A reflection on the impact of the Commission on Assessment Without Levels Report – DfE and STA 17th September 2015.
Teacher assessment is an exercise in teaching and learning not a prediction of how pupils will perform in a test.
A good assessment routine in school will not be solely based on teacher assessment or conversely, frequent formal testing of curriculum knowledge.
Assessment in school needs to cover all bases.
• Identify – Knowledge and skills for improvement
• Inform – planning, classroom organisation, reports to parents and governors, class and school expectations
• Diagnose – the needs of individual pupils and inform decisions about the use of interventions, specialist support
• Feedback – to pupils, support self-assessment, against measurable/identified success criteria
• Measure – quantitively and qualitatively provide evidence
• Confirm – with school progress measures, accepted and upheld (researched, respected and evidenced) educational trajectories of progress and development and with the statutory requirements that aim to create a national level playing field
• Evaluate – knowledge and skills
• Monitor – the impact of interventions, teaching methods, the curriculum and use of resources including teaching assistants and specialist teachers
• Comply – with statutory requirements, align school assessments with national standards and, in the case of SATs, GCSE and A Level exams, be administered fairly to a strict code of conduct
• Motivate – teachers and pupils by recognising achievements
Assessments should give a holistic overview of every pupil and include many methods of obtaining evidence, information and data.
• Formative (continuous Teacher Assessment), recognising pupil achievement/progress, planning next steps, setting targets
• Ipsative, measuring pupil’s progress against own previous achievement, and against pupils with similar baselines (value added)
• Summative (e.g. SATs), recording overall pupil achievement in a systematic way against identified criteria
• Diagnostic, identifying pupil strengths/weaknesses to inform planning for appropriate intervention
• Evaluative, feedback on specific actions to address gaps in learning/progress
As an additional assessment, tests that recognise potential, like CAT tests could be useful to identify possible potential and highlight underachievement.
No test is perfect, no assessment method is perfect. But when a school or teacher can talk their way around the use of all the methods of assessment that support the teaching and learning in their school; it’s as close to perfection as we’ll get!