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NEW POLICIES AND INITIATIVES IN ASSESSMENT IN SCHOOLS Presentation to JTA Conference Ritz Carlton Hotel April 4, 2013
Introduction A paradigm shift from assessment of learning to assessment for learning has been taking place in recent years. The shift is attributable to work place demands for new knowledge and abilities in recruits. In the global economy of the 21 st century, students need to understand the basics, but also to exhibit a range of competencies and skills Helping students develop these skills requires changes in assessment at the school and classroom level New approaches to large-scale, high-stakes assessment are also required to guide policy decisions
Introduction Cognisant of this paradigm shift internationally, the Mo. E has been reviewing and revising approaches to assessment at the national level. The work being undertaken to revise the national standard curriculum of Jamaica, Grades 1 -9, will also impact assessment at the national level given our commitment to a programme of curriculum-based assessments. At the school level, changes to the national curriculum will increase the focus on assessment for learning, and require greater use of assessment data to modify curriculum based on demonstrated learning needs.
The New National Standard Curriculum The National Standard Curricula for Grades 1 -9 is currently being revised to: • ensure a clear progression and articulation from one grade to the next • more clearly define grade expectations • remove unnecessary and repetitive content • ensure students are well-prepared to master the CSEC programme • create a greater focus on concepts, skills and competences to balance the current over-emphasis on acquisition of content knowledge • ensure that young people are well prepared for the challenges and opportunities they will meet as adults in this century of rapid technological and social change
Philosophical Underpinning The revised curriculum • adopts a constructivist approach • places greater emphasis on generic skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving and independent learning than the existing curriculum • ensures that all subjects are appropriately sequenced, with clear progression from Grades 1 to 9, to provide adequate scaffolding and preparation for the CSEC syllabi at Grades 10 and 11.
Philosophical Underpinning • provides clear statements of standards or grade expectations for each subject to ensure that all education stakeholders are clear about the expected level of competence of each student in each subject and grade. • Ensures that a strong focus on Literacy and Numeracy is woven into the Language Arts and Mathematics curriculum respectively, and where possible in other subjects as well.
New Policies and Initiatives
Improvements in Data Management • To be facilitated by - the full implementation of the National Student Registration System - Implementation of a School Management System - Collaboration with e-Learning Jamaica on a Primary School ICT Project
Assessment in Schools Given the shift in focus of the new curriculum, Continuous Assessment will be adopted so as to ensure that instruction is modified as students are learning. This will reduce the practice of whole scale ‘re-teaching’ of an entire lesson and achieve greater efficiency and accountability for student learning
Diagnostic Testing • Grades 2 and 9 Diagnostic Tests • The philosophical approach taken to assessment at Grades 2 and 9 is diagnostic testing which will enable educators and other stakeholders to determine where students are in terms of their attainment and will provide teachers with enough knowledge to plan programmes of study that will assist all students to meet the grade expectation.
Diagnostic Testing The new test will be developed to guarantee production of highly reliable and valid diagnostic testing instruments, based on an “Evidence Centred Design” (ECD) approach (Mislevy 2003) which constructs educational assessments in terms of evidentiary arguments.
Diagnostic Testing • The test design will enable diagnosis of “Higher Order Thinking Skills” (HOTS) relating to a “Depth of Knowledge” approach (Webb 2005) that gives a more effective insight into students present learning and future needs. • This is similar to the approach used by the “Programme for International Student Assessment” (PISA) (OECD 2003) and focuses on students’ ability to apply their knowledge in a range of situations. This fits well with the approach of the revised curriculum.
Grade 2 Diagnostic Test • Will include assessment of attainment in the affective domain, in addition to Language Arts and Mathematics • Will assist in early identification of students with special needs • Will support the implementation of the Proficiency Pathway • Shifting the test from Grade Three to Grade Two will allow for a longer period of preparation to impact mastery on the Grade Four Literacy and Numeracy Tests. • The blueprint for this assessment is approximately 80% completed.
The Grade 9 Diagnostic Test • Will identify those students needing more support, especially in literacy and numeracy and ICT literacy, as they enter CSEC programmes. • It will also serve as an endorsement that those not needing this support will have reached a minimum requirement of functional literacy and numeracy (Verhoeven 1994). • This will be recognized in the school leaving certificate. • Those not reaching this minimum level by the end of Grade 9 will receive extra support so that they can have reached it by the end of Grade 11. •
The Grade 9 Diagnostic Test • Will replace existing tests at Grade 9 • All grade 9 students will be required to sit the test as it will be used to monitor performance across the system • Will identify those students needing more support to master the CSEC syllabi • Will provide the academic base for the NSLC
Secondary Transition Mechanism (GSAT) • It is proposed that the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) should be a test of attainment within the curriculum as at present, but that this should be supplemented by an element of teacher assessment. • It will focus less on memorisation and more on higher order thinking skills (HOTS) within a ‘Depth of Knowledge’ approach that is a key element of the new curriculum. • It will not include content from the Grades 4 & 5 curricula, because the knowledge being tested progressively deepens and needs to be tested at its latest stage
Secondary Transition Mechanism (GSAT) • The assessment will be referenced against the attainment targets within the curriculum • Will be administered in May, annually, at a later stage of the Grade six programme
Primary Exit Profile Ability Test Teacher H O T Test Assessment
Primary Exit Profile Ability Test Standardised Test Verbal Quantitative H O T A T Test
Primary Exit Profile HOT Test Ability Test Achievement Curriculum Based T A
Primary Exit Profile TA Ability HOT Test School Based • Book Review • Project Community Service
Advantage of the PEP • It will be less possible or necessary to revise for the test because it will be one of understanding rather than recall • Students will not need to attempt to memorise content from Grades 4 & 5 • The teacher assessment will be able to assess areas of development that tests do not easily reach, and will be able to take account of the students’ achievement over a broad spectrum.
Advantage of the PEP • Will provide a fuller picture of a student’s attainment at the end of Grade 6. • A more equitable measure of assessment as it will also test ability, thereby reducing socio-economic bias and the effect of poor teaching • Will reduce the pressure on students at the time of the test • Will be less necessary to revise specifically for the test because it will be one of acquired understanding rather than recall
Placement Mechanism • The scores for three components of the PEP can be aggregated in any desired proportion/weighting to produce an overall score than can be used in placement – Index for Secondary Admission (ISA). • Teacher Assessment to be included in the ISA in proportion with growth of reliability and robustness of schools’ competence in using this element
Index for Secondary Admission • Select applicants using academic and TA scales. ISA Ability Test HOT Test TA
Placing Students in Secondary Schools • A model of “Partial Zoning” is recommended for secondary school placement. • Students have 5 Preferences • 2 Free Flow • 3 Cluster Schools • Free Flow Preference • Students can select two (2) schools from anywhere in the Island
Placing Students in Secondary Schools • Zone/Cluster Preference • Student select three schools from assigned Cluster • A Zone/Cluster is: • Defined by the Ministry of Education • Based on the Proximity of the Primary School to the Secondary Schools • Considers Transportation (assumes if the student can attend the primary school can also attend the secondary schools in close proximity
Preference Selection Structure 1 First High School 2 Maybe High School 3 Cluster X – School 1 4 Cluster X – School 2 5 Cluster X – School 3 Free Flow Preferences Cluster Preferences
Paradigm Shifts The old selection system The proposed selection system Uniformity Embracing diversity Talk equity Deliver equity
National School Leavers Certificate (NSLC) • will be awarded to all students at the end of G 11 • designed to provide a record of achievement across the whole range of the curriculum and in the personal and social domains • the national Grade 9 Diagnostic Test will certify proficiency in communication, numeracy and ICT. • will record academic and technical/vocational achievements • personal and social development and contribution to the community (promoted by school programmes) will be assessed through a negotiated personal statement against a common rubric
National School Leaving Certificate Academic CSEC qualifications Proficiency qualifications (G 9+) Vocational CXC vocational qualifications NVQ qualifications Other vocational qualifications School Programmes A negotiated statement from a common rubric
Expected Impact of New Policies and Initiatives • Improved student learning • Greater accountability for student performance • Improved quality of data to guide decision making at school and national levels • Greater equity in the placement at Grade Seven • Improved levels of readiness of students for the next grade or level • Development of a culture of assessment in which strategic decisions and teaching/learning interventions are based on evidence gathered from a variety of data sources.
Summary • The Ministry of Education is re-examining current approaches to and practices in student assessment at both the classroom and national levels. • The Ministry will more actively promote and support continuous assessment at the classroom level to facilitate a shift from the assessment of learning to assessment for learning • National assessments at Grades 2, 4, 6 and 9 are being reviewed to strengthen the basis for decision making, resource allocation, and strategic planning. • The new policies and initiatives will fully embed assessment for learning as a classroom standard, emphasise the assessment of competences and skills, increase confidence in the use of national assessment data for decision-making, provide and encourage continuous professional development in the area of assessment, enhance the capacity of the system to use assessment data to improve learning, and incorporate the use of technology to support and enhance assessment.