WCAL has recently finished working on developing advanced curriculum
and assessment resources for schools in Saudi Arabia.
These materials cover mathematics, science, English and ICT.
WCAL are active founder members of the
21st Century Learning Alliance.
Last year we supported the successful Fellowship programme supporting teachers to
carry out development or small action-research projects relating to teaching and
learning for the 21st century, and will do so again this year.
We have given a number
of presentations at conferences this year.
On 17th March 2011 Martin Ripley spoke at the Second French Congress of Psychometry(ppt
CIEP (Sèvres) on innovative approaches to assessing Collaborative Problem Solving.
In June 2010 Martin Ripley was the keynote speaker at Scholar's
10th Annual Conference. Scholar provides
an on-line content learning resource covering core subjects
(Mandarin is under development) tailored to link to
the curriculum and assessment frameworks of Scotland,
Northern Ireland, England and a number of other countries.
Martin's Scholar presentation(ppt
provided a view of learning and assessment in the 21st
century. Martin suggested that schools - headteachers,
governors and senior leadership teams - will become
increasingly free (and responsible) for designing the
curriculum and learning for their students. What will
differentiate schools will be the confidence and expertise
of the staff in shaping the curriculum and in using
effective pedagogical approaches.
Martin also focused on assessment.
He spoke about the work of the Assessing
and Teaching 21st Century Skills project(ppt
Assessment sets the objectives for learning, and ingrains
into schools and classes the requirements of high stakes
testing. In many countries, over the past two decades,
we have learned that high stakes assessment can have
educationally positive influences: assessments signal
priorities for curriculum and instruction; it has been
clear to see the extent to which teachers model the
explicit and implicit pedagogical approaches embodied
in assessment; and we have seen that curriculum developers
respond to the syllabus and curriculum requirements
of assessment systems. If these are educationally positive
effects of assessment, it is true to say that we have
also learned how negatively assessment systems can affect
teaching and learning: we have seen how schools and
teachers tend to focus on what is tested rather than
underlying standards of learning goals; poorly designed
assessment systems have encouraged
a "one-time performance orientation" and have encouraged
corresponding teaching systems; and we have seen in
many countries that too much teaching time becomes diverted
to specific test preparation activities.
Earlier this year, Martin was invited
to Riyadh by the Saudi Ministry of Education and Tatweer
to lead an evening of discussion about
school and learning in the 21st century(ppt
Across the world, governments and rulers see the link
between education and economic well-being; between successful
learning and aspirational, entrepreneurial citizens; and
between schools and future social cohesion. One of the
hot topics for discussion focused on the question of
what area of investment in education is the most important?
Developing school leadership? Developing curriculum
and assessment standards? Textbooks and resources? Teachers
and teacher training? Building new schools?