A couple of weeks ago, I was watching a dad teach his son how to ride a bike. The son had a helmet on, elbow pads, and training wheels on the bike. As the dad put his son on the bike, he walked behind his son as the son rode the bike in circles in the parking lot.
Just recently, I witnessed the same father and son in the school’s parking lot and this time the training wheels were off. The dad continued to walk behind the son and the son completed the same circles. At one point the son fell over and the dad quickly picked him up and put him back on the bike immediately. After about 10 minutes, where the son did not fall once, the dad stopped walking behind the child and the child started to do more complex paths on his bike.
This is how assessment should be!
It would be ridiculous to mandate that all fathers must spend exactly 10 minutes of time with their child until they stop walking behind them; as each child will require a different amount of time to learn the skill.
It would be ludicrous to allow a son to write a multiple choice test where, if he scored over 50% (even though he wrote it is ok to play in traffic on a bicycle), the father would let him ride alone as the son “passed the test”, since the son doesn’t understand all the safety issues of riding a bike.
It would be unfortunate if all fathers were required to purchase the same bicycle since not every child is the same height, or has the lower body lengths.
Yet all of these ideas are allowed in schools, why is that?
I wonder what school would look like if instead of holding teachers accountable with mandated common assessment we instead allowed teachers to teach students “how to ride a bike”?
I believe, students would learn the skills at a deeper level before moving on, they could learn at their own pace, and each “test” would be different for each student.
Still not convinced? Reflect on this picture as it represents the traditional testing model of students.