María Esther Téllez Acosta comments on the article “Impact beyond the tests: adult education that makes a real difference”
PhD Student at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany in collaboration with the School of Education at Penn State University, USA. Chemistry teacher and directed programs and research projects in the pedagogical, didactic training of university and Science, Main research on Science Teachers’ Training with an emphasis on practice-based Frameworks and authentic teaching-learning contexts.
Taking into account the importance of evaluation as a process that is inherent to the teaching- learning process, it proposes the need of relevant proposals to be applied in classrooms in terms to contribute to solve problems related to the evaluation as a formative process, no just as a medium to give a qualification. In the personal experience in institutions, one of the goals of the educational process is to prepare students to solve the standardized exams (e.g. Saber tests in Colombia) as a requirement, centering the attention in the contents (declarative knowledge) and the way to answer the type of questions of the exam. By this way, the formative character of the evaluation is overvalued.
Similarly, in the case of the students of the Adult Basic Education (ABE) program at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, North Carolina, as the program educates adult with special needs, the standardized evaluations hardly allow identifying all students’ progress in other aspects beyond the declarative knowledge. I highlight the work carried out in the program due to it is an example for thinking about the impact of educational processes beyond what is shown by tests. For instance, how although we as teachers have to attend to public policies and requirements, in our classrooms, we can work on recognize and give meaning to students’ successes in the other dimensions of learning, such as attitudinal, identity, communicative, abilities and values that allow us to live better, etc.
Therefore, it is so important to consider evaluation practices contextualized, but flexible in relation with theories and policies. It is fundamental try to give solutions to the problem: what are the best ways to guide evaluation through more multidimensional approaches? How evaluation practices can identify in a broader way students learning and how it can direct the teaching process to more desirable frames?To answer these questions proposals can be oriented toward teachers training regarding evaluation from quantitative to qualitative process to make decisions not just for students (if they reach the learning goals), but teachers (guide the teaching strategies, methodologies…) (Téllez-Acosta & Castillo, 2017).
In this sense, the evaluation could be more efficient if it considers and attends to particularities of specific contexts, for example classrooms with students from different cultures, needs, skills, abilities, etc. Thus is necessary evaluation routines whose purpose would be make didactic decisions that allow to attend to the difference, feedback as part of the learning process and strategies to guide teachers about what they can do with the results or their students in all the assessment activities. In consequence, we can go forward teaching practices that articulate the learning with evaluation to a formative process that allows the development or strengthening of competences in students in a multidimensional way.
It means proposals that imply teachers training in routines or activities through a process of design, implementation and formative evaluation regarding the particularities of the context to allow the students achieve their learning objectives, which are not subject-specific but about life. For instance, it is important for teachers be prepared to evaluate from different dimensions and perspectives leading students to identify their strengths and weaknesses in competences and knowledge, therefore to make the adequate decisions.
Téllez- Acosta, M.E., Castillo Orjuela, N. (2017). Profesores Integrales que forman y evalúan por competencias. [Integral teachers who form and evaluate in science by competences]. In Garay Garay F.R. (Editor). First Meeting of Basic Sciences: Challenges in front of desertion. Catholic University Bogotá- Colombia. Pp 56-63. ISSN: 2590-7026 (impress) ISSN: 2590-7018 (On line)
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