3.3 Improve your assessment: Human rights, social justice and climate action

Assessment in ESD should always support transformative and change-oriented learning approaches and significant learning. An ESD approach to engage with topics such as climate change involves supporting learners to become more engaged with environmental stewardship, to develop the capacity for future thinking, to engage with complex issues, and to develop ethics and values for people and planetary well-being. This course emphasised engaging in sustainable development actions and active learning processes to engage with learners in the Life Orientation class within the context of climate change . Assessing these learning processes requires the capacity to design assessments that are congruent with the learning objectives of ESD, whilst bringing awareness and addressing climate change symptoms.

ESD educators are not only concerned with the assessment of learning, but also with assessment for learning, which means that they prefer their assessment approaches to also foster and strengthen the learning process. Hence, we can also talk of learning-centred assessment. Such assessment is often formative (i.e. it takes place during the learning process), but can also be summative (i.e. take place at the end of the learning process).

Below is the adapted Dee Fink (2003) model that demonstrates how to assess ‘significant’ learning within your Life Orientation lessons. We encourage you to apply this to your Life Orientation assessments.