Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Effecting the change of Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills

In my thoughts about what's required for effective 21st teaching and learning I realised that the key to changing teaching pedagogy, policy and practice is 'assessment'.

This realisation came after speaking with some young Year 12 teachers at a national event, who stated that they couldn't introduce anything extra into their teaching program as they had to make sure they covered what was going to be in the 'end of year' exam.

A light bulb went on.

I know as teachers we don't want to 'teach to the exam/test' but the actual reality is that we all want our students to be successful, so making sure they are competent and confident to tackle the final summative assessment becomes paramount over innovative teaching and learning.

This realisation attracted me to be a participant of an international project called "Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills" (ATC21S).

This project, sponsored by Cisco Systems Inc, Intel Corporation and Microsoft Corp, and in Australia managed by the University of Melbourne, states:

“What is learned, how it is taught and how schools are organized must be transformed to respond to the social and economic needs of students and society as we face the challenges of the 21st century”

This project has recently published their Working Group's 'White Papers' about the project's progress.

The ATC21S project recognises that:

"Assessment plays a critical role in setting standards and influencing curricula at the local, regional, national and global level, so it is expected that these new assessments will motivate schools to do more to instill 21st-century skills."

Some key points I found interesting and progressive were:

- Finding new ways to measure, monitor and assess how people process information - "Evaluating not just students’ answers, but how fast they arrived at them and the processes they used — what the working group called making the students’ thinking visible" - GROUP 3 : Working Group on Technological Issues

- Determining how people collaborate to generate ideas/outputs to create change/improvement - "Collaborative knowledge building — how individuals work together to understand new material — as a key feature of modern workplaces and an important 21st-century skill. It noted that assessments in the future need to look not only at individual performance, but also at group performance." - GROUP 4 : Working Group on Classroom Environments and Formative Evaluation

Have you seen or been involved in any interesting/innovative projects to influence "Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills"?

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