What counts as evidence of student success, for whom and for what goal – are questions all educators need to be asking in this current climate, states University of Waikato Education Professor Bronwen Cowie.
At her recent inaugural lecture in May, Prof. Cowie discussed the influence of powerful global testing regimes and its impact on how we locally assess student learning.
Decline in NZ international ranking
Prof. Cowie cited the example of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the decline of NZ’s international ranking relative to other countries. Some commentators have expressed concern at this trend while others are querying the validity and influence of PISA, said Prof. Cowie. “It is a concern that government responses to such results can be to narrow the curriculum and methods used to generate evidence of learning”.
Prof. Cowie notes that NZ educators have worked hard to ensure what they teach and assess considers the local cultural context and knowledge of the learner. The ‘globalisation of curriculum’ based on economic driven forces, threatens such initiatives.