Day 99 (of 188) the arrgh of semester-end
Not t for my school. The move to eportfolios has ended the artificial deadlines to learning called ‘semesters’ or ‘terms’. I’m still testing out “what do we call its” like ‘terms of learning’ but I know someone will come up with a great reference – so I’m not worried.
But today I was reminded of my own frustrations as a secondary teacher….namely the lack of that most valuable resource: time.
And now we come to some ongoing struggles – such as if the cumulative exam is pre-done and therefore can’t take into account the slightly shortened term-of-school not being able to cover all the material (usually the more “dry” components that I also shunted to the back of the pack) that may be (is) on the test…..the multiple choice test……for a non-multiple choice subject (arguably all of them).
There’s still the worry of “we didn’t get to cover this unit/chapter/section/topic/etc” but there may be some questions on it……
I am an advocate for quality over quantity in teaching….and that was reminded to me via @LS_Karl at his @TEDxLangleyED who referenced a presentation I gave at the end of the previous year….I know – I know…
But that is a big part of why I love the eportfolio and no “term to end learning” – if another week is needed to study biomes….take it. If there’s no time for a full unit on geometry…..so be it (guilty – I won’t pretend to say I can cover all the outcomes with equal quality). The focus has to be on the needs of the learners – I have even stopped a math unit (multiplication) when I realized that there was a subtraction gap. We stopped, reset and redid everything. Kinda like a feedback loop. The info I wanted wasn’t being transmitted so we looked closer. Something that if you are worried about a “common exam” you might not feel the responsibility to do….even though it’s….in the best interest of…..the learner….
It’s a big “arrrrgh” in the education community. To test or not to test that is the question (to poorly tweak a quote). There are some that would argue to continue ‘because we always have’ – to this I suggest a reading of @yongzhaouo and his book “Who’s afraid of the big bad dragon” along with anything written by @kenoc7 – a true assessment guru!
But it hurts me when things get rushed because of an artificial deadline. I will continue to advocate & encourage high quality learning over rushing to cover everything to try to get ready for a test – and even worse to me, seeing my daughter start to think it’s only important IF……it’s gonna be on ‘the test’ that marks the end of learning.