Helping young people with fragile learner identities rebuild their confidence in their ability to learn is a key task for education and training in this phase. Not to do so runs the risks that these young people will ‘retreat,’ avoid engagement with further learning and risk social exclusion in the future.
Issue For those with fragile learner identities, how to move beyond unsuccessful experiences and build self-confidence whilst perhaps tackling a similar set of learning challenges?
Assessment, learning and selection
Transition, choice, constraint and identity development for young people is already a strong mixture, but when you add in ‘high stakes assessment’ the brew becomes particularly potent. The problems associated with over- assessment in this phase are widely acknowledged. However, even the form and purpose of assessment associated with particular types of learning and qualifications cannot be considered in isolation. We need to consider how different types of assessment inter-relate. There can be unintended consequences elsewhere in the system, and certain forms of assessment may constrain some types of learning.
The value of an assessment outcome can be judged in four ways:
Does it recognise achievement?
Is it helpful in selection?
Does it encourage further learning and skill development?
Does it give access to further education and training?
Issue How can independent, self-aware learning be supported through formative assessment whilst societal requirements for the certification of capability and selection are also met?
Different forms of assessment facilitate particular outcomes over others, while some qualifications are more rewarding for some learners than for others, and have different effects on their motivation. Another concern should be with striking the right balance between nurturing deep learning processes and crediting immediate learning outcomes. All young people should leave this phase with some positive learning experiences and an awareness of the circumstances in which they learn best.
Issue Can a system be devised so that the cumulative effects of learning and assessment in this phase provide a strong platform for lifelong learning for all learners?