Keynote speakers

Peter Bryant

Department of Education, University of Oxford

Peter Bryant is a developmental psychologist, whose research is about children's perception and their logical understanding. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Education in Oxford University and was previously the Watts Professor of Psychology in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the same university. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was the founding editor of the British Journal of Developmental Psychology and later the editor of Cognitive Development. His books include: Perception and Understanding in Young Children (Peter Bryant); Children's Reading Problems (Peter Bryant & Lynette Bradley); Rhyme and Reason in Reading and Spelling (Peter Bryant & Lynette Bradley), Phonological Skills and Learning to Read (Usha Goswami & Peter Bryant), Improving Literacy by Teaching Morphemes (Terezinha Nunes & Peter Bryant); Children Doing Mathematics (Terezinha Nunes & Peter Bryant) and Children's Reading and Spelling: Beyond the First Steps (Terezinha Nunes & Peter Bryant). He and Terezinha Nunes recently wrote a report for the Nuffield Foundation on Children's Understanding of Probability.

Mathematical Assessment and Mathematical Reasoning

Keynote lecture

The commonest kind of problem in most standardised tests of children's mathematical achievement is one in which the mathematical move that children are asked to make is clear and explicit. The children know from the start what they must do. The question is how well they manage to do it. This kind of item, therefore, is a measure of the children's ability to do a particular kind of calculation or to carry out a particular mathematical procedure. Yet, mathematical knowledge is, or at any rate should be, about underlying mathematical principles as well as about mathematical procedures, and children must also learn how to use these principles to reason about quantitative relations. This aspect of mathematical knowledge is easy to measure because over the years researchers have developed a rich variety of methods for investigating children's mathematical reasoning. The trouble is that designers of the most commonly used mathematical assessments have not taken advantage of this valuable resource, and have tended either to leave mathematical reasoning out of their tests altogether or to assign it a very minor role. This tendency to exclude tasks that measure children's mathematical reasoning from mathematical achievement tests seems misguided and even perverse to me, given the evidence that children's ability to reason mathematically plays an important part in their mathematical learning. I will discuss how techniques developed in research on reasoning can be transformed into items in a mathematical achievement test. I will also discuss what kinds of reasoning we ought to measure.

Petra Stanat

IQB Berlin

Petra Stanat is Director of the German Institute for Educational Quality Improvement (IQB) and Professor of Educational Psychology at the Humboldt University of Berlin. The IQB is in charge of national assessments in Germany. From 1998 to 2005, Petra Stanat was a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin where she coordinated PISA 2000 in Germany. Subsequently, she had appointments as Professor for Research on Learning and Instruction at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (2005 - 2007) and as Professor for Educational Research at the Freie Universität Berlin (2007 - 2010). Her research focuses on conditions of immigrant students' school success, equity issues in education, second-language teaching and learning, assessment of student performance in national and international comparison. Petra Stanat is a member of the Editorial Board of the Zeitschrift für Pädagogik [Journal of Education], a member of the Advisory Board of the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration, and she was recently elected as a member of the review board of the German Science Foundation for the research area of teaching-learning process and qualification process.

Monitoring Student Achievement: Potential and Challenges of the German Approach

Keynote lecture

The results from the PISA 2000 study came as a shock to Germany. The findings showed that student performance in German schools ranked below the OECD average and that the distance between the lowest performing and the highest performing students was larger than in most of the other OECD-countries participating in PISA. This was mainly due to the particularly low scores of the weakest students in the population. In addition, the performance disadvantages of students with low socio-economic status and immigration histories were quite large in international comparison. To improve this situation, policy makers in Germany decided to focus the attention of stakeholders in the school system more on the output side of educational processes than was previously the case. The ministries of education of the 16 German Laender introduced common educational standards describing the competencies and skills students are expected to have acquired by the time they reach important transition points in their school careers. The Institute for Educational Quality Improvement (IQB) at the Humboldt University of Berlin was founded by the Laender and entrusted with developing a national assessment system that determines on a regular basis, every 3-4 years, to what extent the standards are reached. As a central part of the Laender strategies for implementing the competence-oriented standards, moreover, classroom-level tests in grades 3 and 8 are carried out every year in all German schools. The IQB develops competence models to provide criterion-based feedback on student achievement at the system and the classroom level. The presentation will describe and discuss both the potential and the challenges of this approach to monitoring student achievement.


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