This is what key people are saying about school assessment

Are you concerned that your school assessment practices are not producing the results you want but causing stress to teachers & an unnecessary increase in workload? Here from Jamie Pembroke is a selection of links to speeches from key people to help your decisions on school assessment practice.

 

school assessment

 

Amanda Spielman’s speech at Bryanston Education Summit (June 2018)
https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/amanda-spielman-at-the-bryanston-education-summit

We do not expect to see 6 week tracking of pupil progress and vast elaborate spreadsheets. What I want school leaders to discuss with our inspectors is what they expect pupils to know by certain points in their life, and how they know they know it. And crucially, what the school does when it finds out they don’t! These conversations are much more constructive than inventing byzantine number systems which, let’s be honest, can often be meaningless.
Nor do I believe there is merit in trying to look at every individual sub-group of pupils at the school level. It is very important that we monitor the progress of under-performing pupil groups. But often this is best done at a national level, or possibly even a MAT or local authority level, where meaningful trends may be identifiable, rather than at school level where apparent differences are often likely to be statistical noise.

 

Ofsted Handbook mythbusting
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-inspection-handbook-from-september-2015

Ofsted does not expect performance and pupil-tracking information to be presented in a particular format. Such information should be provided to inspectors in the format that the school would ordinarily use to monitor the progress of pupils in that school.

 

Sean Harford’s youtube video on assessment
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7whb8dOk5Q

Inspectors will use lesson observations, pupils’ work, discussions with teachers and pupils and school records to judge the effectiveness of assessment and whether it is having an impact on pupils’ learning. They don’t need to see vast amounts of data, spreadsheets, charts or graphs. Nor are the looking for any specific frequency or type or volume of marking or feedback


Ofsted Inspection Update March 2017
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-inspection-newsletter-academic-year-2016-to-2017

Ofsted does not expect any prediction by schools of a progress score, as they are aware that this information will not be possible to produce due to the way progress measures at both KS2 and KS4 are calculated. Inspectors should understand from all training and recent updates that there is no national expectation of any particular amount of progress from any starting point.

‘Expected progress’ was a DfE accountability measure until 2015. Inspectors must not use this term when referring to progress for 2016 or current pupils. 

 

Commission on Assessment Without Levels final report
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/commission-on-assessment-without-levels-final-report

There is no point in collecting ‘data’ that provides no information about genuine learning

Recording summative data more frequently than three times a year is not likely to provide useful information
Tracking software, which has been used widely as a tool for measuring progress with levels, cannot, and should not, be adapted to assess understanding of a curriculum that recognises depth and breadth of understanding as of equal value to linear progression
It is very important that these systems do not reinvent levels
Ensure that the primary purpose of assessment is not distorted by using it for multiple purposes
Sometimes progress is simply about consolidation (editor’s note: how do you measure consolidation? You can’t. And if we persist with coverage-based progress measures, then we are potentially risking pupils learning and have measures that are out of kilter with the principles of this curriculum)

 

Data Management Review Group
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reducing-teacher-workload-data-management-review-group-report

  • Be streamlined: eliminate duplication – ‘collect once, use many times’ 
  • Be ruthless: only collect what is needed to support outcomes for children. The amount of data collected should be proportionate to its usefulness. Always ask why the data is needed. 
  • Be prepared to stop activity: do not assume that collection or analysis must continue just because it always has 
  • Be aware of workload issues: consider not just how long it will take, but whether that time could be better spent on other tasks
A purportedly robust and numerical measure of pupil progress that can be tracked and used to draw a wide range of conclusions about pupil and teacher performance, and school policy, when in fact information collected in such a way is flawed. This approach is unclear on purpose, and demands burdensome processes.
The recent removal of ‘levels’ should be a positive step in terms of data management; schools should not feel any pressure to create elaborate tracking systems.
Focusing on key performance indicators reduces the burden of assessing every lesson objective. This also provides the basis of next steps: are pupils secure and can pupils move on, or do they need additional teaching?
How do these recommendations make you feel? Relaxed or worried?

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