The issue of assessing students has come under fire in recent weeks, with international tests revealing student performance is plummeting. Science presenter and particle physicist Professor Brian Cox has said, "if the measurement of ... a student’s progress ... is removing time from practical science, then it had better be bloody useful because practical science is bloody useful."
The problem I see with assessing students in the uniform way in which most schools do — most usually through written assignments and tests — is that it's a one size fits all approach to measuring performance. It doesn't work for many because students are complex, dynamic and diverse.
Autonomy is often used to mean independence. Though their dictionary definitions are similar and they are synonyms of each other, I like to talk about autonomy in a slighty different way.
For me, autonomy is having the choice over when I am independent and when I am dependent. It's similar to the notion of interdependence, except the latter, interdependence, suggests an ongoing process of co-operation or collaboration. Perhaps autonomy could include the choice of interdependence as well, but for now I want to focus on the aspect of choice.
This week the Needs Assessment and Service Co-ordination Association (NASCA) held its national forum. According to its website, "NASCA provides leadership, assistance and peer support to NASC agencies throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand. NASC services are contracted by the Ministry of Health or District Health Boards to serve people with disabilities, people with mental health issues and older people needing age-related support."
I was invited to present the keynote plenary session on the first morning, providing a client's perspective. This, I explained in my introduction, was interesting given my well-known disdain for the NASC process. I assumed therefore, that I hadn't been invited to give a pep talk — instead, I offered some critical analysis, drawing on the following model:
I asked my audience to embrace this mindset, as well as promising to do the same.