Achieving the benefits you deserve from your new assessment system
The removal of traditional assessment levels gave schools the freedom to implement their own systems, according to the individual needs of their pupils and staff. It provided them with the opportunity to move away from the disadvantages of the old system and introduce a new method to meet the Government’s requirements as well as their own.
Of course the downside is that this came with significant demands on time and budgets and disparate systems across the country gives a mixed view of attainment nationwide.
However, looking at the advantages, schools have been given the opportunity to implement solutions that provide them with the tools to add new levels of efficiency and of course, keep the Ofsted inspectors happy.
The many years of working with our client schools to implement high quality appropriate assessment systems, has put us in the enviable position of understanding what makes their lives easier and more effective. When you are looking at assessment methods for your school, we recommend you take time to consider the regular requests we receive regarding functionality.
- In summary, all schools want to look at pupil data in terms of their achievements as individuals, but they also want to see an analysis whole classes linked to their curriculum strengths. Having this peripheral view gives teachers and the senior management team (SMT) the power to revise the learning activities accordingly.
- Within these requirements, one of the most common requests is to be able to easily highlight which objectives need the most work, and which have the most coverage. Being able to use that data to feed into teaching and learning made planning so much more real. And, as a senior leadership (SLT) member, you should be able to pick up trends across the whole school, to better advise the way you move forward with continuing professional development (CPD) and resourcing. Suddenly, you find that your data can actually be used to mould learning rather than just being there to meet the needs of governors, Ofsted, and parents.
- Having mentioned Ofsted, that means I can’t go on without stressing the importance of having the data and underlying interrogation tools available to run reports any time an inspector might visit. As Vicki Hughes, of Yarm Primary School in Stockton on Tees said of her Classroom Monitor Tracker, “The data tracker is easy to access, uses simple terminology and has good graphics including graphs and pie charts. Our Ofsted advisor was impressed that we had this data ready at our fingertips.”
- What is also important is to see the learning objective and the number of children who are at a particular stage in their development. Another requirement to make teachers’ lives easier and more effective is to be able to prioritise objectives so that it becomes easy to check the strengths of each class. Teachers should be able to see what is un-assessed and needs to be covered that year. Clearly having this available enables the teacher to give their students learning tasks to ‘achieve’ this objective. Equally as a safeguard, teachers can see who is falling behind.
For members of the SMT it is powerful to be able to compare multiple year groups. For example, looking at two Year 4 classes at the same time, or evaluating a current Year 4 group with last year’s cohort at the same point of the year, or even relating the results of an intervention group to the rest of the class can provide formidable insight.
The cost and time investment of introducing a new assessment system can be outweighed by significant rewards, if schools are brave and justifiably demanding about what they want. There is a huge difference between looking at numbers at the end of term, and using assessment to feed straight into class, individual, and whole school planning to have the biggest possible impact on teaching and learning.
This could also be the difference that raises your standards and makes your teaching and learning easier and more effective.
If you want to discuss this in more detail and gather more advice specific to your individual needs please contact us at email@example.com.