Promoting right education than academic competition
Competition is good but a suggestion of refocusing our concept and understanding of what assessment is and its importance to education is now my question.
One lesson learned from the Covid-19 pandemic experience in relation to educational assessment is the possibility of deviating from the traditional periodical written examinations and other forms of pencil and paper assessment, replacing it with alternative means. At first, various reactions arose on how examinations will be conducted with the blended instructional delivery model amidst health restrictions.
Some of the questions raised were: How reliable will the results of the test be? What is the assurance that the learners will really be the one to answer the test whether written or online? Will it not be unfair for those who will take their test honestly? What happens to the ranking and selection of honor students?
The above reactions revealed the prevailing mindset that examinations are more for competitions or comparisons rather than a measure of acquired competencies or an assessment of learning outcomes. This general perspective is affirmed by our common responses. When results of examinations are received or released the first thing we want to know is who got the highest score or who topped the test, and who has the lowest score? But we seldom ask why only 10 out of 30 passed the test or why 48 out of 50 were able to submit their performance task within the given time.
According to a research by T. Heick, “The benefit of assessments for learning isn’t merely a more clear picture of understanding; used properly, it can also inform the rest of the learning process, from curriculum mapping (what do we learn when?) to instruction (how will it be learned?) to assessment design (how should future learning ideally be measured?).”
As an educator, I am guilty of repeating erroneous practices I had experienced or observed my teachers had been doing when I was a student. This includes announcing the result of a quiz or a test from highest to lowest scores or vice versa in the class coupled with appreciation for those who got high scores and reprimand for those who got low. The worst is letting those who got below 50 percent score stay after class not for intervention but letting them clean the room as a punishment. What a crime.
When I was a student, my motivation in studying my lessons is to obtain a high grade or at least 75. Also, to receive an award or evade possible punishment or consequences of getting low scores in a quiz or examination, which prompted me to cheat sometimes. It was only when I took my graduate courses at older age when score or grade is not a big deal for me. I need not to cheat and compete anymore.
Moreover, as a parent despite being a teacher by profession and vocation, I openly admit my lapses in providing guidance to my children. I pressure them to study harder to earn a good score in the tests, have good grades and receive honors during the recognition day. We have that old concept that a child to have a low grade is shameful especially if the parent/s is/are professional/s.
What is the meaning of a score of five over 10 (5/10) or 49 over 50 (49/50) in a quiz or a test? How do we interpret the grades of 70, 80, or 95 and what is the significance implication of graduating as valedictorian or having a pasang-awa average grade of 75? How do we explain a student who graduated in fourth year high school with an average grade of 74.50 rounded to 75 who is now managing 10 units’ taxi of his own after finishing a vocational course?
As part of reformation, the Department of Education issued Department Order 08, s. 2015, or the Policy Guidelines on Classroom Assessment for the K to 12 Basic Education Program. The policy shows classroom assessment as an ongoing process of identifying, gathering, organizing, and interpreting quantitative and qualitative information about what learners know and can do. It is important for teachers to always inform learners about the objectives of the lesson so that the latter will aim to meet or even exceed the standards.
I enjoin my fellow parents not to be bothered so much by the scores of our children in a quiz, written test, and other forms of assessment because of fear that they might fail or will not receive an award or honor. Results of written tests or examinations are no longer for comparisons nor competitions but mainly for assessment for/of learning for necessary adjustments or interventions.
I appeal to my fellow teachers not to replicate my failures. These include using quiz or test as guise for my unprepared lessons, publicizing test results, double jeopardizing learners who got low scores, using examinations to facilitate payments of fees or settlement of obligations, and using test results for comparison or competition but conduct appropriate assessment mainly for instructional planning and decision. (CLEMENTE BANDAO)