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