K C Web Assessment

You often hear of people asking how we can accurately assess the K.Cs – especially now that they are ideally the foundation of our curriculum.  This question, I suspect, comes from those wanting quantified and comparable data.

And it’s this school of thought about assessment – the moderated, summative philosphy, that I think is taking over the other, formative approach.   I wonder if the worst effect of the National Standards is going to be the momentum it will give the quantitative force.

There is a great quote that I have been letting settle in my mind for some time.
“Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”  Oscar Wilde  

I see the K.Cs as fitting into these sorts of knowings.  There ARE some parts of the competencies that can be explicitly taught but others, such as self management are just as well ‘caught’ as taught through good modelling and a good deal of time.  I also wonder if we could also say that there is,

‘..nothing worth knowing that can be assessed.’

Just because something is harder to assess does it make it less valuable or worthwhile spending classroom currancy on?  I wonder if the quantifying team would suggest not.  You can’t moderate it, can’t collect accurate data on it and how will we make some flash graphs for our B.O.T?

I realise I’m being a bit cynical but it’s a road I see many schools heading in.  Is this the bigger picture that is getting lost for many in the National Standards debate?   The biggest deficit impact for students will be if we shift the K.Cs to the margins because we are chasing the numeracy and literacy wild goose.

So, this term I have been stressing to my class that our big picture is all about the Key Competency,  ‘THINKING.’  We’ve been using science as our fuel but thinking is the car we are getting better at driving.  ‘What are we getting better at?’  I ask them.  ‘Thinking!’ is their chant.

So, how do we assess the K.Cs?  I absolutely value the formative power of assessment for learning and always see a matrix or rubric as an important part of this process.  This K.C matrix, above,  is based on the web that Lester Flocton introduced in the DVD, ‘The Connected Curriculum’ and was something I started using last year as a google doc.  Students created their own copy and embeded their assessment on their efolio.

This year I have created a web for the wall which groups of three use to guide them through the independent investigation process.  A booklet scaffolds them through the stages to developing their own question, carrying out an experiment and developing a theory.  Each strand of our, ‘Thinking Web’ has three stages; no evidence, some evidence and lots of evidence.  It’s surprising how honest and thoughtful the students have been so far.
Key Competency Assessment Thinking

My next step with this process will be to use it next term too but to co-construct the strands with me.  It will be an interesting journey for our technology inquiry. 


2 thoughts on “K C Web Assessment

  1. Great thinking Mark. The question really is what qualifies as thinking? How can we truly assess that? Do we look at all areas of thinking – do we take into account outside influences…does what you mean by thinking mean the same thing as me? And what evidence can the children show to state how they have improved in thinking..even if they can plan and carry out a science method independently does this show improvement from where they started? And how do we know? This year we have focused on our Key Concept – which is driven by our curriculum needs and incorporates our K.C/s. ie This term is Creativity. Under it we fit our curriculum…so how do the kids know where they are at the beginning of creativity. They assess themselves on what they have gotten better at – ie we had production -how did they show creativity (my kids said things like they have gotten better at using their imagination, thinking about their thinking, trying new ideas, some said taking their time or borrowing ideas from others. The whole KC debate is an interesting one! Can we truly honestly assess it??


  2. G'day Mark. First of all, great new theme. Very fresh and clean, nice. I see it is a Blogspot. Why Blogspot? I use Edublog, what's the advantage? Anyway – the KC assessment debtate. I truly believe we cannot assess the KC, as they are fundamentally skills for life that we are continually utilising in everyday situations and scenarios – they are not finite or an end point. I can manage myelf in my job, but necessarily as well on the squash court. I like the Lester Flockton model, clever man. Another point, you mention we could teach some of the KCs, can we? I believe all of them better encouraged through modelling and encouraging – we model Relating to Others and Thinking. We could 'teach' Language, Symbols and Texts – but there are other aspects of this I think we cannot teach, such as what is unique to the individual when they view or hear something. This aligns with Graham Nuthalls' thinking. Cheers for the thinking Mark, great to read an insightful blog.


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