Assessment is not a singular activity; it is about the measurement of performance at a given time and a way of gaining information to guide future learning. Assessment should aim to measure the things we value, rather than simply value what we are able to measure.
Assessment and monitoring are vital components of children's learning. They are used to identify the stage of development a child has reached. This in turn helps the child and teacher to set a realistic target in order to aid progress onto the next stage of learning.
Effective assessment and monitoring is a great tool for informing the teachers planning and therefore provides the opportunity to differentiate work for all children to reach their full potential.
By monitoring the progress, we are able to highlight any issues regarding learning and provide appropriate support and assistance to individuals. The Assessment Reform Group states that
"Assessment for learning is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there. (Assessment Reform Group 2002)
The Assessment and Recording policy in my setting states that the nature and purpose of assessment and recording is:
"To evaluate, review and monitor the work of the pupil, the school and compare with other schools both locally and nationally.
To inform further planning to ensure the child is reaching their full potential.
To ensure continuity between classes and schools and assist in the transition period.
To monitor gender achievement and any other social/economic groups or learning styles.
Focuses the teacher on achievable and realistic goals.
Focuses the pupil on achievable and realistic goals.
To share with other people who may be concerned with the child e.g. the child themselves, parents and outside agencies.
To enable subject co-ordinators to monitor their subject."
(Assessment and Recording policy reviewed September 2007)
There are two distinct types of assessment that have evolved during the last decade. Assessment for learning and assessment of learning. Assessment for learning helps to identify the steps needed to make progress. It takes account of the child's strengths and weaknesses. EXPAND
Assessment of learning is based on making judgements based on grades and accountability purposes associated with it. EXPANDThe Quality Statement on Assessment Practice states that "Both forms of assessment are essential in raising standards and are key professional skills." (Dews .N and Gollop .S, 2003, pg1)
Government's View on Assessment:
Historically summative assessment has been at the heart of the Great British education system with testing being seen as the preferred method of assessing pupil's progress and attainment. It is a way of ensuring schools are accountable for their teaching and learning and provided statistical data that could be analyses and published. In 1989? Course work and teacher assessment were taking into account alongside the use of summative assessment - o levels /gcses EXPAND
Currently there is a big emphasis on assessment for learning this is a classroom based assessment process which is designed to improve children's learning. The Government has a big commitment to raising standards in schools and believes that if we are to be a nation of world-class educators, producing the highest quality work force we need to begin with high quality teaching staff. They aim to raise the status of the role by increasing teacher autonomy in the classroom and by providing better initial teacher training.
If we are to provide a work force that is capable of taking England into the 21st century market place we need to focus on providing high quality education for all children regardless of their economic background, for too long it has been widely accepted that children on free school meals, from poorer socio economic areas will do considerably less well than their peers. No longer is this acceptable. Schools need to focus on raising standards for all, especially those from poorer backgrounds.
"Raise on line" is now used widely by schools nationally to monitor and track the progress of the pupils within their care. It provides schools with statistical data which enables them to identify high priorities for the school, impacting on the schools self evaluation process.
In order address Q13 which refers to understanding how to use statistical and national data to impact on teaching and learning, I undertook tutorials with key members of staff from both schools. It is evident from these discussions that both schools use Raise on Line effectively to improve the progress and attainment of the children within their care. They both identify the most vulnerable groups of children and implement strategies to support these pupils. Although the needs of the children within both schools are very different their approach to solving them are remarkably alike. Trends within my lead school suggest that the school perform well in numeracy yet do significantly poorer in literacy, particularly writing. To address the issue, the employment of additional creative partnerships staff has been enlisted in the form of a story teller, in order to inspire the children's imagination and impact on writing enjoyment. As well as this the Every Child a Writer scheme is being trialed in years 3 and 4.
Within my second school placement the children from the Roma Community are identified as the neediest group of children, they perform significantly lower than their peers within the school and as such the school enlists the support of Access Services whose job it is to liaise between the school and the Roma community. As well as this the school employs several multilingual staff who support the needs of these children through small group intervention work, focusing on survival language and literacy skills. It appears both schools are making effective use of this data and are implementing strategies which should, in the long run, impact on the development of the pupils and hopefully raise attainment. Clearly showing how national data, can if used effectively, impact on school development plans and in turn children's progress and attainment.
- app identifies gaps in education/skills/knowledge of groups of children, cohorts - raise on line and fisher family trust are used to track, monitor and record statistical data - schools use to inform areas of weakness and informs school development plan and staff training. LINK TO OWN PRACTICE - TUTORIALS ON RAISE ON LINE ETC, USE OF STATISTICAL DATA TO IDENTIFY TARGETS FOR CHILDREN ETCâ€¦
Since 2006 Assessment for learning as been a high priority for the National strategies - â€¦.
Assessment for learning - formative - link to own practice - compare both schools
The Assessment Reform Group has defined assessment for learning as 'the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there'. [i]
Assessment for learning: 10 principles, Assessment Reform Group, 2002, available in the publications section of the website, www.assessment-reform-group.org/.
The '10 principles' for assessment for learning are that it:
is part of effective planning
focuses on how pupils learn
is central to classroom practice
is a key professional skill
is sensitive and constructive
promotes understanding of goals and criteria
helps learners know how to improve
develops the capacity for peer and self-assessment recognises all educational achievement.
However the pioneering work done by Wiliam and Black has called for a radical reform of the assessment systems used to track progress and raise standards. Assessment for learning (AFL) is now widely used and accepted as the main form of assessment for pupil progress and attainment, this type of formative assessment ensures teachers and pupils are aware of their current targets, their next steps in learning and can identify what steps they need to take in order to achieve. Effective assessment for learning should foster deep rather than surface learning within the classroom, it is the role of the teacher to influence the learning climate within their classroom, enabling children to understand why and what they are learning, learning how to learn is key to successful learning. Wiliam and Black(?????) believe helping pupils to learn how to learn is a crucial development skill for pupils, especially during their secondary years.
Personalaised learning is at the heart of the governments approach to teaching and learning. Christine Gilbert in an independent review on teaching and learning "2020 vision" (2006) placed a focus on personalised learning, she defined personalised teaching and learning as
"Taking a highly structured and responsive approach to each child and young person's learning, in order to progress, achieve and participate. It means strengthening the link between teaching and learning by engaging pupils - and their parents - as participants in learning."
Within the report there are a number of recommendations for schools in order to better provide Personalised Learning,
A recommendation was made that schools should provide a commitment to personalised learning and teaching within their policies and plans, and as such should provide evidence, within their self evaluation form, as to how effectively this commitment is being fulfilled.
Assessment for learning was highlighted as a key aspect of personalised learning as well as assessment of learning - with pupils becoming involved in the process.
A number of authors support the call for personalized learning.
Hargreaves in his document "Personalised Learning - Next Steps in Working Laterally" talks of nine gateways to achieve personalised learning, be believes that in the 21st century educational system will focus more on customisation, where pupils are offered a customised package of activities and programs to meet their individual needs. He feels these nine gateways are the key to achieving this. 1. Curriculum, 2. Learning to learn, 3. Workforce development, 4. Assessment for learning, 5. School organisation and design, 6. New technologies, 7. Pupil voice, 8. Advice and guidance, 9. Mentoring and coaching.
Within this document Hargreaves highlights the important work done by Dylan Wiliam and Paul Black on assessment for learning, he refers to their work as "pioneering". Assessment for learning is a formative assessment tool that is used to inform next steps of learning, at its core is a way of understanding the relationship between teaching and learning. They believe helping pupils to learn how to learn is a crucial development skill for pupils, especially during their secondary years.
The importance of effective assessment for learning is also highlighted by Christine Gilbert in an independent review on teaching and learning "2020 vision" (2006) when discussion Assessment for Learning she states:
"It is not an occasional activity at the end of a unit of work, but a complex, joint activity between teacher and pupil. It helps teachers identify what pupils have or have not achieved, while pupils increase their understanding of the standard expected, their progress towards it and what they need to do to reach it". (Gilbert, C 2006:16)
Formative assessment provides detailed feedback through the use of different assessment methods (questioning-bloom taxonomy - used in practice list in classroom identified in lesson observation feedback, reflected on and improved in future lessons etcâ€¦ verbal feedback, marking, target setting - identified as a target for self in end of term review - meet by discussion with mentor etcâ€¦ etc.. expand at some point advantages disadvantages etc..) which should support the process of deep rather than surface learningâ€¦..
Dixon and Williams argue that for formative assessment to be effective teachers must have a deep understanding of the subject they are teaching in order to ask the right questions to extend learning, identify gaps in children's knowledge and understanding and provide a range of activities that will help children take the next steps in learning. They state that for primary school teacher this can pose significant difficulties as they are expected to teacher a wide range of subjects.
Assessment for learning calls for the teacher to have a key role in identifying what the child has done well as guiding them as to how they improve or extend their learning. AFL impacts on the child's development as well as improving the end result in the form of test results, this approach is in line with Vygotsky's theory of the zone of proximal development - this identifies not just what the child as achieved but what they could go on to achieve with the help and support of a more knowledgeable other. Vygotsky's theory suggests that if children are guided by someone who posses more knowledge than they do they can pass through the zone of proximal development and go on to achieve more than would have independent of guidance. The whole purpose of formative assessment is to not only identify what the children can do but identify what they could go on to learn next.
This is evident in practice through the use of the bubble and block marking systems used within school --- tutorial has improved my knowledge etcâ€¦. I have implement this strategy when marking children's work etc - in line with Wiliam and Black's theory - key theme - identifying what children have done well and identifying how they can improve.
Sadler 1989:119) argues that
For students to be able to improve, they must develop the capacity to monitor the quality of their own work during actual production. This in turn requires that students possess an appreciation of what high quality work is, that they have evaluative skills necessary for them to compare with some objectivity the quality of what they are producing in relation to the higher standard, and that they develop a store of tactics or moves which can be drawn upon to modify their own work. (Sadler 1989:119)
Assessment for learning forms a key part of my role as a trainee teacher. I am constantly observing and evaluating the children's progress in order to set suitable learning objectives that meet their individual needs. In order to do this I provide the support staff within the room with a detailed adult briefing sheet which outlines the objectives and activities I expect them to carry out with a selected group of pupils. Within the adult briefing sheet there is a section which asks the support staff to identify the progress the pupils have made, they identify children who have done exceptionally well and those in need of further support. I then use this feedback to inform future lessons. I have found it to be a very useful assessment tool. Need a reference/quote?
Alongside this, in specific lessons, I will occationally ask the TA to observe a section of the lesson, usually the plenary, to identify which children have grasped the concept of the learning objective being taught. I plan and deliver a specific activity which should be an ideal assessment opportunity. The TA will record using a colour code which children have and have not grasped the concept. Again this informs future planning and staff deployment, in some circumstances this also impacts on the grouping for learning tasks the following day, particularly if some children have been identified as needing further support.
Peer and self assessment are also key theme throughout my lessons. Within the year 6 class I have implemented the use of the traffic light system for the children to self assess their work. They are reminded to assess against the learning objective, which is also differentiated and displayed throughout the lesson, to identify if they have found the learning task too simple, thought provoking, or too difficult. The children record their self assessment on their work and are becoming more honest and confident with their assessments, more often than not their self evaluation is in line with teacher evaluation of their progress.
Peer assessment is used regularly within lessons, the children use "starts" and "wishes" to identify successful aspects of each others work as well as areas they can improve upon, these starts and wishes are again in line with the learning objective. This can be a difficult concept for the children to grasp initially, however the more they have the opportunity to peer assess the better they become. Wiliam and Black = peer assessment quote???
Within my second school placement self assessment was clearly evident, although not always implemented, during my time there I was eager to ensure that were appropriate the opportunity for the children to self assess their work was provided. In addition to this I began to introduce the concept of peer assessment, as the children were much younger this was done verbally, initially as a whole class, we identified one children's work and provided feedback in the form of "stars" and "wishes". I then went on to develop the concept of peer assessment further with the most able pupils within the class. Again this was a verbal process and provided to be very effective. The children were open and receptive to the feedback they received from their peers and had a firm understanding of the terminology used, however marking against the learning objective is something that require further practice at this age. I am hopeful this process will continue now I have left. QUOTE NEEDED
My second school placement also had an effective way of monitoring the progress of the children through each lesson. At the end of each lesson the teacher would complete an AFL grid, this identified the impact on children's learning, next steps in learning and any specific comments regarding the SEN or GAT pupils. As a result of using this from I intend to implement this in to my lesson evaluations in my lead school as I feel it is a useful way of record the progress made and identifying the children's emerging learning needs. QUOTE NEEDED.
MARKING POLICIES USED BOTH SCHOOLS - COMPARE AND ASSESS IMPACT ON LEARNING.
The bubble and block method of marking is used within my lead school, it identifies the strengths of the child's work against the learning objective and the area they need to develop further. Wiliam and Black believe that "assessment should improve the pupil's own learning, it must describe or diagnose the nature of student performance and be a valid, reiable and accurate description of students performance." - quote
The major premise of the improvement conception is that assessment improves
students' own learning and the quality of teaching (Crooks, 1988; Black & Wiliam,
1998). This improvement has two important caveats; (a) assessment must describe or diagnose the nature of student performance and (b) the information must be a valid, reliable, and accurate description of student performance. In this view, a range of techniques, including informal teacher-based intuitive judgement as well as formal assessment tools, identify the content and processes of student learning, including impediments to learning and unexpected strengths, with the explicit goal of improving the quality of instruction and student learning. Quote - teacher's concept of assessment
ASSESSMENT POLICIES EACH SCHOOL -
Rememeber to link to theory constantly.
Assessment of learning - Summative - link to own practice/experience - compare both schools
Monitoring and Tracking: - raise on line - fisher family trust etcâ€¦- impact on pupils development, school improvement plan, staff training etcâ€¦ link to how have I used statistical data to inform planning and pupil targets?
Discussion of assessment processors in year 2-PEAR TREE
The children are assessed three times a year - October, January and may however science is assessed every half term.
Formative assessment is continual throughout the year with AFL sheets being completed after every lesson, identifying impact on children's learning, where to go next and the development of SEN/GAT. The staff find these sheets very useful to see who has achieved and who is in need of additional support. They also inform the staff of what they children enjoyed and what their interests appear to be in, ensuring teachers can continue to provide fun, inspiring and motivating lessons that capture the children's imagination.
The staff within the school use the APP statements to assess reading, writing and numeracy alongside teacher assessment and knowledge of the children.
The SATS are used for the year 2 children but as a guideline only, again teacher assessment and knowledge of the children is taken into consideration when deciding on an overall level for the pupil.
The SATS are only used for the Diamond and Sapphire groups, the Rubies are assessed using the P Scales and APP to form an overall judgment on their attainment level.
Each child has an assessment folder which follows then through school. The staff highlight the statements they have meet during each term and use the unmarked statements as future targets for the child's development.
ICT is assessed by Sue Warburton, the teacher who delivers all the ICT; this is done three times a year too.
The staff also generate their own teacher assessments based on the APP statements.
The foundation subjects are also assessed using the AFL sheets.
Discussed difference between formative and summative assessment.
Introduction into the foundation stage profile and how this impacts on expected levels by end of ks1.
Expected level of progress through a school year - 2 sub-levels.
Difficulty with assessments across key stages not aligning accurately.
Fisher Family Trust process L.G uses to predict levels of attainment by end of key stage 2.
Process L.G uses to track progress across different social groups - free school meals, gender, vulnerable, SEN and G and T.
Difficulty in improving writing levels - boy's especially despite having interventions to improve writing - Andy story teller.
How tracking is used to identify children/groups of children/year groups in need of support and in which area.
Importance of teacher assessment as this is the TRUE indicator of progress made and should be used alongside summative assessment that we are required to do.
I found this discussion really useful. I was aware of most of the systems used for tracking and assessment as I have worked in this school for the past 9 years but it was interesting to discuss the benefits and disadvantages of the current systems.
The chance to see what happens to the teachers tracking and assessments once passed to L.G was very beneficial. It helped me understand the importance of keeping up to date assessments and how these are used to make predictions about the children's levels at the end of key stage 2.
During the tutorial I gained an insight into the tracking and assessment systems used in the foundation stage. This was of great benefit to me as I have not worked in reception and ks1 for some time now and the systems have change drastically. This highlighted the fact that my knowledge surrounding the foundation stage profile is very limited. This is something I'll need to follow up on.
TUTORIAL SARA COOK:
Assessment must be used effectively to inform future lessons and children's next steps in learning.
There should be a range of assessment opportunities with each lesson - these should try to lend themselves to all learning styles.
TA could be used effectively to observe and assess during a section of the lesson.
Peer and self assessment should be increasingly used throughout school - in varying levels depending on age and stage of the children's development.
Formative assessment can be difficult to evidence - make use of the camera to caoture assessment happening.
To consider the use of questioning in line with Bloom's Taxonomy.
We also discussed a range of practical assessment strategies and how to implement these. We shared ideas of previous assessment used and the advantages and disadvantages of these.
Teachers should have AFL prompts displayed in classrooms.
The school assess their performance with regard to assessment annually using a self assessment form this is done collaboratively with all staff.
Assessment was highlighted as a key issue during the schools last Ofsted and as such is a key focus on the school's improvement plan.
Marking should be in line with the learning objective or the child's personal learning target.
Marking informs the child, parents and anyone else looking at the children's work.
Marking should inform children of their next steps in learning and identify what they have done well. "block and bubble" approach
Marking does not have to be written, verbal feedback is very effective although difficult to evidence. Verbal feedback should be recorded in the lesson evaluation.
The schools policy states each class should have their marking policy displayed in the classroom. This should have been constructed in collaboration with the children.
Within the marking it is advisable to identify if the work was done independently, with TA support or with teacher support.
To extend the learning of the most able children questions can be used in marking. This encourages the children to think deeper about their learning and how they can move it forward.
Through this discussion I have realised that I need to include a range of assessment strategies within my lessons as some forms of assessment may not suit some learners learning styles. I need to think creatively about how to assess children's learning. Maths lends its self well to kinaesthetic assessment in the form of games, jigsaws and practical activities.
Identify what is being assessed and keep the activity focused. When writing assess against the learning objective not presentation and spelling.
The tutorial highlighted the importance and purpose of assessment. Assessment for learning is vital to achieve effective teaching and learning and progression.