It's time to place fo­cus on learn­ing in­stead of re­sults

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - with greg whit­byy @greg­whitby

WHEN it comes to stu­dent per­for­mance, we in­vest too much time com­par­ing our schools to high-per­form­ing ed­u­ca­tion sys­tems and not enough time fo­cus­ing on what makes the dif­fer­ence to stu­dent per­for­mance – the learn­ing.

Mel­bourne Uni­ver­sity Pro­fes­sor of Ed­u­ca­tion John Hat­tie says when it comes to school­ing, we are fix­ated on stan­dards and re­sults, par­tic­u­larly those as­so­ci­ated with NAPLAN, HSC and in­ter­na­tional tests.

What we miss and what counts is stu­dent per­for­mance.

As is of­ten the case, test re­sults be­come the yard­stick of stu­dent and school per­for­mance. It not only ends up nar­row­ing our view of school­ing but our un­der- stand­ing of learn­ing and achieve­ment.

It is time to look at as­sess­ing stu­dents through a con­tin­ual process of col­lect­ing and eval­u­at­ing the ev­i­dence of where each stu­dent is at, where they need to go and how best to get there.

In­stead of judg­ing stu­dent per­for­mance on the re­sults from one par­tic­u­lar day, or one spe­cific test, we are able to track stu­dent per­for­mance over time and clearly see whether there is im­prove­ment or not.

I of­ten use the anal­ogy of gym­nas­tics or div­ing in the Olympic Games, where com­peti­tors’ per­for­mance is as­sessed on a range of in­di­ca­tors.

Some of these re­late to tech­ni­cal skills, but this is also bal­anced by their over- all per­for­mance, artis­tic ex­pres­sion and in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

This is what is needed in every school be­cause, at the mo­ment, suc­cess looks dif­fer­ent de­pend­ing on whether you are the teacher, a par­ent or politi­cian.

Gov­ern­ments tend to limit suc­cess to how well our stu­dents rank in­ter­na­tion­ally, and par­ents tend to see suc­cess as ei­ther gain­ing an out­stand­ing ATAR re­sult or how happy their child is at school.

We need to aim some­where in the mid­dle.

Just as we can com­pare Usain Bolt’s Olympic per­for­mance across three Olympics, wouldn’t it be great if we could track stu­dent per­for­mance not only across their school years but into their post-school lives.

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