Main menu

Innovative assessment tools and methods - Germany

Innovative assessment concepts and methods in practice vary according to the education policies of the 16 federal states on the one hand and to the institutional and human resource related conditions in the individual regions on the other. The overall tendencies observed on a supranational level can be subdivided into three categories and summarised as follows:

  1. The first tendency is marked by an increasing orientation towards development norms and theories being less and less regarded as evaluation standards for individual performance discrepancies of an average norm. Instead, efforts to understand pupils’ newly developed capacities to act as an intermediate stage within their developmental process and to subsequently prognosticate their next stage in the sense of further progress are increasingly shifting into focus. Both descriptive approaches, which deal with progress-related manifestations (e.g. development of a child’s phonation) and explanative theories, which explain the principles of development and thus provide a basis for the conception of beneficial learning situations (e.g. semantic and cognitive development) are gaining foothold. Essentially, the advantage of this tendency manifests itself in the fact that special needs concepts can be tailored to the initial conditions and development prospects of the individual child.
  2. The second tendency points towards an increasing environmental orientation. So far, the child itself has always represented the focal point of assessment concepts and methods in school practice, whereas now environmental aspects are increasingly coming into the fore as they have been found to influence children’s development strongly. This new approach concentrates on questions relating to the aspects which determine and uphold special educational needs. Before this background systematic examinations of child/environment analysis on a methodical level are noticeably gaining in importance. Looking at this development, one of the positive aspects appears to be the hindsight that factors related to the child’s environment have a noteworthy impact on the emergence of special educational needs. This further implies that the exigency to orient support concepts towards shaping extrinsic environmental conditions (instead of only directing them to the child’s personal changes) has been well acknowledged.
  3. Finally, the opinion is more and more asserting itself that educational learning concepts should no longer be directed at a fictional average child. Instead, it is necessary to adapt them to the individual initial learning preconditions. In the context of special educational needs this applies all the more as prejudicial constraints regarding the individual initial preconditions as well as environmental conditions can manifest themselves quite differently. The growing response on a methodical level projects a continuous follow-up of the individual learning and progress potentialities which must serve as a basis for the establishment of individual education plans. In most Länder such individual education plans for children with special educational needs are presently being officially demanded. In some Länder education plans are in the process of being developed for children without special educational needs (e.g. in the form of learning plans), however they are not yet considered as a mandatory constituent of educational work.
  • LinkedIn
  • Google +