09 SES 11 C, Methodological Issues in Tests and Assessments
Significant changes in society require learners to have a wide, adaptive knowledge base and understanding to enable them to be active participants in the communities in which they live and work. The premium in today's world is not merely on students’ acquiring information, but on their ability to analyse, synthesise, and apply what they have learned to address new problems, design solutions, collaborate effectively, and communicate persuasively (Pellegrino, 2014). Recent education reforms aspire to embed key competences in teaching and learning through rich learning outcomes. What is less clear is how existing assessment methods can properly evaluate skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, communication and collaboration.
No single assessment can evaluate all kinds of learning, rather, a coordinated system of assessment is needed that incorporates the assessment of higher order skills, includes real world skills of collaboration and communication, and engages students in instructionally valuable activities (Darling-Hammond et al., 2013). They argue that students need to engage in tasks that measure these complex skills and not evaluate a proxy for these skills. If assessment is about the process of identifying, gathering and interpreting information about student learning, it is necessary to consider what is assessed, how the assessment takes place and the purpose of the assessment (Gee and Shaffer, 2010).
Jenkins et al. (2006), acknowledge the digital and participatory worlds that young people need to negotiate. However, student engagement within these worlds is often blurred by the notion of the student as a ‘digital native’ and by technical and technological approaches in schools that replicate traditional methods of assessment and instruction as opposed to embracing new ones (Claxton, 2007). In this traditional format, assessment tends to be associated with institutions and sanctioned assessors, whereas Gee (2010) argues that it has a natural home in human action and learning. This human action now includes interaction with technology and in his thoughts on Actor Network Theory, Latour (2005), places objects and non-human entities on an equal footing, and states that technology and social practices are inextricably linked. Lakhana (2014) agrees with this notion that we cannot separate technology from its social relations, as people are co-constructors of knowledge. The increasing influence of digital worlds means that young people are seen to be taking on new participatory and collaborative roles in learning online and outside the classroom, and there is a growing interest in incorporating these roles and practices inside education.
This notion of the social and collaborative context of assessment is explored currently through the Collaborative Assessment Alliance project (http://www.caa21.org/), where students are assessed on their ability to collaborate on social and cognitive domains through the medium of online synchronous collaborative tasks. The concept behind the Collaborative Assessment Alliance is to extend the research and outcomes of the ATC21S project, particularly in the area of design, creation and deployment of locally relevant collaborative assessment tasks. The ATC21S project investigated methods whereby large-scale assessment of collaborative problem solving could be undertaken and technology used to collect and interpret the data using learning progressions (Griffin et al, 2012). The CAA initiative aligns strongly with the European DIGCOMP framework for developing and understanding digital competence (Ferrari, 2013). This framework identifies and details the key components of digital competences, develops descriptors at three proficiency levels and proposes a road map for their implementation. Ireland, through the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) is one of the partners in this international alliance alongside Sweden and Australia. This paper will explore the work of the Alliance so far, with a focus on the research in Irish schools.
Amiel, T., & Reeves, T. C. (2008). Design-Based Research and Educational Technology: Rethinking Technology and the Research Agenda. Educational Technology & Society, 11 (4), 29–40. Claxton, G. (2007) 'Expanding young people's capacity to learn'. British Journal of Educational Studies, 55 (2), pp. 115-134. Crook, C. (2011). Versions of computer supported collaborating in higher education. In Ludvigsen, S., Lund, A., Rasmussen, I. and Saljo, R. Learning Across Sites: New Tools, infrastructures and practices. New York, Taylor and Francis. Darling-Hammond, L., Herman, J., Pellegrino, J., (2013). Criteria for high-quality assessment. Stanford, CA: Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. Daugherty, R. et al. (2012). Alternative Perspectives on Learning Outcomes: Challenges for Assessment. In Gardner, J. (Ed), Assessment and Learning. London, Sage. Ferrari, A. (2013). DIGCOMP: A Framework for Developing and Understanding Digital Competence in Europe. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. Gee (2010). Human Action and Social Groups as the natural home of assessment: Thoughts on 21st Century Learning and Assessment. In Shute, V. and Becker, B. (Eds.) Innovative Assessment for the 21st Century. (pp. 13 – 39). Springer, New York. Gee, J.P. and Shaffer, D.W. (2010). Looking where the light is bad: Video games and the future of assessment. Edge: The Latest Information for the educatino practitioner, 6(1) pp. 3 – 19. Griffin, P., Care, E. and McGaw, B. (2012). The Changing Role of Education and Schools. In Griffin, P., Care, E., and McGaw, B. (eds.). Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills. New York, Springer. Harlen, W. (2010). Principles and big ideas of science education. Ashford Colour Press Ltd., Gosport, Hants. Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A.J. and Weigel, M. (2006) Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. Available from: http://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF Lakhana, A. (2014). What is Educational Technology? An Inquiry into the Meaning, use and Reciprocity of Technology. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology. 40 (3) Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the Social. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pecheone, R., Kahl, S., Hamma, J., Jaquith, A. (2010). Through a Looking Glass: Lessons Learned and Future Directions for Performance Assessment. Stanford, CA: Stanford University. Pellegrino, J. W. (2014). Assessment as a positive influence on 21st century teaching and learning: A systems approach to progress. Keynote address in Proceedings of the 2014 Conference of the International Association for Educational Assessment, Singapore
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