When I took on the role of Assessment Leader, I didn’t fully think through the implications of what it would involve. Always happy to create a table or a graph with pretty colours, in my naivety, I thought I would be in my element. Two years down the line, and it’s a pretty lonely place to be. My head is constantly full of ideas and “what ifs” and questions, none of which are any closer to getting answers. What I really need to do is sit down and thrash out ideas with someone, but I’m not sure anyone at school is any closer to having the answers than I am. So today, I’m appealing to that wealth of knowledge and understanding that exists in the Twittersphere. I’m sure there are many schools out there who are close to perfecting an assessment system. Ours isn’t one of them.

Our school adopted Target Tracker as our tracking system 12 months ago, and I was hoping that this may provide some help in assessing against Age Related Expectations. We are investigating using the bank of Statements on Target Tracker to generate a “level”, but it could be very time consuming and formulaic (i.e. 1/3 of the year’s objectives should be secure by Christmas, 2/3 by Easter – very crude, I know). We are also looking at different tests to use in maths and reading, but are they going to be helpful? How do we know what expected ATTAINMENT is at different points in the year? If I carry out a maths test in term 1, is it going to give me a judgement against the whole of the year’s objectives? In which case, what’s the point of doing it if every child is going to come out with “working below expectations”? The more I start investigating possibilities, the less sure I am of what we should be doing. It’s my day off today, and all I can think about is the different maths tests I have been looking at and the questions I need to answer about them. It’s driving me mad.

At the start of term 3, my year group switched from assessing against levels, and we are about to carry out our first assessment week against Age Related Expectations in 3 weeks. Whilst my year group colleagues are becoming familiar with the New Curriculum, they are going to be looking to me very soon for answers about how we are going to assess our children. And I can’t give them. So, wonderful Twitter people, I turn to you for some guidance. Any support you can offer would be massively appreciated, especially in regard to the following questions:

  1. How do you determine where your children should be at your assessment points in the year?
  2. Are you using published tests to generate your assessments, or using teacher assessment? If you are assessing yourself, are you creating a judgement against the whole year’s objectives?
  3. How are you showing progress for the more able children who are secure against there ARE midway through the year?

I know that every school in the country will be battling against questions such as these, so if anyone has managed to come up with any answers, I would love to hear from you.

Thank you in advance, lovely Twitter people.

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8 thoughts on “Assessment in crisis

  1. Hi there

    I’m leading on assessment at our primary school and can give you some answers to your questions. Have an email address?

    One piece of advice straight away is to distinguish between an assessment system and a tracking system. These work together but they’re not the same thing. An assessment system should be at the heart of learning in the school in terms of planning and teaching. However a tracking system should be the result of all this rather than drive it. We have done lots of work assessing the new curriculum against year group content and assessing where pupils are in terms of that year group expectations. I’m happy to go into more details with you on the phone or by email

    Best wishes
    Beth

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