[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.