Waikato Journal of Education


Observations of the demands on the work of teachers created by a year long trial implementation of unit standards in secondary schools highlighted an initial tendency for the assessment requirements to dominate teaching and the need for teachers to develop new strategies and systems to combine assessment with teaching, track the achievements of individual students and cope with the practical requirements of re-assessment. Towards the end of the trial some evidence was noted of teachers reducing the quality of the evidence on which assessments were based in order to cope with the demands on their time. The implications of this experience for teacher education, where unit standards are to be applied, are considered. It is argued that the problems noted in secondary schools will need to be addressed but the costs of compliance are likely to be greater because the teacher education unit standards, on which judgements are required, contain more detailed and numerous performance criteria, many of which will need to be assessed in more than one course, often taught by different departments, and during practical teaching. Three ways in which the difficulties might be resolved are proposed.


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