I have been working with a group of colleagues to develop our assessment and reporting system for East Lothian to match the new curriculum. We need to come up with an agreed system to replace the current 5-14 testing regime.
What we have agreed is that we – the authority – will commission a group of headteachers to devise an assessment and reporting system which will cover children aged 3 – 15. The tender document is in the process of development but the system must meet the diverse needs of learners, teachers, parents, headteachers, the local authority, elected members and HMIe. I’m very keen that we also involve parents, teachers, learners and elected members in the development of this system but the “starter for 10” will go to the headteacher group. Exciting stuff!
Our system must:
1 -make use of formative assessment as a key element in assisting the learning process;
Why? – this is what makes the biggest difference in the classroom. It allows learners to be clear about how they can improve their learning.
2- provide clear information to learners about their progress;
Why? – children should to be able to measure their progress against a clear set of standards where they clearly understand what they have to do to meet the next level.
3- provide reliable information to parents which allows them to assist their child’s learning;
Why? – parents want to help their children but need clear advice from professionals about what they should do to help.
4- provide a means of proving the reliablity of assessment against an objective measure;
Why?- any doubts about the reliability of teacher or school assessment has the potential to fundamentally undermine confidence in the process – particularly at key transition points e.g. infant to upper primary, primary to secondary.
5- provide a clear means of measuring the value added by the teaching process;
Why?- teachers need to know if they are making a difference and the impact of any changes they make to their practice
6- enable parents to judge how their child’s learning is progressing over a period of years.
Why? – parents want to know if their child is making progress in line with the “bandwidth” of child development that might be expected for someone of their child’s age.
7- enable school managers at all levels to make judgements about the effectiveness of the curriculum and the learning and teaching process.
Why? – we need to check if what we are collectively doing is making a differnce – if not we need to try something else.
8- enable the authority to make judgements about the capacity of a school to add value to the learning process in relation to every child’s starting point;
Why? – the public needs to have confidence that it is getting good return on the investment made in that school. The authority also needs to have confidence that the learning needs of every child is being met by the school.
9 – provide clear statements about progress in relation to literacy, numeracy and health and well being
Why? – these are building blocks to successful learnming but their eminence should also reinforce the collective resposibility of all teachers to promote achievements in these areas
10- provide a valued means of formally recognising children’s attainments and achievements at key stages between the age of 3 – 15
Why? – formal recognition can motivate and enhance the perceived value of certain aspects/stages of the curriculum
11 – articulate with the Curriculum for Excellence assessment framework
Why? – our system must comply with national guidance
12 – be valued by all stakeholders, e.g. learners, parents, teachers, managers, authority officers, elected members, and HMIE.
Why? – this is a challenge – but what a prize!
PS – we could really do with some help in developing this tender document – so suggestions/comments are most welcome