system should penalize risk-taking or creativity, or imply that there is
only one right answer to any problem, except perhaps for simple arithmetic (even then
Einstein would not have produced his theories of relativity had he not challenged basic
thinking is a vital skill. Free and open-minded contributions to problem-solving are
essential in all aspects of life. Any assessment methods should encourage this, not
pigeonhole anyone in the "only one right answer" mode.
assessment is at least as important as student assessment. Every professional seminar
presenter hands out evaluation forms. They're vital self-correcting feedback. And all
teachers following this pattern are modelling a positive attitude toward continual growth
by the free, fair and frank exchange of opinions.
school teachers and administrators will apply the same principles to parent-teacher
relationships: sending home teacher-evaluation forms regularly as part of the school-home
confidence building, part of the new customer-service concept.
where competence can be measured at specific levels, this generally involves performing
the task in practice: typing at 65 words a minute, playing a piano, riding a bike, running
or swimming at a certain speed. In all cases, the real test is competency in the task, not
competency in writing about it.
have used the excellent American-developed Deming methods of total quality management to
produce cars and electronic components of excellence. Mt. Edgecumbe High School has shown
how to interpret those principles into school education - and into different assessment
methods. All school systems would be wise to take heed.
10. Use tomorrow's technology
We've already made our views clear on one other matter:
new methods of instant communication are bringing with them the biggest change in
civilization in centuries.
This revolution will soon provide each person with the
tools to obtain all the information he or she needs, whenever it is needed and in whatever
form: print, photograph, videotape, television screen or facsimile transmission.
River Oaks School in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, is
typical of what will soon be happening at all schools. It is a primary school that has
Contents Page Preface