Today feels a bit like a breakthrough for me as an Assessment Leader. There is finally the slightest chink of light at the end of a very long tunnel. It’s assessment week next week, our first since making “the change” to using Age Related Expectations. It’s a week I had been dreading, if I’m honest, as I seemed to be going round and round in circles and getting nowhere. Suddenly, things are starting to fall into place. Not completely, but I’m starting to get somewhere. It’s quite a relief, really. We have bought in some commercial tests for maths, reading and GPS and have now devised some kind of system for assessing writing. I’m not entirely sure it’s going to work, but hey, at least I know what I am going to do next week.
I think for me, the biggest relief is being able to answer some questions. My poor teaching partners have been thrown in the deep end: while everyone else is still happily plodding along assessing with levels, oblivious to our pain, we have been trying to get to grips with not mentioning the dreaded ‘L’ word. My partners have wanted, understandably, to know how we were going to assess, what we were going to use, and what the expectation was of our children. “I don’t know” hadn’t been giving them the reassurance they needed. Today, at least I could present them with a pile of tests (far too many really, but we have to give them a try) and options for recording their writing assessments. To be fair, I have instilled a slight sense of fear and panic in them, but their panic is far less than I have been feeling of late.
I’m feeling quite proud too, that I have come up with this system myself. I know that there are going to be tweaks galore in the coming few weeks, and reporting all of this is Pupil Progress meetings and to parents is another mystery which I have unravel, but that’s a job for half term. You can’t decide what to do with data until you have it – that’s my theory. There’s a whole world of Target Tracker charts and tables for me to investigate now, just after I’d got to grips with the old ones. Reporting on progress this term is an impossibility, but at least, for the time being, it’s one less thing to worry about. I’ve got a week at home to get this lot sorted, so I can go back to school and fill my colleagues with confidence. Sometimes, it’s good to sit down with others and talk things through. Having that opportunity has really helped me today, and I know that there is a lot more talking to be done. But for me now, I need to have the time to go away with a pile of tests and books, a load of numbers and then figure out what to do with them. I need to sit and crunch some figures, highlight some boxes and make some sense of it all. And then, once I’ve come out of my data hidey-hole, I can sit down and convince the rest of my team that I know exactly what I’m talking about.
You never know, I may even convince myself!