Implement standards based reporting in education
THE EDITOR, Madam:
Jamaica’s education system has undergone much restructuring over the years. Among the changes is the introduction of National Standards Curriculum, across all public schools. The curriculum identifies standards across diverse disciplines outlining what students should know and be able to do. By implication, teachers in public education institutions are required to align instruction, assessment and curricular planning to these national standards.
At the core of education is assessment. The substratum of which is to communicate students’ learning. The traditional reporting mechanism used for communicating students’ learning is using percentage scores. This percentage fails to adequately communicate the level of students’ proficiency in relation to the national standards.
A more appropriate reporting mechanism to communicate students’ level of learning in relation to the national standards is a standards-based reporting system. This system uses proficiency scales, for example – beginner, proficient, and exemplary.
Use of this type of system shifts the currency of the classroom from earning points and percentages to learning based on a continuum. This assists students to improve their performance, as opposed to a belief that learning is linear.
A similar system is used when reporting grade-six students’ performance in the Primary Exit Profile. However, high schools continue to use a traditional reporting mechanism.
Jamaica needs to align the present assessment reporting mechanisms to reflect the trend in more advanced countries, particularly at the secondary level where the curriculum is implemented.
Teacher, Belair High School