Better assessment means better education
Learning in 21st century requires a need for changing the paradigm learning for gaining knowledge into learning for gaining skills for learning. In relation to this paradigm, assessment too, is changing its focus from assessment of learning into assessment for learning. This is the message from the two-day international conference on “Assessment for Learning in the 21st Century” organized by the USAID Primary Education Project (PEP) in collaboration with the Macedonian Civic Education Center (MCEC), held in h. Metropol, Ohrid, 23-24 May.
“Many countries work on implementing new trends in regard to the school-based assessment. Contemporary education is changing the focus from assessment of learning into assessment for learning,” said USAID Senior Education Specialist, Lela Jakovlevska. “This means there should be more of a focus on learning as a process, on providing feedback to students and parents, and not only focusing on the end result.”
The conference was attended by 142 representatives from Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Croatia, Albania, Slovenia, USA, England, Ireland, Holland and Malaysia. There were 62 oral presentations on the plenary and thematic sessions, 10 poster and 10 video presentations. The time for discussions was always too short for the many constructive questions and opinions that followed the presentations. This was especially apparent after the two appearances of Prof. Paul Black, distinguished assessment expert from the King’s College in London, whose presentations raised a great interest.
”This is a very good and joyful conference. I’m impressed by the thoroughness and the range of the applications. I’m also impressed that teachers are standing up and giving talks, which is not usual for international conference. And this one is characterized with richness of opinions and approaches and sharing of experiences,” said Professor Black.
The attendees were also interested to see the position of Macedonia concerning the assessment compared to the other Balkan countries. Natalija Komljanc, from the National Education Institute in Slovenia, stressed out:
“The assessment system is of key importance, not only for the individual development of every single student, but for the development of the education as a whole. In Slovenia, we have many experiences in that regard and of course, we overtook some of them from the practice of other countries and compared ours to the rest. Today, we saw that Macedonia is a part of these processes and transitions in the education. The teachers and the school directors here are ready for deeper didactical change and they are aware of the importance of the assessment. Their different ideas, thinking and positions showed that, the measuring of the results is not the most important thing, but the assessment system can also positively affect on the improvement of the quality of the instruction and the different forms of learning and teaching”, concluded Komljanc.
For the conference, there was a total number of 91 applications, from which 7 were from the foreign authors and 84 are from the Macedonian authors. All the papers from the plenary sessions are published in the Collection of papers, and all the rest of the papers are placed on a CD as addition to the Collection of papers. Very soon, all of them will be posted on the PEP web site. If you want to see them in e-form, please follow this link: http://toolbox.pep.org.mk/Files/ZBORNIK_za_web_25-05-2011.pdf
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The official opening of the conference was made by: Lela Jakovlevska, USAID, Loreta Georgieva, MCEC and Nebojsa Mojsoski, PEP
Attendees during a plenary
‘‘ I enjoyed a lot! It’s very good to see that the ideas on which I worked with my colleagues in London are being implemented here in practice“,
Prof. Paul Black, England
’’My impression is that the conference is very good because it shows that many people are dedicated to the development of assessment”, Natalija Komljanc, Slovenia
USAID PEP Assessment Component Leader, Gorica Mickovska and USAID PEP Chief of Party, Nebojsa Mojsoski are giving their statements about the conference to the media