Taking a holistic view - it's complex, not complicated

A key facet of Comparative Judgement is the focus of any assessment around a holistic statement. A holistic statement plays a crucial role in guiding the assessment process. Unlike traditional assessment methods that rely on specific criteria or rubrics, comparative judgement uses holistic statements to evaluate the overall quality of an artifact, such as a piece of student work.

2024 - a new focus on Holistic Assessment

A recent post for the Cambridge Assessment Newtork made some predictions for the coming year and beyond in the world of assessment. Specifically, this expert group identified five key areas for growth - one of these was Holistic assessment.

"To succeed in the modern society, including in the workplace, young people need to complete their education with more than the academic knowledge, skills and understanding assessed in traditional school subjects."

This group believes that a number of global drivers are promoting assessment practices that recognise the whole learner - they are not alone.

Recognising complexity

We have written a bit about the difference between complexity and complication in the past. We know that there is a disconnect between the complexity of the learner experience and the complication of the assessment system and processes. Many believe that new technological advances will be better able to able to bridge this gap. In doing so we should be able to better recognise, support and reward learner complexity.

There is a lot of hope of course that Artificial Intelligence will be the key here - it's potential certainly looks promising and we are already seeing some exciting innovation. As we have noted before there is still a lot to learn here, not least around matters of dignity in assessment.

Understanding the RM Compare Holistic Statement

The holistic statement allows judges to consider the multidimensional aspects of the work, including its complexity and the extent to which it achieves its communicative goal. This approach is particularly suited to assess multidimensional artifacts, as it allows judges to rely on their expertise when comparing texts in a holistic manner

The holistic nature of the judgement also ensures that individual judge severity is overcome because the judgement process is focused on the 'relative merit' of the artifacts being compared. This means that the judgement is not based on absolute standards but on the relative quality of the artifacts in comparison to each other.

In essence, the role of the holistic statement in the comparative judgement process is to provide a comprehensive, overall impression of the quality of the work, taking into account its various dimensions and the context in which it is created. This approach allows for a more nuanced and flexible assessment process that can better capture the complexity and richness of the artifacts being judged

What next?

We very much welcome a renewed focus on holistic assessment and believe that Adaptive Comparative Judgement can play a part in its success. This view is shared by many of our users who are already using the system in new and exciting ways.

We are continuing to develop the RM Compare system with our partners. We continue to be driven by our core purpose. This is important work.