Why standardised testing should not be the dominant culture in education

Ken Robinson outlines three important principles to be adhered to if learning is to flourish in educational institutions — cater for diversity,  nurture curiosity, and encourage creativityUnfortunately, many education systems are characterised by conformity, standardisation, and compliance.

Testing has a lot do with this, or rather the design of tests. A focus on assessment for learning rather than assessment of learning, with greater attention to the authenticity of the assessment task will engage the learner because there is more scope to explore their curiosity and demonstrate their creative prowess.

Robinson contends that while standardised tests have a place, they should not be the dominant culture of education. They should be diagnostic.

Unfortunately, in many instances it’s about teaching to the test, and deep learning — if it happens — is incidental.

As always, Ken Robinson puts in an inspiring and entertaining performance. My favourite quote during this presentation (borrowed from Benjamin Franklin) is:

There are three sorts of people in the world: Those who are immovable, people who don’t get, they don’t want to get it, they’re not going to do anything about it. There are people who are movable, people who see the need for change and are prepared to listen to it. And there are people who move, people who make things happen. And if we can encourage more people, that will be a movement.