SHOWING THE PATH TO SUCCESS -ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING IN CONTEXTUAL PEDAGOGICAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
Most teachers and researches agree that assessment for learning can help raise teaching quality, improve the learning experience for students and increase student`s outcomes. (Fjortoft 2012; Meriläinen & Piispanen 2013; Wiliam 2012) According to Finnish National Core Curriculum for Basic Education (2004, 260), the task of assessment during the course of studies are to guide and encourage studying and to depict how well the student has met the objectives established for growth and learning. It is the task of assessment to help the student form a realistic image of his/her learning and development, and thus to support the student´s personality growth, too.
In transformational pedagogical settings the assessment will be seen as learning itself contrary to traditional pedagogic where assessment is seen as information of learning. According to Piispanen & Meriläinen (2013) in the model of Contextual-pedagogical approach towards learning the assessing criteria will be visible and well known already in the beginning of the learning process. It is important to begin the planning process by identifying the learning goals and criteria for successful learning. After that the task and activity designing process is easy to accomplish so that the tasks and activities will help students to achieve these goals. Assessing will act as a tool for guiding students through the learning path –the learning aims will come true through the learning tasks based on assessing criteria. This is, as Meriläinen & Piispanen (2012) states, particularly important in order to make students understand and recognize what are the learning expectations and how will the assessment come true. In essence, assessment occurs at all stages in the learning process and is beneficial for both the students and the teacher.
This article examines pedagogical changes in different learning contexts as well questions of assessment in these contexts with the help of the model of Contextual pedagogical approach towards learning (Meriläinen & Piispanen 2012; Meriläinen, Piispanen & Valli 2013). When working in learning environments based on Contextual pedagogical approach towards learning, the teacher will emphasize trans-disciplinary approach to curriculum, enhance student’s individuality and creativity in different learning situations and support both content knowledge as well as 21st Century civil skills knowledge to develop hand in hand. The assessment will occur at all stages in the learning process and will guide students to assess themselves to improve learning throughout the learning process.