What’s the point?

To whom it may concern,

Last night, a feeling of utter frustration swept over me – my teenage daughter in final years of high school was going through the angst of preparing for an assessment. She is a diligent student, works hard and in the most part is studying subjects that interest her and align with her passion. She wants to learn but is tied down to playing a guessing game of “What’s going to be on the test?” – a painful and futile activity. Why do we still put students through this procedure when we know there are better assessment methods? What is the point of the angst?

I know, we have all been there and survived but I am finding it very difficult to defend (in fact I can’t) a system that uses such assessment procedures. I understand that our society seems to need to filter and sort our students in order to determine their future prospects, but there has to be a better way.

A message received afterwards “It wasn’t great, most of what I prepared wasn’t used, and what I needed I didn’t really know. …. It’s over now :)”. It would make me much happier to hear her say, “I really wanted to know about XYZ and I did and shared it with my class”

It really seems to me that it is all about surviving the system and not learning – well, certainly not learning to any great purpose.

The groundswell of thought seems to be with me, educational leaders are all saying that things need to change (see my previous post) , but unfortunately it won’t be in time for the dissatisfied teenager in my house or her mother.

Yours truly

Frustrated mother and educator

 

PS for anyone interested in a less personal rant about assessment options and possibilities, the following may interest you:

The Innovative Educator – 9 ways to assess without standardised testing

WhatEdSaid – 10 ways to assess learning without tests

Assessment without High-Stakes Testing: Protecting Childhood and the Purpose of School

 

 

2 Responses

  1. Donna Gronn says:

    That is exactly how I felt at the same time last year Celia.
    I have never felt so much relief as the day my last child left the system. We do so much in the formative years of schooling to develop thinkers who have a love of learning only to have them struggle emotionally with the testing regime that is VCE. For those children who care about their results because they ‘need’ a score to get them into university the stress is very high. For their parents watching them going through this stress it is, I think, sometimes worse.
    All I can say is I feel your pain and there is an end in sight.
    Look after your daughter and yourself, make time for the positives!
    Now, not so frustrated mother and educator

  2. Celia Coffa says:

    Thanks Donna,
    I admit to being a bit sad (but agreeing) re your feelings about ‘the system’. How sad is it that we rejoice when our children are out of it. It shouldn’t be like this. As you say the earlier years are about developing a positive attitude to learning and encouraging skills but then we stream then through this regime that sucks so much pleasure out of it.
    Thanks for your support
    Celia

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