Saturday, May 4, 2013

We all decide the weighting of our standardized exams.

In Alberta, our Grade 12 diplomas are weighted at 50% and the teacher awarded mark is weighted at 50% mark...on a child's transcript.  Now I will make a case that, even though the government has decided this, it is truly up to each stakeholder in education who determines how much this weighting truly is.

First off, the teachers:

It is up to the individual teacher how much the diploma is weighted in your teaching, your assessment, and your daily dealings with the students.  I have seen anywhere from 0%-100%.

What does 100% look like?

Well, very simple.  This classroom teacher puts emphasis on the same outcomes, which are emphasized on the diploma.  This teacher will give only multiple choice exams, as this is the style the diploma is.  The questions used on these assessments are mainly previously used diploma questions, identical to released items from the government, and only questions that will assist the child write the diploma.  This classroom is designed around the "competitive" nature of education.

What does 0% look like?

Again, very simple.  This teacher puts emphasis on the outcomes which will assist them in the next level of the course, or in life.  (Of course, both teachers could have overlap on some outcomes).  The assessments are mainly performance based or written.  The questions asked are created in a way that students can be creative in the solving of the problem, and the answer does not need to be a specific number to be correct.  This classroom is designed around the "collaborative" approach to education.

Lastly, you could have a a hybrid of these approaches in the classroom.

Next, Post Secondaries:

What does 100% look like?

Well these simply ignore the assessment of the classroom teacher and simply use the diplomas as their entrance requirement.

What does 0% look like?

We look to, University of Saskatchewan, which ONLY looks at the teacher assessment if a students mark on the diploma is less than the teacher awarded mark.  (Good Job U of S!)

Third, we have Parents and outside School:

What does 100% look like? 

We have things like the Fraser Institute which ranks schools districts based on standardized tests.  The Fraser Institute ignores the make up of the classes, the teacher's assessment, and only judges the quality of education based on how well the students do on a standardized exam.

There are also people in the public, who hold teachers accountable by the marks the students get on a standardized exam.

What does 0% look like?

We look to Finland, who has exchanged the "accountability" with "responsibility".  There are parents who ignore the mark their children get on a diploma, and are more concerned with "How much does my child enjoy going to school?"

As you can see, it is up to the individual person to determine how much the diploma is worth.

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