Fundació Jaume BofillUniversitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)

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We are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Debats d’Educació by giving the educational community the opportunity to air its views

Xavier Chavarria
Xavier Chavarria
Chief inspector in Barcelona

I am chief inspector in Barcelona, an assessment consultant for the UOC and European vice-president of the EFEA.

The three things I’ve learned

Assessment needs to make being on the side of those involved compatible with multiple accountability
1

Different types of results: Context, Resources, Processes and Products.

The results of assessment must not be identified with assessment of results.

An overall view of the system is required and information must be obtained about the contextual circumstances and resources, the processes and the results. They also need to be integrated and correlated to facilitate interpretation and evaluational judgments (added value).

Results must not be oversimplified. At least outside higher education, they must include, as well as academic performance, results in terms of social cohesion (coexistence, fairness, similarity...) and results in terms of loyalty or retention (attendance, not dropping out...). In academic performance, tests also must go far beyond paper and pencil examinations.

Developmental data is required. Performance must be assessed in relation to increasing pupil mobility rates.

2

Integration of external and internal assessment perspectives (particularly in assessing schools and colleges)

Forms of assessment integrating external and internal perspectives must be studied and the results constructed in the form of a dialogue. Internal assessment is essential if improvement is set as a goal, while external assessment is better related to qualifications. The two should complement one another and provide mutual feedback.

In assessing schools and colleges, internal assessment is essential so that external assessment can achieve results. However, current forms of internal assessment are often unsatisfactory: external support and training is required. One way of moving forward might be to encourage internal assessments with an external managing/facilitating agent (for example, an education inspector).

As for staff, contextual value must be prioritised when it comes to merit in terms of qualifications and the evaluation of teaching must take precedence in the assessment of teachers. Peer assessment must be encouraged.

3

Accountability must be moral, professional and contractual, operating in all directions

Accountability must operate towards users (moral), in relation to professional work, and with the agency that finances education (contractual). Accountability must also form part of possible scenarios (well-founded targets and commitments) and must have consequences (orientated positively, not towards punishment). Because of this, it is essential to differentiate between the assessment and the testing of professionals. When minimum competences that all professionals need to have and maintain throughout their careers are lacking, it is necessary to proceed with different tools than assessment.

Accountability is credible when it covers all directions – everyone’s commitments towards everyone else (teachers, students, head teachers, inspectors, administration...) and their compliance with them – and operates in all directions, not just between everyone and their hierarchical superiors.

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