The technology education curriculum in Ireland has gone through significant reform with the introduction of four new subject specifications at lower secondary level. These new subjects were implemented in September 2019 and denote a move from prescribed content and learning objectives to broader learning outcomes. With the challenges of assessment practices in technology subjects well documented, this curricular change has presented a unique opportunity to reflect on and consider how we capture and value features of technological capability. The pedagogical freedom afforded to teachers in interpreting the subject specifications is supported by the introduction of Classroom Based Assessments designed and implemented by the teacher. Therefore, the need emerges to explicate the features of quality necessary to mediate the teaching and learning agenda. This paper presents the rationale for a framework intended to guide teachers in formulating judgments in relation to levels of learner capability. As pupils learn and develop competency in the subject area, a shift occurs in terms of expectations of these capabilities. It is important that this progression is recognisable for both formative and summative assessment processes. Based on work in the area of reflective practice and learning, a typology is used to describe a shift from students being declarative, to being comparative, and finally to being critical. The nature of the assessment framework is such that it encourages the development of features of quality whilst simultaneously placing emphasis on learners’ cognition. Descriptors and characteristics of these dimensions are presented in the paper.
Keywords: formative assessment, features of quality, capability, teacher judgment.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Donal Canty, Niall Seery, Jeffrey Buckley, Ronan Dunbar
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