Diversity in assessment
ECSWE promotes holistic learning through personalised and formative assessment.
In agreement with the European Parliament’s critique of standardised tests in its report, “Follow-up of ET 2020” (section 38, 2016), we insist on the need for personalised and formative assessment.
Our advocacy on this topic takes numerous forms. As a member of the European Commission ET 2020 Working Group Schools, for the 2016–2018 as well as the 2018–2020 mandate, we have been actively involved in the European discussion on quality assurance in education. In 2017, we contributed to the public consultation on the European Key Competences Framework, with our recommendations,“Towards a human-centred education: 7 priorities”. Our advocacy has involved participation in stakeholder hearings with European institutions, and in 2019, ECSWE together with Learning for Well-being and the Hungarian Waldorf Fellowship, launched an ERASMUS+ Partnership on collecting personalised assessment practices.
It is crucial that assessment requirements do not prevent independent schools from defining and implementing their own curricula. For this reason, we demand diversity in assessment and evaluation methods, tailored to individual schools. National and regional governments should only define the framework and general objectives of education, and give autonomy to schools to implement them in a flexible manner.
1. More personalised and formative assessment
We encourage the broader use of personalised and formative assessment. These methods include self- and peer- assessment, learning through dialogue, individual feedback, as well as compiling learning journals and portfolios. Such forms of assessment support a pupil’s development by reflecting both their individuality and the social nature of learning. They give pupils the opportunity to better understand their own learning process and take ownership of their own education.
2. Less standardised and centralised testing
Standardised and centralised methods of assessment force educators to teach for the sake of tests, and ignore pupils’ individual learning processes. They also undermine the freedom of independent schools to implement their own curricula and assessment methods. All in all, they lead to a homogenisation of education that we strongly object to.
3. State recognition of independent school qualifications
Steiner Waldorf schools, Montessori schools, and other schools with a specific pedagogical approach, have their own curricula and methods of assessment. Provided that the acquired learning outcomes and competence levels are equivalent to those of mainstream education, the qualifications issued by these independent schools should be state-recognised. Pupils from independent schools deserve equal access to higher education.