You can’t have it both ways …

My changing ideas about assessment and credit rejection.


I haven’t previously blogged about students choosing not to take NCEA credit opportunities, but  ibpossum’s post captures my thoughts.  To summarise, how frustrating is it when some students only work for credits, ask “Is this worth anything?”, or don’t attempt (or turn up) to all of the external exam?

Grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change …

When analysing student achievement data, I was upset with the number of students who were SNA (Standard Not Attempted).  Didn’t they know what to do?  Were they scared?  Why didn’t they even try! I shared my frustration with a colleague, and he brought me out of my frenzy with one phrase: “You know there was a big party before the exam, don’t you?”

Well, no, I didn’t.  That brought home that there were aspects of students’ lives that were outside my control (horror!).  They had made a conscious decision to not do something.  Were any of them scarred for life, or at least their career or future education opportunities?  Probably not.

Assessment and over-assessment

Teachers have been saying for years and years that we over-assess students.  The joy of learning has been replaced by credit-crunching.  So why do we complain when students rebel against this system, as we would do too if our schools’ let us (kudos to HPSS for walking the talk in this regard).

Now we don’t know when students are going to opt out of assessments.  But the teaching and learning goes on.  A student doesn’t usually say in May, “I’m not going to do this section in the exam, so I’ll just sit in the corner for the next month”.  They engage, try, challenge, and LEARN!  No assessment doesn’t mean no learning.

The solution?

While programmes, schools, NZQA, etc, continue to separate assessment from learning, while teachers do not offer sufficient choice for students, and while over-assessment is the norm, I can’t see a solution.  Sorry.

When assessment is timely, relevant, and student-focused, then we’re getting somewhere.

Posted on October 8, 2015, in #cenz15, #edblognz, assessment. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Love this – you have rationalised some of my angst 🙂 I think if I was at high school now, I would definitely be picking and choosing my credits. And there is much more to life than passing exams – so how can we make sure there is more to school than passing exams?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: