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The future of learning assessments

26 February 2015

Processes for assessing student learning are undergoing fundamental transformation, according to Geoff Masters.

ACER Chief Executive, Professor Geoff Masters AO, advises that new developments, together with scientific advances in the understanding of learning, can be expected to transform school assessment over the next decade.

Writing in Teacher, Professor Masters outlined how future assessment will be shaped by developments in how we think about learning, growing interest in assessing a broader range of skills, and advances in technology.

ACER’s Centre for Assessment Reform and Innovation refers to these three developments as new thinking, new metrics and new technologies of assessment.

Professor Masters said new thinking recognises that there is only one fundamental purpose of assessment – to establish and understand where learners are in an aspect of their learning at the time of assessment.

‘Under this way of thinking, the focus of assessment is on understanding the current situation and then using this understanding to guide future action, monitor progress, and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions,’ Professor Masters writes.

According to Professor Masters, work is required to clarify newly prioritised aspects of learning such as creative thinking and collaborative problem solving.

‘Constructs of these kinds usually require assessment methods very different from those used to assess mastery of curriculum content,’ Professor Masters writes.

‘Advances in technology have the potential to transform assessment practice through more personalised, more interactive and more intelligent forms of evidence gathering, as well as by providing more immediate, high-quality feedback to learning processes.’ ■

Read the full article:
Learning assessments – designing the future’, written by Geoff Masters and published in Teacher, is available at < teacher.acer.edu.au/geoff-masters >

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