Great timing of Helen's post; I too have been connecting with the learning we did at the BRSU in-service this year on assessment and Disrupting Class. How can we become more like Toyota and less like Detroit when it comes to testing our students?
On page 111, the authors state that, by disruptively deploying computers, "assessment and individualized assistance can be interactively and interdependently woven into the content-delivery stage, rather than tacked on as a test at the end of the process. And the software makers can also use the feedback loop to learn how to improve their product for different kinds of learners."
I think about students whose NECAP scores don't always reflect their abilities; about hidden talents that go untapped in traditional schooling settings; about the challenge of differentiated instruction, and believe that technology really needs to be utilized now to attack the problem of assessment and individualized instruction.
I also think about a quote I heard recently at a conference about why kids (this speaker was referring in particular to many boys) love video games. Besides the obvious excitement of the action, graphics, and tasks of the games, the kids this speaker talked to loved that they could lose or "die" in a video game, then start right over and try again without any real penalty, just the chance again to gain a level. And usually this "failure" takes place alone or with a friend or two who may have had the same losing experience, can relate, and can offer advice about how to get past the obstacle next time. What would school look like if the obstacles and failures kids experienced were seen in that way?
How can we use our existing technology right now to help us disrupt assessment and individualized learning right now? Exciting questions on a rainy morning...