On November 7th, the Chief Superintendent’s Senior Student Advisory Council met with our Deputy Chief Superintendent of Schools, Susan Church to discuss the recent Alberta School Board Association considerations around High School Diploma Exam weighting (30% versus 50%).
Many students spoke about the issues of test anxiety and the pressures associated with one assessment being worth a significant portion of their overall grade. However, as the conversation continued the topic shifted from percentages and exams to the opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning. One student commented, “I know the material that I have learned over the past three months, is a 2 – 3 hour test really the best way for me to show my knowledge of the content?” Another student said, “we need personalized opportunities to demonstrate our knowledge of the curriculum, and perhaps we need to re-evaluate the way in which we take the exam. If I know the outcome from the curriculum, but I happen to get it wrong on one exam, does that mean I do not know it?”
While these quotes are only a snippet of the conversation, what I learned from this is that as teachers we need to incorporate and encourage more student voice in our assessment of student learning. Rick Stiggins states “high-quality assessment encourages further learning, low-quality assessment hinders learning” and “even the most valid and reliable assessment cannot be regarded as high quality if it causes a student to give up”. If our students are not a part of their assessment processes and see their assessments as a hinder, perhaps we need to re-evaluate our methods…
Debbie Bradbury (@deborahvbr) is a system Learning Leader in the department of Learning Innovation. She is passionate about student voice in all facets of education.