Inquiry is often spiral, it returns to itself anew. The politics of assessment makes its entry onto this pathway here, as four school principals, and one each of a teacher, a school trustee and a superintendent of schools contribute to our inquiry as it turns outward…outward in place, and outward in time.
Some questions to consider (we recommend brief small group discussions that can each then ‘compare notes’ about the different directions opened in how such ‘complicated’ conversations can go):
How do you respond to this video?
What does it bring to mind for you?
What is your reaction to the statement that “We’re not really in sight of what learning is…”?
What is, and is not, the image of the student fostered by what you heard in this video? (it’s complicated, right?)
In this discussion, what is the place of education in society? Where does it ‘belong’?
Where exactly do you see the politics of education in this discussion? (some hints: re: the place of children in society, the public image of assessment, the validity of measurement, the ‘dishonesty’ of the artifices of assessment, the collaborative necessities of legitimate assessment…)
Discuss either or both of these two statements:
“Is it where they end up…or how much they’ve grown?”
“This world is one of ‘token economies’ – and the sooner children are prepared for it, the better.”
What are your responses to (and comfort with) “simple goals” that, instead of predetermining outcomes, that “allow for a whole range of possibilities”?
How many questions arise in this video? List and rank them in order of your sense of their importance, and share why you did it that way.
Assessment has both a “great mystery” as well as a “mystical” dimension. What could be the relation of the two?