Description and objectives
As part of the activities of the IIEP Learning Portal, the IIEP-BA organized the e-Forum: Standardized assessment and improving learning. This free event took place over five days in May and was delivered in Spanish.
The objectives of the event were to give the participants the opportunity to discuss the various uses of assessments in improving learning, to present innovative experiences in Latin America and to generate a forum for debate, with systematic adoption and update on the main areas of discussion.
Via the Virtual Campus the following activities were carried out:
- Presentations by guest lecturers in simulcast.
- Synchronous debate (chat/twitter) with lecturers.
- Academic debating fora (asynchronous) with moderation by tutors.
- Building of a (geo-localized) database by participants to record assessment experiences for improving learning in Latin America.
- Organization and exploration of a digital resources repository.
According to the objectives being pursued, a virtual platform was designed. Priority was given to the building of networks between participants. The range of polysynchronous activities allowed geographical boundaries and time zones to be overcome and helped to promote interaction between experts and participants. The platform was a user-friendly open access platform (requiring prior registration) using a set of Web 2.0 tools. The use of social networks (Twitter, Facebook and a microblog) and geo-localization was also incorporated into the site.
Preparation and implementation
Before the launch alterations were to the site's design and technological functionality, the registration process was opened and a help desk for queries was set up. The e-Forum was disseminated on the IIEP-BA's page and via social networks.
During the e-Forum, social networks helped to disseminate the lectures, which were given by recognized experts in the region, and to receive questions. A team of tutors, specifically formed for the task, was responsible for reading and selecting questions.
Substantial activity toop place within the academic fora, where participants could access and share their opinions throughout the course of the week. Participation was structured around two main themes:
Theme 1: Standardized assessment, which began on Monday 30 May and ended on Wednesday 1 June. The participants reflected on the trends, objectives and challenges remaining in Latin America in relation to standardized assessments. The debate was based around two questions:
- To what extent do advances in the implementation of standardized assessment systems in the region allow us to better understand the teaching and learning processes taking place in schools?
- What challenges can be observed in the implementation of those assessment systems to understand them from an overall perspective?
Theme 2: Improving learning, which began on Wednesday 1 June and ended on Friday 3 June. This was aimed at exchanging experiences over the various uses of assessments and their implications in terms of improving education from a regional perspective. Some of the questions proposed for the debate were:
- What practices are used to analyze and disseminate assessment results? What are the most appropriate strategies for optimizing the impact on the implementation of learning improvement policies?
- How can the results of standardized assessments be used to improve learning?
- To what extent are assessments used to reflect on and enrich curricular content?
- What strategies are necessary for teacher appropriation of assessment results and for re-thinking matters relating to the teaching/learning process?
A total of 2,754 people from over 25 countries registered.
Participants came principally from schools, universities, Ministries of Education, teacher training institutions, education assessment officers, international organizations and teaching unions.
Of the total number registered, at least 2,000 participants were fully active. Between them, they generated 1,303 forum contributions and 2,074 questions and comments on Twitter, fora and the microblog. The main hashtag had more than 1,500 tweets and a reach of 52,500 impressions (number of times that users saw the tweets). The platform had more than 41,000 hits from 26 May to 7 June.
The forum for experiences around standardized assessment and improving learning brought together 19 initiatives put forward by participants. The lectures were seen more than 6,800 times, both live and recorded. There were also 15 transmission nodes in 5 countries: Argentina, Mexico, Guatemala, Paraguay and Spain. This refers to institutions that made group rebroadcasts of the e-forum attended by Ministries of Education, planning departments, educational assessment institutes and universities.
At the end of the event, a satisfactory survey was launched and was completed by 635 respondents. The majority stated that the event provided them with relevant knowledge prompting them to rethink their professional practices and helped to raise awareness of the importance of planning in education policies.