At the same time, in the international schools where I've taught, there has been a move away from summative assessment and towards formative assessment. Teachers are concerned about knowing what students are finding difficult as it helps to inform their practice and planning - there has been a shift from the assessment of learning to assessment for and assessment as learning and a movement towards giving students choices about the ways they show their understanding - away from a cookie cutter approach where all students are expected to do the same thing. More and more teachers are asking whether the move towards standardized tests prepares students for the future or simply freezes the students in the "traditional" education system. In countries like the UK and USA, where teachers are leaving the profession in huge numbers, questions have also been raised about whether the pressure to "perform" on standardized tests is driving talented teachers and administrators out of education and putting off young people who may be considering a career as a teacher.
Last year one of our goals at ASB was to personalize learning. We know that students are unique and that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work best. We are also aware that we want to encourage creative and innovative students, not just those who can give the right answer on tests. As we discuss educating students to be future world leaders we know that rigid systems inhibit us - our students need to be flexible to be able to thrive in a changing information age - they need to move forward not by regurgitating the status quo but by creating new knowledge and solutions.
At school both last year and this year students have engaged in Curiosity Projects and Day 9 "passion projects". Recently we've also discussed the importance of qualities such as persistence and resilience. In schools that have adopted the PYP and MYP programmes I've also seen a move towards transdisciplinary, interdisciplinary and multiisciplinary learning where connections are seen as increasingly important. The world needs creative and ingenious people and there are many examples of education systems that are valuing a more personal approach - however the general trend of the past few years has been towards more standardization.