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Social and cultural context in assessment – can one size fit all? © McLachlan, Edwards, Margrain & McLean 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Social and cultural context in assessment – can one size fit all? © McLachlan, Edwards, Margrain & McLean 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social and cultural context in assessment – can one size fit all? © McLachlan, Edwards, Margrain & McLean 2013

2 How beliefs about learning influence assessment Views about children's learning are informed by theoretical and philosophical perspectives and inherent in assessment practices Tools used for assessment are associated with theoretical and philosophical perspectives For example, checklists used to identify competencies provide information about ages and stages of development but do not necessarily take into consideration social and cultural contexts for learning

3 Sociocultural perspectives on learning and assessment Sociocultural perspective on learning acknowledges that children learn through their social interactions Hence, assessment practices should take into consideration social and cultural contexts where learning occurs For example, learning stories – narrative of children’s learning in social/cultural contexts

4 Multiple forms of assessment Belief Children learn in different ways at different rates Perspective Post developmental perspectives draw on multiple assessment methods to identify learning Examples: Checklists with areas for additional information Combination of diagnostic and observation assessment tools Teachers should aim for constructive alignment between beliefs and views about learning, teaching and learning strategies and assessment practices

5 (Adapted from Lim and Genishi 2010, pp ) Theory/philosophyView of children/childhoodSuggested methods Developmental (1960s) Children construct logical understandings of their world that are based on particular ages and stages of development Educational experiences and activities are offered to children so that they can actively explore and construct their own knowledge Sociocultural (1990s onwards) Children are part of social and cultural communities and contexts that define their developmental expectations and experiences Children and adults co-construct learning together by developing and exploring learning interests and a range of culturally relevant experiences Post- developmental (2000s onwards) Children are located in multiple contexts and experiences. There is no ‘one’ way to view and understand childhood and development. Education is orientated towards helping children understand and respect multiple worldviews and ways of being

6 Social and cultural contexts and authentic assessment Authentic assessment is sometimes described as capturing ‘real’ learning Allows for valid sampling Authentic assessment practices tend to value the uniqueness of each child whilst incorporating knowledge of the stages of development and competencies in relation to social and cultural environmental factors (Fiore 2012) Authentic assessment practices are considered to be more culturally and socially appropriate than conventional assessment practices

7 Authentic assessment practices Require: thoughtful planning, clear goals and expectations, and instructional activities that guide children’s performance and provide opportunities for improvement. (Fiore 2012, p. 98)

8 Assessing children’s learning across a range of contexts Digital technologies can provide a platform for authentic assessment How? Listening and observation of children’s playful experiences with digital technologies Foster connections between formal education and the world in which children live

9 Digital technologies – a collaborative approach Using digital technologies in ways that empower learners to learn together assessment practices can, in turn, provide agency to young learners and position them to take responsibility for learning Multiple sources of evidence can contribute to authenticity of assessment. For example, digital photographs, video, observations, reflections and comments from children about their learning

10 Digital technologies and transitions Through partnerships between feeder schools and early childhood settings communications to enable smooth transitions can be initiated using digital technologies. For example, s/Skype between children at each context

11 Key terms Documentation – record of assessment. It includes formal or diagnostic assessment such as running records, and informal assessment such as observations of children’s behaviours Preparatory – first year of formal schooling for children in Victoria, Australia Rubric – assessment tool that uses a rating scale and descriptors to assess learning Strength-based approaches – assessment approaches designed to identify and build on children’s existing strengths and funds of knowledge


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