The use of Education and Skills Online as a performance measure will lead to a series of unintended consequences in post-secondary institutions

While it's apparent there were research design challenges with HEQCO's recent attempt to examine the usefulness of a basic skills test as a post-secondary outcomes measure (see a commentary in University Affairs and my own post), it's more challenging to recognize the problems with the test tool itself. A recent blog post from Higher Education Strategy Associates … Continue reading The use of Education and Skills Online as a performance measure will lead to a series of unintended consequences in post-secondary institutions

HEQCO makes questionable and problematic claims after completing pilot featuring OECD’s Education and Skills Online

The Higher Education Quality Council (HEQCO) recently proclaimed that one-quarter of graduating students score below adequate on measures of literacy, numeracy  This was quickly mimicked in a Globe and Mail headline: One in four Ontario postsecondary students lacks basic literacy, numeracy skills, studies say. HEQCO came to the conclusion based on the results of their … Continue reading HEQCO makes questionable and problematic claims after completing pilot featuring OECD’s Education and Skills Online

Know-It-All School Reformers

Although Larry Cuban’s post on school reform is focused on the US K-12 system, this overview of what we know and don’t know about education reform, including the impacts of curriculum, testing and performance or merit pay systems, relates to what we have seen happening in Ontario’s adult literacy system.

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Listen to Michael Mann, a climatolgist at Penn State University who talked about the science behind global warming and rising sea levels.

Any honest assessment of the science is going to recognize that there are things we understand pretty darn well and things that we sort of know. But there are things that are uncertain and there are things we just have no idea about whatsoever. (Nate Silver, The Signal and the Noise, 2012, p. 409).

Ah, if only federal and state policymakers, researchers, and reform-minded educators would see the “science” of school reform in K-12 and higher education in similar terms. “Science” is in quote marks because there is no reliable, much less valid, theory of school reform that can predict events or improvements in schools and classroom instruction.

Still, for K-12 children and youth there are “things we understand pretty darn well.”

*We understand that socioeconomic…

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Messages of failure and not being “normal” are built into the ESEE

In a previous post, I wrote about the  difficulty of the Essential Skills for Education and Employment (ESEE), an assessment being piloted as part of the Learner Gains Research Project (LGRP). The research involves 1800 learners who are to take the ESEE at the beginning and end of their time in a program to see if the … Continue reading Messages of failure and not being “normal” are built into the ESEE

Skills versus tasks: A false debate that obscures a perverse reading pedagogy (part 2 of 4)

The literacy technique developed for use in international literacy testing, and then carried into programs, is a constructed reading method. It is a set of processes, referred to as constructs, developed for testing. The technique known as information-processing directs people to read and respond to texts in very particular ways. Those processes are put to use in all … Continue reading Skills versus tasks: A false debate that obscures a perverse reading pedagogy (part 2 of 4)

Skills versus tasks: A false debate that obscures a perverse reading pedagogy (part 1 of 4)

I had a couple of exchanges this week that touched on a similar topic, and that is the literacy technique that was developed for use in the international literacy test, and then carried into the Essential Skills framework, the OALCF, spin-off tests like the ESEE and OALCF Milestones, and learning activities. People may refer to … Continue reading Skills versus tasks: A false debate that obscures a perverse reading pedagogy (part 1 of 4)

How the design and methods used in the Essential Skills framework coordinate and guide its use in education

A reader wondered why I called the Essential Skills a curriculum framework when it was intended to be used to profile various occupations (i.e. provide extensive descriptions of jobs organized by skill domain and level), and not to support individual literacy development. Based on some previous research into the development of the Essential Skills, I settled … Continue reading How the design and methods used in the Essential Skills framework coordinate and guide its use in education