ERIC Number: ED411296
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995
Reference Count: N/A
Beyond Common Sense: Reconceptualizing National Curriculum Assessment.
Curriculum Journal, v6 n1 p5-28 Spr 1995
This article examines the implications of the shift, in England and Wales, from the previous National Curriculum assessment model based on the assessment of performance in relation to statements of attainment, to a model based on level descriptions founded on the recommendations of R. Dearing (1994). Both models reflect a common sense view that learning is marked by the stepwise acquisition of curricular objectives, but two key shifts in conceptualization have taken place. One is the move from a focus on actual performance on individual objectives to idealized performance on complexes of objectives, and the other is from a concept of hierarchical progression to one of cumulative progression. This article highlights some of the central weaknesses of the common sense view, in both its original and reviewed versions, by reference to the findings of research on mathematics. Neither model takes sufficient account of the extent to which development and learning in mathematics involve progressive, but uneven, consolidation, coordination, and reorganization of knowledge, with stability of performance achieved only at the end of this process. A more fruitful, but controversial, way to move forward would be to conceptualize a pupil's learning as taking place in a development band, in which concepts are still being refined. The creation of such a system would demand the improved definition of attainment targets and scaling within them and the development of complementary regular and standard assessments. Reliance on politically expedient short tests is unlikely to prove either trustworthy or informative. (Contains 10 tables and 47 references.) (Author/SLD)
Descriptors: British National Curriculum, Curriculum Development, Educational Assessment, Educational Research, Elementary Secondary Education, Foreign Countries, Learning, Mathematics, Scaling, Student Evaluation, Tables (Data), Test Construction
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England); United Kingdom (Wales)