The OECD has published ‘Synergies for Better Learning’ An International Perspective on Evaluation and Assessment which highlights the increased demand for effectiveness, equity and quality in education to meet economic and social challenges. This interesting and thought provoking publication, which you can read on line for free, also recognises that there is a growing trend towards greater school autonomy, which requires systems to monitor how schools are doing.
Whether we like it or not educational systems are placing a stronger emphasis on measuring outcomes and performance allowing comparisons over time between classrooms, schools and systems. The results are being used to identify where teachers and schools are performing well and where they need to improve. The policy priorities according to OECD must be:
- Ensuring that evaluation and assessment serve and advance educational goals and student learning.
- Taking a holistic approach to assessment and evaluation.
- Focusing on improving classroom practices and student learning.
- Minimising the unwanted effects of accountability, evaluation and assessment by taking a broader range of approaches to evaluate and assess the performance of teachers and schools.
- Putting learners at the heart of the process ensuring that they are fully engaged with their learning and empowered to assess their own progress.
- Ensuring that the broader learning outcomes such as critical thinking, social competencies, engagement with learning and overall well-being are also monitored and assessed.
- Building capacity at all levels within the education system by building a knowledge base, tools and guidelines to assist evaluation and assessment activities.
- Establishing system evaluation and assessment frameworks but allowing flexible approaches to meet local needs.
- Designing successfully by drawing on policy and best practice but importantly building consensus among all stakeholders.