22 Apr 97
Corrie Bergeron

[quoting Koehl, 22 Apr 97] The current system is expensive in that, for the learner management to be effective, there must be a low student to professor/teacher ratio. One possibility is the down-sizing of degreed/certified instructional staff with smaller groups of these professionals designing instructional units which integrate curriculum with instruction (instructional design) and an increase in the numbers of teaching assistants/paraprofessionals who will handle the issues of learner management.

At the recent NCTM conference in Minneapolis, there was a great deal of discussion of portfolio assessment and other open-ended assessment methods. One presenter was brave enough to suggest that a typical teachers with five classes of thirty students each would be hard-pressed to fairly evaluate 150 student portfolios.

Derek seems to suggest that assessment should be handed off to TA "learner managers." I am uncomfortable with the idea of paraprofessionals doing subjective assessments. I would rather have professionals with extensive training in learning theory and cognitive development performing these open-ended assessments. Curricular materials should be developed by professionals of course, but could be delivered by paraprofessionals using appropriate technology. Then one needs professionally-developed assessment tools that can be objectively scored by non-professionals (or even by machine). Professional educators can then review the meaningful scores and prescribe appropriate coaching, remediation, or enrichment.

Hmm, sounds familiar.

Corrie Bergeron
Senior Courseware Designer
TRO Learning, Inc.

E-mail: corrie@tro.com