January 04, 2011

The ultimate standardised test: get the students to design it

Standardised tests designed by students Most people seem to acknowledge that while rote learning for standardised tests will help keep countries and cities at the top of the PISA rankings for reading, science and maths, it's not the best formula for happy, fulfilled, creative and entrepreneurial children. But what would happen if we got children to design the standardised tests in the first place?

At The Education Project, Bahrain, I ran a workshop session with Jeff Utecht, Tinkering School's Gever Tulley and Indian edu-entrepreneur Sudhir Ghodke where participants such as Charles Leadbeater, the Bahraini education quality improvement team and Cisco's senior management designed practical solutions to some of their biggest policy and practice headaches.

I can't remember from which group this suggestion came, but finding it once more makes me think that we might indeed have a compelling, design-thinking and student-centred means of making something constructive out of the standardised test:

"Have the students collaborate on designing a standardised test to assess their collaborative learning program. Then they will learn / assess what can / cannot be assessed via standardised tests and collaborative to design an alternative assessment for collaborative learning, metacognition..."


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Agreed! There are such assessments in the US, check out The Met School and The Coalition of Essential Schools.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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