dimanche 29 janvier 2012

Assessment practices? Who needs them?

As much as we like to get a good laugh out of some of the wildly ridiculous skits on the behaviours of teachers, we must wonder if we can see ourselves, even a bit, in the jokes we make about them. I laughed out loud at the  shortcuts made by the "brilliant" teacher in the attached video, but the very sad truth of it is that I have known a teacher who graded in the exact same way. I am often appalled by some of the assessment practices used by teachers despite our knowledge of the most recent research.

I am not advocating a Big Brother system here, but we are not held accountable for our methods nor do we need to justify our current practices. The school I teach in is rural and very community oriented. I have the trust of the students, the parents and my colleagues. I am confident in my assessment practices (although I am continually searching to improve them) but I could easily hand out marks unquestioned. I also wonder how common this is? Who would know?

What is crucial here, beyond teaching and assessment practices, is the breakdown of professional integrity. We have an obligation, if we are to call ourselves educators, to guide students through their education and to invite them to be equal partners in the acquisition of their lifelong learning skills. Neglecting this objective is equivalent to sabotaging their futures.

I know that this sounds extreme, but we have seen a breakdown of the moral and ethical fiber of society over the past several generations, where Family Guy becomes the model dad and "good enough" becomes the norm. I am not ready to let go of the ethics my parents have instilled in me. I am a believer and if I abandon them, what chance will my students have?

I repose the question: Assessment practices? Who needs them? If I need to answer that, then I hope you are not a teacher.

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