Assessing, recording and reporting students' educational progress: The case for profiles

Year: 1994

Author: Rowe, Kenneth J., Hill, Peter W., Holmes-Smith, Philip

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In response to persistent concerns about limitations in the exclusive use of traditional testing programs for student assessment and standards monitoring, there is now a widespread movement in many OECD countries for developing more "in context" and "authentic" approaches to educational assessment. For example, Newmann and Archbald (1990:164) argue that ". . . most data currently used to assess schools' performance, especially scores on standardised tests, fail to measure meaningful forms of human competence and that significantly new forms of assessment need to be developed".

One approach to addressing these concerns is the development of Subject Profiles for assessing, recording and reporting student progress-an approach in which Australia has taken a leading role. This paper defines what is meant by the term "Subject Profiles", provides a brief account of their historical origins, and indicates why and how Subject Profiles have been developed. In arguing the case for the use of Profiles in both monitoring and explanatory educational research, particular attention is given to their practical utility at the individual student level, as well as at the class, school and system levels. To this end the paper presents data from recent studies for 48,900 students in Preparatory to Year 10 drawn from 844 government, Catholic, independent primary and secondary schools, using the three strands of Reading, Writing, and Spoken Language from the Victorian English Profiles (Victoria, 1991) and the two strands of Space and Number from the Victorian Mathematics Profiles (Victoria, 1992).