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The Assessment Obsession - Whatever Happened to Teaching?

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Presentation given at the VET Development CentreTeaching and Learning Conference (Torquay, September, 2014)

Published in: Education
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The Assessment Obsession - Whatever Happened to Teaching?

  1. 1. THE ASSESSMENT OBSESSION – WHATEVER HAPPENED TO TEACHING? Michael Coghlan NewLearning 5/9/14
  2. 2. ASSESSMENT ↔ OVER-REGULATION Creative Commons image https://www.flickr.com/photos/intrepidflame/8431952864/sizes/n/
  3. 3. 2003: I KNEW WE WERE IN TROUBLE • “Can’t come to the PD session today Michael. Sorry – we’re being audited next week.”
  4. 4. CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD TEACHER?
  5. 5. WHAT MAKES A GOOD TEACHER? Care Knows their subject patience understanding empathy Good listener Able to motivate flexible fair punctual reliable Good communication skills Sense of humour
  6. 6. EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS FOR TEACHERS/TRAINERS
  7. 7. TEACHING AND LEARNING OUTCOMES (circa 2000)
  8. 8. Cert IV TRAINING And Assessment Units of Competence
  9. 9. Cert IV TRAINING And Assessment Outcomes – 2014
  10. 10. HOW WE’VE CHANGED: • The focus of VET has shifted from LEARNING to ASSESSMENT.
  11. 11. Victor Callan (The University of Queensland) Berwyn Clayton (Victoria University) http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/files/Eassessment_AQTF_final.pdf
  12. 12. TIME SPENT ON ASSESSENT – the last 5 years -
  13. 13. TEACHER COMMENTS: • wasting a huge amount of time on bureaucracy to meet auditors needs rather than on delivery of outcomes to students • the Audit /ASQA requirements for VET and Tafe training has increased the time needed prepare and assess in training • a lot of the time is spent on the quality requirements now e.g. filing assessments, tracking training plans etc • marking, documenting, recording, student information systems, fulfilling auditable requirements takes the largest proportion of our time • Very little time available for research, and development of materials past what is already available due to the increased demands time for assessment ... Too much time spent doing tasks that should be done by administrative staff.... Quality system also demands multiple records of many outcomes and this takes significant time also • Administration and compliance requirements, especially in relation to assessment, have significantly reduced the time available for quality lesson planning and resource development
  14. 14. What an assessor in the Australian VET sector needs to show! • Provide evidence to support your decision to approve student X competent in unit of competence Y on day Z last semester • extreme cases: need to report on every student on every unit of competence for every day
  15. 15. WHY HAS THIS HAPPENED? because a couple of kids mucked around in class
  16. 16. • Sugata Mitra: "the stupidity and short-sighted self-interest of politicians combined with the laziness and cowardice of many who work in education is a powerful and deadly brake upon change." (Sugata Mitra)
  17. 17. WHERE DID THE ASSESSMENT OBSESSION COME FROM? • RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) – you could be assessed without doing the course - GOOD • National standards > regulator > auditing to ensure consistent outcomes - GOOD • The whole class must stay in at lunchtime (or we all suffer for the sins of a few); weeding out the bad guys (Dodgy Brothers RTOs; lazy, entrenched, permanent TAFE employees) – NEEDED BUT WENT TOO FAR • RESULT: Risk aversion ↔ culture of compliance – JUST REALLY SAD • New funding models are outcome focused – THE LAST STRAW
  18. 18. STEMMING THE TIDE Two questions: 1. Will this improve my teaching? 2. Will it reduce the amount of time I have to prepare lessons? Greg Whitby
  19. 19. THE PROBLEM: "The dominant culture of education has come to focus not on teaching and learning, but testing...this...leads to a culture of compliance rather than creativity.“ http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_how_to_escape_education_s_death_valley.html
  20. 20. Skills of the VET Teacher/Trainer Many practitioners not sure what is acceptable to auditors – results in a culture of meek compliance > unwillingness to innovate
  21. 21. In Addition.....  • Auditor’s comment: “I suggest you steer away from collaborative assessment.” (2013)
  22. 22. The Australian (23/7/14)
  23. 23. Gunningham: Gunningham said the reforms were being driven by Treasury and were “all about reducing costs … Is it really that good to be bottom of the barrel on costs? At the end of the day, quality costs money.” “Many of my counterparts feel quite inhibited saying things because we’re public servants. You’ve got to pay the mortgage and all that kind of stuff. I’m past that.”
  24. 24. OTHER ISSUES • No time for PD – audits and new TPs - unless it’s about compliance and regulation • The history of public VET (TAFE) v private VET • Deskilling/dumbing down of the workforce • Intellectually bereft • Ann Dening: "across the VET system as a whole there has been little focus on pedagogy, and particularly on VET pedagogy." http://www.lhmartininstitute.edu.au/insights-blog/2014/06/183-workforce-development- in-the-vet-sector
  25. 25. KWALITY WITH A ‘K’ Under the guise of Kwality I saw: • an increasing lack of trust in dedicated professionals • a growing obsession with assessment and auditing • the amount of time people had to prepare for teaching drastically reduced • the amount of time needed for assessment and reporting drastically increase • a noticeable drop-off in attendance at PD sessions (because staff had no time for such things) • all in the name of ‘kwality’!
  26. 26. KWALITY IS ABOUT SYSTEMS QUALITY IS ABOUT PEOPLE
  27. 27. No strings attached funding
  28. 28. END OF TODAY’S SESSION Unless otherwise stated all images used in this presentation are Creative Commons images by mikecogh - http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/ Slides available from http://www.slideshare.net/michaelc/ Michael Coghlan NewLearning michaelc@chariot.net.au

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