In efforts to hold schools and educators accountable we have moved towards a standardized testing culture. They are easy to grade and allow students to be ranked and sorted neatly into ability groups. Where has this gotten us? As a country the United States has been viewed as a declining country for K-12 education system. Do we have a full engaged generation of learners? Hard to tell but I would argue YES we do, but they are learning what, where and how they desire.
My friend Ben Rimes shared this video yesterday:
It led us to have a discussion about: What if assessments looked this way? Ben’s personal reflection can be found on his blog. Watching this video, I see joyful passion as a individual attempts to make something meaningful to them. Our current assessment system has tons of rigor but lacks the joy and meaning to our students. Does Blanks’ task have rigor? For sure, but he is also driven to complete the task through his passion for music.
How this would look? I haven’t figured it all out yet, but in this day and age where many colleges are dropping standardized test scores as a requirement for admission, why should states require them K-12?
Employers want students who can make thing. Our assessment programs should be portfolios of work accumulated over time with feedback adjustments not numerical rankings from a few hours of testing. Students should find their passions in schools not dread test days. Gone should be the days where 50% of a student’s grade comes from cramming for a final. Time for students to walk out of HS with tangible passion projects that SHOW what they know!