A few weeks ago, I sent out a desperate plea for help with my assessment system at school. This post turned out to be one of my most read and sparked lots of conversation on Twitter. Luckily for me, it caught the eye of Michael Tidd, who turned out to be something of a knight in shining armour. He was able to put me in touch with a group of people with whom he had been working on developing an assessment system. You’ll forgive me, I’m sure, for being cagey here, but I don’t want to talk out of turn about their work. What is important here is the ethos and the inspiration I witnessed. A colleague and I spent an afternoon talking with a Director of Primary Education, a Head of Teaching and Learning and the Assistant Principal of one of the schools involved. The knowledge they had about assessment in general, the principles behind it and the system they had developed was phenomenal. I left the meeting feeling genuinely in awe of them. Their assessment system had been developed by teachers and for teachers: it was something that I could have potentially done in my school, had I had the wherewithal to do so. However, I have neither the skills nor the knowledge to do what they did. Nor do I have the skills to lead the staff in my school to devise such a system. However, I am very excited to have become involved, and have vowed to up the reading levels so that I can go some way to building up a knowledge base somewhere near that which these people have.
I have been thinking, in recent weeks, about the course that I want my career to take. I’m still not entirely sure, but after my meeting last week, I am starting to become clearer. I want to become involved in a project like theirs: I want to play a part in creating something that can potentially make the lives of many teachers easier. Whilst we are undergoing something of a nightmare transition period in assessment, now could also be an incredibly exciting time for us. I want to know everything there is to possibly know about assessment, to be completely on top of my game, to be a part of something new. I’m not saying I want to leave the classroom; I think I want the best of both worlds. For now, I’m happy to play a tiny part in helping those people who have inspired me and given me an enormous shove in the right direction along my assessment path in school. I have no idea where these grand career ideas will take me, or even where I’d begin to look to develop them, but at least now I have a vague notion of what I’m looking for. It is amazing how such a small amount of time spent with complete strangers can inspire so much, but I genuinely think I have a lot to thank them for.