Personalised Learning, Continuous Reporting and Collaboration | Rethinking Education in 2020

As we look towards education in 2020, there is a lot of debate around our current education systems and how together, as a collective, we can better optimise learning outcomes.

Is there a need for a BIG rethink of current teaching and learning practices?

Do we need to rethink education in 2020?

In David Gonski’s report he identifies that the 20th century mass-learning industrial model was not designed to differentiate learning or stretch students to ensure they achieve maximum learning growth every year. He also highlights that there is an inflexibility in curriculum delivery, reporting and assessment regimes, and tools focus on periodic judgements of performance, rather than continuous diagnosis of a student’s learning needs and progress. The report states that there has been a performance decline in students over the last 10 years, and to close the growing gap between low performing and high performing students there has to be a fairer funding framework.

“Differences in educational outcomes must not be the result of differences in wealth, income, power or possessions.” David Gonski

At EP we collaborate with teachers, students and educational bodies to continue to develop and nurture the most supportive educational tools possible. We know that through student differentiation, continuous reporting and collaboration we can drive learning outcomes for all students, no matter their backgrounds or learning abilities.

In agreeance with EP’s collaborative and personalised learning approach is the report by the Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce: “We believe that there is a strong case for change in the Aotearoa New Zealand school system. Good quality schooling respects and develops the talents, knowledge and capabilities of every single child. It not only benefits the child, but also their family and whānau, their local community, the wider society and the economy.”

The report highlights that this is particularly the case for children who are Māori, Pacific, new migrants, refugees, or who have additional learning needs. Also stating that schools are largely failing to put into practice the guarantees made by Te Tiriti o Waitangi of equal participation in governance, access to benefits, and protection and retention of cultural resources for Māori and Pākehā and Tauiwi alike.

In NSW Australia there have also been ongoing requests for changes to the HSC, including reducing the number of courses, the emphasis on end-of-school exams and merging vocational and academic subjects. There have also been suggestions to pare back primary school content to focus on literacy, numeracy and emotional development and a restructure of the syllabus around attainment levels rather than year levels.

At EP we can’t change the current systems, but here are just a few of the ways we can work with schools, teachers and students to improve learning outcomes for all students.

Personalised Learning

Personalised Learning is about knowing your students and responding to their needs in a range of ways where they have agency and ownership. It centres around student voice and relies on strong teacher-student relationships that value flexibility within structure, clear learning intentions, multiple types of assessment and evidence, and authentic learning opportunities..

Flexibility, in terms of content, process, and product, is a core tenet of EP. The importance of differentiation is outlined by James, Head of Product and Content: “EP understands the critical importance of personalisation in the modern classroom. From the ability for teachers to easily tailor content and tasks to meet their students’ needs, to the automated remediation workflows, EP provides a number of powerful opportunities for meaningful and impactful personalisation.”

Continuous Reporting 

Current research emphasises the need to shift from inflexible, static judgements of performance to more continuous reporting of a student’s learning journey, progress and needs.

There is an established and identified need in schools for reporting that is continuous, and focuses not only on the end result of learning – an assessment or outcome – but on the way the student approaches, participates in and ultimately achieves along a learning pathway.

Schools are increasingly looking for ways to provide parents with live, up to date, relevant data about the progress students are making with their learning. This is more meaningful in many ways than a percentage, or letter grade, at the end of a unit of work. There is also a developing trend for students to become involved in their own learning, reflecting on progress and identifying areas of weakness long before those skills are needed in final assessments.

How can EP help with that? There are a range of summative and formative assessment options but the real gold is embedded with the constant data a school receives to track student learning and growth.

Kelly Hollis, Global Head of Science, discusses the importance of comparing data and how “being able to pre-test students allows teachers to effectively plan differentiated units of work to ensure that all students are supported or challenged. The use of post-testing and comparative analysis then allows teachers to ensure that growth has been accomplished.”

Collaboration

Collaboration is a skill we are learning to nurture at EP. Both across our teams and within the platform. Our experienced content experts work across subjects to develop rich cross-curricular resources. Within the platform, teachers can collaborate on content creation and giving rich feedback on student work.

Jimmy, our Global Head of English, explains that EP “effectively facilitates teacher collaboration on resources and assessment for learning. The platform allows for the easy compilation, curation and customisation of content and shared reliable data tracking for easy coordination around students’ progress.”

As the learning landscape continues to change and technology helps facilitate learning more effectively, taking a collaborative and individual focused approach can assist in rethinking learning and help design the best possible futures.

If you want to read more on Gonski’s report ‘Through Growth to Achievement: Report of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools’, the ABC has created a succinct summary of the 319-page docuent or download the full report.

Also, if you would like to read more on the Nz report ‘Our Schoolings Futures: Stronger Together’ by the Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce, you can download it here.