Second International School On Mind, Brain And Education

2008, May 22-26

Basic and applied topics
in biological rhythms and learning

Directors: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Program officer: María Lourdes Majdalani

Abstract: Franz Riffert
University of Salzburg. AUSTRIA

The module approach to self-evaluation of school development processes (MSS) – A Whiteheadian perspective
External standardized testing has become a global phenomenon. It has spread from the USA to most European states as well as to Japan, Korea and even to India and China.
First Alfred North Whitehead’s critical remarks on external standardized testing will be presented. His main points are that such testing undermines the freedom of the teachers to adapt to the complex, context specific circumstances in order to obtain the maximum of a creative learning process in the students. Instead external standardized testing leads to ‘teaching to the test’. As a consequence the attitude of creative, adventurous exploration is undermined and substituted by simple pattern recognition, narrow visions, and even boredom; the final outcome is what Whitehead had termed inert knowledge.
Second the question is raised whether there is any possibility to develop an evaluation tool which on the one hand meets scientific test criteria, and on the other hand is still flexible enough to be accommodated to the needs of the single schools and not vice versa as is the case at present with external testing. That such a flexible approach to evaluation is possible is demonstrated by the presentation of the basic concepts of the MSS (module approach to self-evaluation of school development processes) which was developed and successfully tested in about a dozen of Austrian high schools by the speaker and his colleagues at the University Salzburg, Austria.