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Chris Harrison, Professor of Science Education, King’s College London, UK Increasingly, over the last couple of decades, assessment practices in schools have been of great interest to the public and often criticised within the media. This negative approach to assessment has been especially apparent over the last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in [...]
Helen Angell, Director of School Improvement, Cabot Learning Federation, UK It is another extraordinary year. As leaders and teachers in schools and academies have grappled with the complexities of COVID-19, assessment has once more become central to education discourse. The memory of the centre assessment grades (CAGs) process last academic year and plans for teacher-assessed [...]
Chris Larvin, Curriculum Design Manager, Teach First, UK The widely assumed goal of school accountability is to improve teaching and learning in schools, informed in large part by high-stakes assessments. In her Reith Lectures, Baroness O’Neill (2002) made the case, however, that accountability mechanisms can actually produce less trust in society, eroding confidence in the [...]
Mick Walker, Vice-Chair, Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors, UK The educational establishment has a long history of debates over the technicalities, methodologies and uses of assessment. However, since the introduction of performance tables in 1992 as instruments of public scrutiny and accountability, educational assessment has become a topic of wider public and political debate and [...]
Nick Gibb, Minister of State for School Standards, UK The last year has thrown up so many new and unexpected challenges to us all. It has been a difficult time for the whole country, not least for schools and for young people. With very little notice or time to plan, heads and teachers, alongside parents [...]
Sarah Earle, Bath Spa University, UK It might not always feel like it but, as teachers, we are constantly using assessment information to make decisions about what to say, what tasks to set and what to do with task outcomes. Every interaction with students is a potential assessment opportunity, in the sense that such interactions [...]
Julian Grenier, Headteacher, Sheringham Nursery School and Children’s Centre Director, East London Research School, UK Practitioners working with children in the Early Years frequently have an excessive workload, and activities associated with assessment are a significant cause of this. The Early Years Alliance (2018) reported that practitioners feel overwhelmed by ‘unnecessary paperwork’ for Ofsted inspections. [...]
Ryan Campbell, Jakarta Intercultural School, Indonesia Christian Bokhove University of Southampton, UK Purposed summatively as an instrument for assessing student performance and formatively for supporting learner progression, as well as being known for its sheer ubiquity, the humble rubric has attracted a great deal of criticism. Taking aim at both the major functions of rubrics, [...]
Alex Standish, Associate Professor of Geography Education, UCL Institute of Education, UK David Perks, Principal, East London Science School, UK In 2021, most public examinations for GCSEs, A-levels and vocational qualifications have been cancelled for the second year running, meaning that teachers will decide what grade students receive. In place of exams, teachers will design [...]
A case study of how teachers can improve the validity and reliability of assessment Tom Johns, Associate Assistant Headteacher - Assessment and Reporting, Kingsmead School, Somerset, UK After completing the ‘Assessment Essentials’ course from Evidence Based Education as part of my role, which leads on assessment and reporting, I wanted to deliver inset on making [...]
Claire Scoular and Jonathan Heard, Australian Council for Educational Research, Australia There is growing consensus internationally that creative thinking is important (e.g., Care et al., 2012; Kereluik et al., 2013). Beyond identifying the importance of creativity, however, there is little consensus on how to develop and teach it (and even whether this is necessary), due [...]
Alice Bradbury and Dominic Wyse, Helen Hamlyn Centre For Pedagogy (0–11years) (HHCP), UCL Institute of Education, UK In this paper we report some key findings from a new research study exploring the impact of the use of the phonics screening check (PSC) in Year 2. As part of the government’s arrangements for examinations and testing [...]
Samantha Franklin, Assistant Headteacher, Long Stratton High School, UK As Rob Coe (2017) describes, assessment is ‘one of those things that you think you know what it is until you start to think really hard about it’ (as cited in Kime, 2017, p. 13). When used well, effective assessment can enhance learning and raise attainment [...]
Richard Lancaster, Kellett School, Hong Kong In the aftermath of the U-turn decision regarding the use of teacher assessment for GCSE and A-level grading in August (BBC, 2020), it has since become increasingly apparent that some students are left feeling anxious about how their final grade will be decided. Some of this unease manifests through [...]
Claire Tyson, Teacher Researcher, IBCP Coordinator, Homewood School & Sixth Form Centre, UK Wendy Brown, Family Liaison Officer, Homewood School & Sixth Form Centre, UK The purpose of this case study is to illustrate how our school responded to an identified need to improve a range of outcomes for pupil premium (PP) and other disadvantaged [...]
Henry Sauntson FCCT, Director and Andrew Currie, Primary Director at Teach East SCITT, UK At the heart of initial teacher education (ITE) lies a diverse range of students from a range of backgrounds, experiences and disciplines, all working towards the same set of professional standards in their own individual domains – the Key Stage 2 [...]
Clare Walsh, University of Southampton, UK Educational assessments are, at the best of times, an imprecise science. For many teachers today, regular ongoing assessment can improve their practice. Once success criteria have been shared and the lesson delivered, it makes sense to check what progress students and their teachers are making against classroom goals. Yet [...]
Michael Chiles, Geography Trust Lead, Great Schools Trust, UK Every academic year, pupils receive feedback verbally and in written form, based on evidence interpreted by teachers from hundreds of assignments, assessments, practice exams, questioning and classroom activities. Feedback can play a pivotal role in learning. However, the research indicates that there is a significant difference [...]
ANTONIO GRIFFITHS-MURRU, KINGSLEY SPECIAL ACADEMY, UK CHRISTINE PARKER, PEN GREEN TEACHING SCHOOL ALLIANCE, UK This is a reflection part-way through our research project to find out how reflecting on children’s play through a schema lens will add depth to our interpretations of their actions and language (Vygotsky, 2004). The context is a class of Foundation [...]
Tracey Feil, Teacher-researcher, Birmingham City University (Denbigh Teaching School), UK Hattie and Clarke promote the role of feedback in ‘reinforcing success, correcting errors, helping to unravel misconceptions, suggesting specific improvements, [and] giving improvement advice for the future’ (2019, p. 5). Whilst there is convincing research evidencing the contribution of feedback to attainment, few studies have [...]
Simon Baron,Teacher of Languages, Parkside Community College (Cambridge), UK In the English secondary school context, the focus on the measurement of educational outcomes promotes a conception of assessment as a tool for accountability, revealing a reductionist view of the aims of education (see, for example, Biesta, 2010; Siegel, 2004). Formative assessment theory provides an alternative [...]
VERITY DOWNING, INDEPENDENT ACADEMIC, UK The purpose of the ‘characteristics of effective teaching and learning’ (CETL) section of Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) guidance is to signpost teachers towards prioritising not just what students learn, but how they learn. Through affording due respect to students’ attitudes towards their learning and how they respond to their [...]
Megan Price, Assessment Lead, Broad Square Primary School, UK As at any point in time, teaching and learning are community activities, so now more than ever it is important to remember that responding to the challenges before us is a team effort. Schools are a community of practitioners working together to enable children to flourish; [...]
Nick Pointer, Programmes Tutor, Ambition Institute, UK The hegemony of assessment For many years, schools have given a central role to summative-style assessments. The use of terminal exam questions to drive in-class learning and employing regular internal mock exams to generate grades and measure student progress have become unquestioned practices. This is demonstrated in recent [...]
Steve Puttick, University of Oxford, Department of Education, UK Written lesson observation feedback is a significant and shared aspect of school/university collaboration across diverse programmes and initial teacher education (ITE) partnerships internationally. This article explores written lesson observation feedback during ITE by briefly reviewing this emerging body of work and reporting on a recent empirical [...]
Emma Hayward, Director of Music, Heathfield Knoll School, UK In order for our students to make progress within the classroom, music teachers are particularly adept at giving immediate, usually verbal feedback based on the development of skills as well as understanding. Booth states that ‘teachers who model, observe and give learners constructive comments are using [...]
Martin Leigh, Director of Music, King Edward's School, Birmingham Dylan Wiliam thinks that ‘there’s a lot we can learn from music teachers’. He describes how instrumental music teachers expect their students to become ‘self-regulating learners’ and teach them how to ‘practise productively’ at home between lessons (cited in Hendrick and Macpherson, 2017, p. 39). The [...]
Ngozi Oguledo, Lead Practitioner, Ortu Gable Hall School, UK Assessment is the planned or unplanned process involving the review of learning and the utilisation of the outcome for varied purposes. Identifying and closing learning gaps is one of the rationales for assessment. Feedback serves as a bridge, as it plays a crucial role in communicating [...]
Emily Walker, Gallions Primary School, UK Feedback is a vital part of classroom practice but how does formative assessment translate to the online classroom? When providing students with feedback online, there are a number of challenges to consider: the lack of immediate, face-to-face interaction or clarification; the potential lack of structure to the format of [...]
Hugh Stephens, Head of Geography, St Edward’s School, UK We expect from education that our children become knowledgeable, successful learners, equipped to become good citizens and socially responsible change-makers. Yet there are those who believe that education today has been tightly calibrated towards the task of getting children through exams, rather than preparing them for [...]
Richard McDonald, Director of English, Driffield School and Sixth Form, UK; English Subject Lead, The Education Alliance, UK At first, my opinion of whole-class feedback (WCF) as a substitute for written feedback was similar to that held by other critics of the approach, as I agreed that it was not ‘individualised’ and could hinder some [...]
David James, Alex Morgan and Emmajane Milton, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, UK Anna Bryant, Jennie Clement, Judith Kneen and Gary Beauchamp, Cardiff School of Education and Social Policy, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK The COVID-19 pandemic evoked a rapid response in terms of assessment across educational settings (OECD, 2020). This occurred at a time [...]
Victoria Foster, Simon Underhill, Kim Gillingham, Hazel Brinkworth Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong (Junior School), China Perhaps the most common and challenging problem that all teachers face is establishing what students have learnt, what misunderstandings they have and what their next steps should be. This could be described as the search for the holy grail of [...]
Adewale Magaji, School of Education, FEHHS, University of Greenwich, UK This article reports a section from a study aimed at promoting formative assessment through student-led questions. Questions are used to initiate classroom discussions and they form a prominent aspect of assessment for learning in science (Black and Wiliam, 1998). This can be used to scaffold [...]
Tamsin Page, Director of English, Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust, UK Olivia Tolley, Teacher of English, North Cambridge Academy, UK Shakespeare is hard. The length, complexity, language, contextual understanding and cultural capital often needed to fully access Shakespeare’s plays make the challenge of teaching it a daunting one. And that’s before we even begin to tackle the [...]
Lucy Rycroft-Smith, Cambridge University, UK Bart Crisp, CUREE, UK Last month, a student answer to a test question was placed on Twitter, asking maths teachers for their feedback as if they were marking it. Before you read ahead, try to imagine what the question may have been and what kind of answer was given. Here [...]
LUKE HINCHLIFFE, GOFFS CHURCHGATE ACADEMY, UK Goffs Churchgate Academy is currently rapidly expanding, with increasing numbers year on year. With an above-average number of students with identified special educational needs, there has been heavy focus on curriculum and ensuring that this is broad, balanced and challenging. As part of the review of the curriculum in [...]
Elizabeth Hennah and Glenn Y Bezalel, St Helen’s School, UK At St Helen’s, we have trialled the use of a ‘reading journal’ in English literature for Year 7 students. This is a method to implement dialogic assessment, through which teachers guide their students to exercise curiosity and create cross-curricular links between reading in English and [...]
Claudia Pik-Ki Chu and Michelle Ellefson, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, UK Conceptualisation of reading Reading comprehension is a term that is commonly used in educational and psychological settings, but its conceptualisation and definition vary in different contexts. For instance, Cain (1999) defined ‘successful understanding of a text’ as the ‘ultimate aim of reading’ [...]
FELICITY DEWSBERY, CHRISTINE PARKER AND ANGELA PRODGER, PEN GREEN TEACHING SCHOOL ALLIANCE, UK The context of this case study is a School Direct teacher education programme (2019–2020) with a group of 20 trainee teachers and three tutors. What was, pre-lockdown, an active and co-constructive approach to teacher education had to rapidly change to an online [...]
Peter Wolstencroft and Georgina Gretton, Liverpool John Moores University, UK In his seminal RSA (Royal Society of Arts) lecture, Sir Ken Robinson summed up the prevailing view of assessment as one where to every question there is one answer… and it is at the back of the book (Robinson, 2010). Assessment, in the world that [...]