to itselection to predict which students – all of whom might, in principle, be sufficiently qualified – will be the most successful in a job, course or role in life, and to select between them Quality Education & Training: Towards a Better Future
  15. 15. licensing to provide legal evidence – the licence – of minimum competence to practice a specialist activity, to warrant stakeholder trust in the practitionercertification to provide evidence – the certificate – of higher competence to practice a specialist activity, or subset thereof, to warrant stakeholder trust in the practitionerschool choice to identify the most desirable school for a child to attendinstitution monitoring to decide whether institutional performance – relating to individual teachers, classes or schools – is rising or falling in relation to expectations or targets; and, potentially, to allocate rewards or sanctions Quality Education & Training:15 Towards a Better Future
  16. 16. resource allocation to identify institutional needs and, consequently, to allocate resourcesorganizational intervention to identify institutional failure and, consequently, to justify interventionprogramme evaluation to evaluate the success of educational programmes or initiatives, nationally or locallysystem monitoring to decide whether system performance – relating to individual regions or the nation – is rising or falling in relation to expectations or targets; and, potentially, to allocate rewards or sanctionscomparability to guide decisions on comparability of examination standards for later assessments on the basis of cohort performance in earlier onesnational accounting to ‘quality adjust’ education output indicators Quality Education & Training: Towards a Better Future
  17. 17. Any questions? t.isaacs@ioe.ac.ukQuality Education & Training: Towards a Better Future

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