Curriculum and Assessment for the Knowledge Society: Interrogating

Curriculum and Assessment for the Knowledge Society: Interrogating

Knowledge Society is one of the most pervasive concepts in the rhetoric of educational reform. The knowledge society is neither a stable nor a well-defined concept. Its boundaries are fluid, but its power is undeniable and ubiquitous. As such it is functioning as discourse within educational reform, and a public discourse within the policy making and framing public. Two cases are of interest. In Queensland, the state government has responded in innovative and challenging ways to national demands for greater consistency in education. The development of the Queensland Assessment Task, with a focus on the computer-based response, will illustrate how a different approach to assessment can help to illuminate complex learning for the knowledge society. This important research into curriculum and assessment, design and development has helped to inform the state’s recent plans to implement a Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Framework in Years 1-10 that includes new-form dimensions of curriculum and assessment.

In Ireland, the ‘most globalised nation on earth’, sustaining the recently established ‘celtic tiger’ economy and ‘keeping ahead of the curve’ have put enormous pressures on the traditionally inert school system. Ireland’s current social revolution has seen immigration replace emigration, one third of all births to single parents, and a population enjoying one of the highest per capita disposable incomes. Such change has exerted immense pressures on curriculum and assessment development. The ambitious reform proposals for upper-secondary education for example, recently published by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, reflect the considerable influence of the knowledge society discourse. The paper raises questions of whether what is transacting is less the re-form of curriculum than the emergence of new-form curriculum where ‘content’ is displaced by ‘skills’ and ‘knowledge acquisition’ by ‘learning’. In this context, assessment also begins to take on new-form, with a focus on assessment that engages and promotes learning.


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  • July 19, 2018 Create Date
  • July 19, 2018 Last Updated