Dr. Nerijus Pačėsa
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Dr. N. Pačėsa: we value creativity at work, and standards at school

The current teaching and assessment system in schools suggests to those studying (and teaching) that there is only one correct solution and answer; one has to know it and repeat it. However, as soon as the school doors are closed, assessment changes drastically. Life skills become prominant. We, as a society, including employers, have come to expect our employees to demonstrate initiative and creativity; raising the question, would you like to live in such a dual reality? Probably not. Students are also alien to these double standards, which is why we have deteriorating results, growing demotivation, and dissatisfaction.

The opposition between attitudes in society and in school deserves closer examination. In so doing, it will afford us a better understanding of why and what changes are required.

Mechanistic vs holistic worldview

In the future, flexibility and versatility will be highly valued qualities – people will change their careers more often, more and more specialists will choose to work for themselves and decide how, when and with whom they want to cooperate. This means that flexibility and integrity must be programmed early in school. Furthermore, society is beginning to better understand and value integrity. A holistic approach is applied in more and more diverse industries and commerse, from organizational management to medicine, the ability to look deeper and wider, to look for causal relationships, perhaps invisible at first glance, but is appreciated.

The entire working and social environment shows that school must change. It is important to understand that the criterion-referenced, standards-oriented perception ends. This is the reality of the mechanistic world, when defining the task, delivering the expected result and measuring it was enough. Now it is the other way around, increasingly, within the workplace, we value creativity, initiative, and the opportunity for everyone to contribute holistically, their added value.

How we are evaluated will change – solutions are already being sought

However, schools continue to push students into a framework that says there is only one right answer, one right way to solve, and one right way to be assessed and evaluated – a grade. A number or letter + or – that essentially determines what you are capable of and able to do.

The purpose of change is not to deny any previous principles that met the needs of that time, but to redefine and align with the realities of both the present and the future.

What should a new system of assessment and evaluation look like? It should definitely measure the student’s general competencies, such ascritical and creative thinking, communication and teamwork skills. By combining a structured assessment system of general competences, that reflects and captures academic knowledge, understanding, comprehension, application and creativity (Blooms Taxonomy), we would have an index of a student‘s education, which is measured not only by grades, but by skills, activities, initiative and creativity.

It is encouraging that such systems are no longer just being talked about – a plethora of initiatives and solutions are being developed that will better provide such a student profile.

When this idea resonates in the international baccalaureate system, which unites the most advanced schools, one begins to understand that the environment is ready for change. Private educational institutions, which introduce innovations with a boldness and swiftness, will become the catalyst for change, which hopefully will shake up the entire public education sector.