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Once a curriculum has been designed and is being taught, its effectiveness needs to be assessed, and pupils’ progress through the curriculum needs to be assessed too. Assessment is an integral – indeed, one might argue, an essential – ingredient of good teaching.
Broadly speaking, there are two ways in which the outcomes of an assessment might be used: summative – to identify what a pupil has achieved at the end of a unit, year, course or school, and to compare pupils and cohorts; and formatively – to inform a teacher’s planning and instruction, and to diagnose a pupil’s next steps and provide them with feedback on which they can act to improve.
To ensure the subject’s assessment practices are effective and do not become a behemoth, school leaders need to sense-check their current approaches to marking and feedback according to their purpose, process and validity, and thus ensure that all marking and feedback are meaningful, manageable and motivating.
In this course, we will explore ways of doing this and of using a progression model.
- Sense-checking assessments or purpose, process and validity
- Ensuring marking is made meaningful, manageable and motivating
- Measuring what matters: the importance of broad outcomes
- Using the curriculum as a progression model
- Assessing the quality of teaching
- Assessing curriculum planning
- Assessing pupils’ progress and preparedness
- Module 1:
Sense-checking assessments or purpose, process and validity
In this module we will explore a means of sense-checking your school’s assessment practices to ensure they serve a clear purpose and lead to demonstrable outcomes for pupils, they are not unnecessarily bureaucratic and time-consuming, and that they provide data that is both useful and useable – and thus that your assessment practices help pupils to make progress and achieve good outcomes.
- Module 2:
Ensuring marking is made meaningful, manageable and motivating
In this module we will explore teachers’ marking and feedback strategies and discuss ways of making sure all marking activity is meaningful in that it informs a teacher’s planning and teaching and provides feedback to pupils on which they can and do act. We will also discuss practical ways of reducing the marking load without adversely affecting the impact of marking on pupils. And we will consider the importance of using marking to close the feedback loop so that pupils are helped to improve, to make progress over time, and thus are motivated to learn.
- Module 3:
Measuring what matters: the importance of broad outcomes
In this module we will look at what we should assess and examine the importance of looking beyond test and qualification outcomes to consider what a successful education means to pupils in terms of preparing them for the next stages of their education, employment and lives.
- Module 4:
Using the curriculum as a progression model
Here, we will explore a means of using the curriculum as an assessment system – so that we assess what pupils know and can do, rather than something arbitrary. We will walk through one such method of doing this: the progression model, or mastery learning.
- Module 5:
Assessing curriculum planning
Assessment should be the servant and not the master of education. Assessment should be used for three purposes – firstly, it should be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum and inform us if our plans are ambitious enough, and sufficiently broad and balanced.
- Module 6:
Assessing the quality of teaching
Secondly, assessment should be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the way in which the curriculum is translated into classroom practice – in other words, how it is taught. In this module we will explore how to do this to ensure the pace and pitch of learning is appropriate.
- Module 7:
Assessing pupils’ progress and preparedness
And thirdly, assessment should be used to evaluate the pace of pupil progress and their eventual outcomes. In this module, we will explore how to ensure we measure outcomes in the broadest possible sense, taking account of curriculum knowledge and skills, as well as wider skills and character traits.