Fairer Assessment for Indigenous Students: An Australian Perspective
Drawing on the largest collection and analysis of empirical data on multiple facets of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education in state schools to date, this chapter critically analyses the systemic push for standardised testing and improved scores in Australia, and argues for a greater balance of assessment types. Alternative, inclusive, participatory approaches to student assessment are recommended. Research evidence from a major evaluation of the Stronger Smarter Learning Communities (SSLC) project conducted by a Core Evaluation Team based at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Faculty of Education underpins this argument for fairer assessment and ethical leadership. This evaluation presents the first large-scale picture of what is occurring in classroom assessment and pedagogy for Indigenous students; however the focus in this chapter remains on leadership and student assessment. Additional evidence is drawn from an Australian Research Council Linkage project that sought to explore ways to improve learning outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students through fairer assessment practices. At a time of unrelenting high-stakes, standardised testing in Australia with a dominance of secondary as opposed to primary uses of student achievement data by systems, schools and leaders, formative as well as summative purposes of assessment are called for with more alternative student assessment incorporated in teachers’ pedagogic practices to cater for increased student diversity and to recognise the cultural needs of Indigenous students.
KeywordsStudent assessment Fairness Accountability Testing Indigenous education
The author would like to acknowledge the joint funding arrangement between the Australian Research Council, Queensland University of Technology, the Independent Schools of Queensland and the Catholic Education Diocese of Townsville.
Acknowledgement is also made for the funding received from the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the evaluation and research completed by the members of the Core Research Team.
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