Too often in schools, ICT skill assessment looks like this: teacher uses a particular ICT skill in the course, student then demonstrates competency in the ICT skill to the teacher, teacher then reports (to student, parent, school, Dept.) that the student can do/understands how to do the ICT skill. What is missing here in this classic scenario? 'Student voice' is the crucial missing element. In today's world, our students need to be telling us, as educators, what ICT skills are being learnt and why, when, where and by whom they are being taught these skills. At Taroona High, our teachers are developing their skills in teaching ICT. As in all schools, our teachers are quite diverse in their ICT teaching expertise and experience. It makes sense that it should not only be the teachers who are learning how to teach ICT skills, but our students should also be consciously recognising how, why, when, where and by whom they are learning particular ICT skills in the classroom. We have found a method that allows our teachers to teach ICT and assess whether their students are demonstrating ICT competency and, at the same time, give our students a ''voice' in the assessment and reporting process. In their senior years, we give a list of 24 ICT skills to our students. We explain to them what each ICT skill might look like when it is seen in the classroom (eg an end product or process demonstrating the skills). We then put the responsibility onto the students to identify when they have adequately demonstrated the ICT skill to one of their teachers. By doing this, it is the student who is self-regulating, self-assessing and having a 'voice' in what they have learnt at school. After, the student has filled out their form highlighting the subject area, project conducted, teacher and date when they have demonstrated the various skills, then they give their form to their teachers for signing off the highlighted skills. It is this part of the process where the teacher needs to read what the student has written on their form. The teacher then will sign the skill if they believe the student did successfully demonstrate competence in the ICT skill. From here, many important things may happen. All these things are crucial to building teacher and student ICT knowledge and for teachers to understand if students know what they have learnt in the classroom. These include: A) the students are having a 'voice' and telling their teachers the various ICT skills that they are teaching them (good learning for the teacher who may not know which skills they are teaching and how they are teaching these skills in their classroom). B) the teachers are in a position to 'check' that their students do actually know which skills have been taught to them throughout the year (eg has the student correctly identified the ICT skills that was delivered to them in the History assignment?) C) a wonderful conversation will take place with the student explaining to the teacher how they now know the particular ICT skill and they can then tell their teacher how they showed the skill (eg in the Maths assignment). D) the teacher is also in the position where they can give honest feedback to the student, explaining why they believe the student has/has not successfully demonstrate the ICT skill in the assignment highlighted on the student's form (and can explain what the student now needs to do to have the ICT skill signed off).
To further enhance 'student voice', we also encourage our students to take the ICT skills form home and to sit down with their parents. It is here that the student and parent can discuss the ICT skills and can, together, have a discussion around which ICT skills the parent and child both agree that the child is competent with. This is important as it gives the student a chance to talk with their parent around their ability to act responsibly and safely online and the child can share their strengths and weaknesses with their parent in an open discussion. The parent can also give feedback to their child and the parent will be acquiring information that they may not have otherwise been able to receive. The child will feel empowered as they have had a 'voice' in the situation.
Please note that on top of this process, teachers are independently assessing and reporting on whether their students are demonstrating the 24 ICT skills competently in their classroom, but this 'student voice' process just gives a wonderful addition to the traditional 'teacher only' assessment of ICT competency that has existed for many years.