In response to the introduction of NAPLAN testing in Australia, Wilson and Hornsby (2014) wrote about a shrinking curriculum and increasing pressure on educators to teach to the test. My experience as a secondary school teacher over the past 9 years has reflected their concerns and I have not been immune from presenting students with a past HSC paper or two to complete. The problem with a narrow curriculum and teaching to the test; Wilson and Hornsby contend, is that it actually serves to reduce overall standards, fosters a climate of competition rather than collaboration and disregards the effectiveness of teaching to student interests and learning needs (pp 41-42).
In one of my Professional Learning hubs this month we had a discussion about Formative Assessment. The discussion generally centred around the amount of work involved in establishing tasks and recording and analysing student data. This makes the most sense when you view formative assessment as an event, rather than a process. However, Formative Assessment doesn’t need to be a formalised task or activity where every student’s response is marked, recorded and analysed, instead, it can look more like a conversation where attention to student responses and ideas is used to recognise opportunities for future learning and direction. Continue reading “How Formative is Assessment for Learning.”