As I continue working on my philosophy of education and taking a critical look at the “I believe” statements I created, today I need to look at one that has been on my nerves lately as I compare evaluation methods between education classes and a non-education elective.
I believe in holistic and natural assessment and evaluation.
I really do… I think that this is a crucial part of my philosophy, so I am going to go ahead and dive into this one. I have been lucky enough to have many professors in the faculty of education who understand this, and do a great job of modeling authentic assessment through project work with a focus on the process not the product. I don’t believe in traditional testing methods, they benefit students who do school well, who have the ability to memorize facts, they create a stressful and uncomfortable environment. I don’t think exams show what you know, they only show how good you are at writing a test. There are a few students who this benefit from this, but largely this is not true.
I recently watched a TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson called Bring on the learning revolution! He speaks to the idea that schools are built on an industrial model, a linear system thats goal is to get students into collage. I think traditional testing as a direct reflection of this model, the problem as Sir Ken Robinson says is that “life is not linear, its organic.” He suggested that in order to partake in this learning revolution, we need to move away from the industrial model towards an agricultural model where we provide students with the personalized conditions they need to flourish. For me, this means we need to engage our students in the process of learning.
I consider myself a very passionate person, I love what I do and if you spend much time around me you will learn that I also love to talk about education. So, I was not surprised when my Mom called me in January to tell me about my little brother, Ryley, challenging his teacher. As Ryley was sitting in his Gr. 10 classroom reviewing for his upcoming final exam he raised his hand. Ryley proceed to tell his teacher and class that final exams were not an authentic way to show what they know, only to show how well they can write tests. His teachers repose was simple…”Did you hear that from your sister? All those young graduates are being taught that.” I think thats good news… maybe we are about to see that learning revolution come to life through these young graduates.
I usually welcome various opinions in my blog to allow myself to critically think about my philosophy, but I am not sure that I am willing to change my mind on this one. What do you think? Personally I have never given students a “test” I use tools such as project work, anecdotal records, and rubrics to generate grades. Am I hurting students in some way by not giving tests? Or, is this the beginning of the learning revolution?