By Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski, Big Picture Learning
One positive outcome of current education reimagination and transformation initiatives is that educators are broadening and deepening their expectations of the graduates they need to produce. The traditional academic focus is now accompanied by other essentials—deep learning, social-emotional, workplace readiness, social capital, and similar sets of competencies (knowledge, skills, and dispositions) and accomplishments.
This expanded vision of the graduate has, however, widened the gap between the competencies educators (and employers, parents, and communities) want for all graduates and the evidence of competence educators are actually collecting. Schools are failing to deepen and broaden their assessments to include the new competencies, and are actually testing increasingly fewer dimensions of the graduate the workplace and their community will require.
For over twenty years, we at Big Picture Learning have railed against the myopic focus on the practice of a few narrow and shallow slices of evidence being used in educational assessment. We have complained about the artificial ways in which evidence of competence and accomplishment was gathered. We have protested that such meager data was used to hide rather than reveal each student as an individual learner. We were not alone in those protests, and were accompanied by many others as insightful and articulate as we aspired to be.
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