As part of the great conversation that followed Paula’s Joy in Standardized Tests? post I put forth an idea of developing a new system of education. That idea deserves a post unto itself, for now I want to isolate a singular idea.
In our current system of educations students are the subject of multiple layers of authority-teachers, principals, school boards, state and federal departments of education, and legislators. To be successful in school a student has to win passage from these various authority figures. Most notorious of late is the standardized test, a stand-in authority figure for corporations, politicians, and department of education heads.
My question is if we want to shift our educational system to promote authentic learning and securing that students are proficient learners and able citizens, who is the authority figure that deems that a student is so? What does it look like when we localize authority instead of exert it through proxies (tests) for distant figures (federal government employees and legislators)? Can we trust students and teachers to make the decision that a student is ready to move onto an “apprentice” stage of learning? Does more of the community need to be involved?
Where do we even look to figure out what a proficient learner and able citizen looks like? Can do? Knows? Perhaps its these seven traits?
Then what does the gateway look like for a student to pass through to demonstrate that she is these things? A test? A portfolio? An interview? An obstacle course? A recommendation from teachers?
I appreciate your help in unraveling this knot.