I wouldn’t have chosen Matthew McConaughey as Best Actor Oscar. And while I have the judge’s seat, I wouldn’t have chosen the Russian figure skater to win gold either. I could happily go on making decisions that disagree with those much more qualified to judge than I am, but my point is that even in the highest realms of society, where judgments matter most, there is disagreement and debate.
The same is true when judging education. Here are four controversial conversations in the recent news about the best way to assess education:
- The cover of the weekend’s Globe and Mail outlined the debate over the teaching of Math, and again, there is no clear winner in terms of approach. (Martha Perry, Head of St Clement’s, explores this debate in a more sophisticated manner in her blog here.)
- NAIS’ winter Independent School magazine focused on Assessing What We Value.
- The internationally recognized PISA, with 510,000 students from 65 economies, and TIMMS, a math and science test used in over 50 countries, are suffering from lack of credibility (Read more about standardized test controversy here.)
- The biggest news is that the SAT college entrance exam will not only undergo the biggest overhaul in over a decade, but it will partner with Khan Academy and offer free test preparation. In the new test, no points will be deducted for wrong answers which encourages students to take a risk. (See David Coleman’s announcement here. It is worth a listen, if only to understand the founding of the test to inform needs-based financial aid.)
I love this societal debate on the best way to educate a child. Those of us in the business understand that education is not something with a clear start and finish line, and the run in between is never one-directional.
Makes me proud of the work of CAIS at the moment. When the CAIS Board met this week, our agenda included presentations on National Trends and another on Online Learning, but it also included a generative conversation on the strategic tensions inherent in accrediting the strongest schools in Canada. (Members may contact the office for copies of these presentations.)
With a mission to promote continuous whole school improvement and a vision to shape the future of education, CAIS does not have a one size fits all approach as we respect the independence of our schools. But if I can be the judge for a moment, I’d say our schools are winning at meeting the mission and vision of CAIS.
p.s. Happy March break!