Another dot in the blogosphere?

Forward and backward

Posted on: November 11, 2018

The report and the official press release on the latest changes to direct school admissions (DSAs) were interesting reads.

I appreciate the removal of barriers like fees and academic tests. DSAs are supposed to focus on abilities and traits outside of academics. Students who get into schools of their choice based on DSA are only there provisionally; their stay is confirmed only if the Primary School Leaving Examination results are good enough.

I also the removal of administrative hassles. Parents can now use and submit one online form instead of dealing with different forms for each school. They also may not need to provide certificates and transcripts because these can be provided via shared databased.

Both the measures above are steps forward. But I wonder if there is a step backward. Specifically, might students need to rely less on portfolios to provide evidence of talents or aptitudes since there is a standard form and data sharing?

Portfolios are not the only source of evidence as schools can opt to conduct interviews, observations, and performance evaluations to gauge students. However, portfolios are (or should be) owned by learners to showcase their products and processes of learning.

At the moment, the use of portfolios seems marginal. I hope schools do not just rely on their processes and centrally sanctioned procedures to evaluate students. After all, the point is towards the individual merits and talents of each child. And that should start with what that child owns.

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