EDS 113 Module 2: Reinventing the (assessment) triangle

In Lorna Earl’s webinar Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind (27 April 2006), she labelled and compared the three major assessments teachers (and students) employ. She presented how they are formatted and applied, according to given and perceived importance in most institutions and society in general.

The traditional triangle that has assessment of occupying the priority hierarchy, assessment for in the middle, and at the tip is assessment as, she believes, is outdated and inconsistent with the modern global education we need to be advocating in this age. She further stressed that new educators need to begin putting more emphasis into teaching techniques in knowledge acquisition, rather than feeding straight facts.

Instead of teaching our planet is round, teachers need to be asking their students why does the horizon decrease in size with distance, what is perspective, and visual
demonstrations of the different possible shapes of the earth to arrive at a conclusion, Dr Earl argued. Students need to reflect, analyze then assert. Metacognition is vital, and the reinvention of the “teaching wheel”, or more accurately, this traditional triangle need to be changed.

She suggested, and I agree like most of us I presume, that assessment as learning should be the most encouraged form of assessment, as it is done by the self, and is voluntary. Here, she said that students no matter the age need to take charge by taking an active role in their own learning; being aware of what goes in must be mentally processed, and should come out better.

It might be safe to say that Dr Earl’s call towards reinforcing assessment as learning is to cure widespread indifference in the learning sector. We see it everyday– the college graduate who, despite 14 years of education, finds himself underequipped, scared and generally clueless; the student who only “studies” for an exam, then lets go after the test; the preschooler who is reprimanded for incorrect answers, and the uncreative employee who knows nothing but go by the book may well be our future if teachers do not start teaching the “important stuff they don’t teach you in school”. In the very classroom we are all supposed to learn skills and the ways of life, both teachers and learners need to be proactive.

Then you could call self assessment as the ultimate learning hack.



Earl, L. (2006 April 27). Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind [webinar]. In Webcast for Educators. Retrieved from http://www.curriculum.org/k-

2 thoughts on “EDS 113 Module 2: Reinventing the (assessment) triangle

  1. It seems so easy to say this is the kind of assessments and learning we have to give our students today, and essentially I agree with what you are saying, but it’s so difficult to do, especially because so much of our system of education is all about grades, and rankings, and in the end, assessments of learning is what will get you into college or graduate school. How can you give your students the freedom to build their own knowledge and still grade all of them fairly against a standard scale? What’s more, teacher have to be taught to teach this way. I do my best to give authentic assessments (graded tasks that mimic real world projects) but they’re hard to prepare for and evaluate because I was never assessed this way when I was learning. I think we still have a ways to go to achieve this reinvention.


    • Your comment made me remember this international school who in Quezon City that, from what I have heard, successfully taught the “soft core” of curriculum and aims to breed ethical and mentally sound students, but has failed over and over in the “hard core stuff”: acceptance of its population in the top tier universities, and its less than stellar performance in inter- international schools contests. The most telling of questions is: if you are a parent, would you enroll your child here?

      Ina, I have so much of the colloquial “feels” (a.k.a. hugot) with what you said and how you do your assessments, and I can guarantee that most of us budding (and studying) educators here are caught in the same professional paradox. But I think assessment as learning is not as simplistic as the ’emotional, genuine education’ we think of it as; the “teaching with a heart” will what some of us will put it, but is a mechanism that can work alongside the more traditional assessment of learning. In the classroom level, teaching how- to self monitor and its importance: the power of academic reflection actually will inevitably help the traditional cause: to excel in standardized tests (assessments of learning). If one is as critical to be capable of self regulation then we have young wisdom, which is the essence of gearing the person towards independence now, and more later in life (which is something I would like to see in my students).

      The suggested revolution of the triangle, from my own take, is not a rebellion against these tests, they measure something that is why they are there, but to reverse the priority level of how they are perceived. That in the classroom, teachers should encourage critical thinking among students to serve as assessments as learning, and incite a classroom culture of why this kind of mentality is all encompassing across all academic endeavors.

      Liked by 1 person

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