Monday, 18 Dec 2017

The future of assessment is coming. Are you ready?

As students across Australia receive their end-of-year results, teachers are facing a new era in assessment. Are you ready?

The days of focusing solely on final results are numbered. Educators are fast realising that this approach to assessment reveals little about how much a student has actually learnt during the year.

Today, there’s an alternative approach that’s gaining ground in schools across Australia and the world. This approach uses assessments to track academic progress over time and paints a much clearer picture of student learning, according to Professor Geoff Masters, Chief Executive of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).  

By labelling students as either "good" or "poor" learners based on their overall grades at the end of each year, students have no clear idea whether they are making progress over extended periods of time,' Professor Masters says. 'Now, we are moving away from focusing on what grade a child will get at the end of a year, to assessing the progress that students make over time.'

However, this new era in student assessment isn’t something that teachers can simply run with; it requires an expert skill-set.

Teachers need the practical skills to use high-quality student assessments to identify where each student is starting from. They need the ability to analyse results and teach based on what students are ready to learn next. And rather than relying on end-of-term assessments, teachers need to monitor progress over time and adjust their teaching strategies along the way.

So, are you ready for the new era in student assessment?

Ask yourself the following questions.

Do you recognise the fundamental purpose of assessment?

Assessment has only one fundamental purpose: to establish and understand where individuals are in their long-term learning progress at the time of assessment. This means establishing what they know, understand and can do. “A good understanding of where students are in their learning provides starting points for teaching and a basis for monitoring learning progress over time,” explains Professor Masters.

Are you looking at the long-term picture?

To effectively monitor learning, teachers need to take a long-term perspective. After all, the progress that students make isn’t limited to a school term or year, but typically occurs incrementally over extended periods of time. Are you approaching student assessment with a long lens?

Do you engage students in their learning progress?

'One of the best ways to build students’ confidence as learners is to help them see the progress they are making over extended periods of time,' explains Professor Masters. By using assessments to provide timely feedback on their learning and progress, students not only know the next steps in their learning; they can also get involved in the process of setting goals and monitoring their own progress. How engaged are your students in their learning progress?

Do you understand the different types of assessment and when they should be used?

There are countless ways to measure learning progress. The real challenge for teachers is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each assessment method, and be able to judge which is appropriate for each learning situation.

How to become a leader in assessment

With schools changing the way they approach assessments, it’s critical for teachers to arm themselves with the skills they need to stay ahead of the curve and improve learning every day.

Wherever you are in your teaching career, become an expert in assessment with ACER’s Graduate Certificate of Education: Assessment of Student Learning. The 100% online part-time course draws on ACER’s world-leading research and assessment expertise to ignite new thinking about assessment and provide the practical techniques to make an immediate impact on students’ learning progress. Every single day of your course.

Are you ready to lead the way in student assessment? Apply now.

Applications close on 19 January for course starting 29 January 2018.