Category Archives: AifL

Assessment In-Service: PLHS 18th August

Preston Lodge High School were using the in-service on Wednesday 18th August to look at Assessment in Curriculum for Excellence.

I spent the first part of the morning facilitating a number of activities designed to explore Building the Curriculum 5. You can view the presentation and outcomes from this session in the powerpoint below:

After coffee, the Preston Lodge Learning Team delivered workshops sharing the work they have been doing on Assessment. You can view some of these presentations below:

A lot of the dicussions in both sessions centred around the need to involve learners in their assessment and the challenges this poses. In one of the workshops I raised the How We Learn video from Stoneyhill Primary so I’ve embedded this below for convenience:

Thank you so much to the staff at Preston Lodge for having me in and getting involved in some fantastic discussions. And a special thanks to the Learning Team for allowing me to attend their impressive sessions.

Don’t forget, if you’ve got any comments/questions etc please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

CfE Assessment In-Service: CPD Materials

Welcome back to school everyone – hope you had a great summer despite the rain!

As you know, we have three in-service days this year as one of them is our extra CfE in-service for Assessment & Moderation. So, what could you do with this extra day? Here’s a few potential resources.


Last session we put together a series of workshop activities which all relate to CfE Assessment & Moderation. These can be used to guide in-service activities. There’s lots here so the idea is that you would modify it and only use what is appropriate for your context. Download the materials as a .zip file by clicking here.

Assessment Exemplars

Some of the sessions in the above pack refer to the Assessment Exemplars on the LTS Website. These could also be used in isolation using the guides produced by LTS, or simply by staff logging on and reviewing some of the exemplars. To access the site, click here.

Building the Curriculum 5

The BtC5 documents can also be used as a CPD resource. The above workshops include these, but you could use the documents in other ways instead. Don’t forget that the new Reporting document is now available as well. You can download BtC5 here and the new Reporting document is here.

How We Learn

You could also incorporate the fantastic video from Stoneyhill Primary School below. You could perhaps watch the video and then discuss the reflective questions which follow.

Some questions for reflection having watched the video:

  • How does the teacher involve the pupils in their assessment?
  • What are the pupils learning? What skills are they developing?
  • How is the teacher offering personalisation and choice?
  • What impact do you think this has on the pupils?
  • What impact do you think this has on the teacher?
  • How common do you think this approach is in this classroom?
  • What would be the impact if these pupils’ next teacher didn’t provide them with these opportunities?
  • How could you adapt your practice in light of this video?

If you need any support with anything related to any of this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Learner engagement in assessment 2: How We Learn

The Building the Curriculum 5 summary document says that:

At its most basic, learner engagement requires teachers to share learning intentions and indicate what would constitute good measures of success. Learners also need to receive early and accurate feedback and should be given the opportunity to discuss the teacher’s assessments and their implications for future progress.

However, learner engagement should move beyond these basic requirements. Sound approaches to assessment will help learners to demonstrate what they can do. Therefore, it is appropriate to involve them in choosing and developing assessment approaches and in selecting and summarising the evidence that emerges.

This is pretty challenging stuff. BtC5 is raising the bar and saying it’s not enough to share your learning intentions and success criteria. We now need to involve pupils in the assessment process to a much greater extent. How could this work? Are the pupils up to this level of engagement? Primary 3 at our very own Stoneyhill Primary School agreed to share how they are already involved in the assessment process in the video below.

Some questions for reflection having watched the video:

  • How does the teacher involve the pupils in their assessment?
  • What are the pupils learning? What skills are they developing?
  • How is the teacher offering personalisation and choice?
  • What impact do you think this has on the pupils?
  • What impact do you think this has on the teacher?
  • How common do you think this approach is in this classroom?
  • What would be the impact if these pupils’ next teacher didn’t provide them with these opportunities?
  • How could you adapt your practice in light of this video?

A huge thank you to P3 at Stoneyhill Primary for sharing.

Approaches to Assessment 2

One of the great things about teachers sharing their ideas with blogs is that it can generate a discussion which might not have occurred otherwise. A teacher reads an idea on another teacher’s blog and can add their own thoughts based on their own practice.

Hilery Williams, Dyslexia Support Service, shared her own practice on Robert Jones’ post on Assessment and has kindly agreed to share this here also:


“I happened upon Robert Jones’ blog post about Assessment recently. He used Curriculum for Excellence assessment principles to learn how his students had synthesised work on a money topic which included wages, VAT and exchange rates. He concluded:

I was reminded today of the benefits of giving youngsters a say in how they are assessed, and of the benefits of sharing the purpose of an activity with them.

By chance I carried out a similar exercise at a primary school yesterday.

Last term I had been working with a group of 10 children whose poor working memory hinders them from learning as well as they might.

I returned after the 3 week break to ask them to capture their learning. Like Robert, I asked them to create a poster (they chose to use Comic Life) as an assessment exercise. I was very explicit, telling them this was for me to learn to do my job better as well as to gather evidence of their own learning. To make it more relevant, we agreed we would show the posters to others in their classes so that they could benefit from learning new studying strategies.

The challenge for Robert and I was ‘to figure out a way to capture the evidence … heard in class today’. These conversations I found to be even more enlightening than the finished products. The children built upon each others’ knowledge and understanding and reflected on questions put by me and others in the group to produce thoughtful responses. They were not inhibited by the notion of this activity being An Assessment as they understood that deep learning is ongoing and does not have one ‘final answer’. They were confident enough to say when and what they didn’t remember, and to take steps to find out information from each other in order to complete the poster as effectively as they could.

I now feel better equipped to teach this another time. I think the children themselves were surprised at how much they were able to recall in a collaborative atmosphere.

And this was the meta-point: they had an enhanced awareness of the skills many people use to remember information. The fact that they remembered the work we had done prior to the spring holiday showed them that they could, and had, improve their memories. Two for the price of one!”

Once again a huge thank you to Hilery for sharing, you can view her own blog here.

If you’ve got something to share on assessment, why not comment below or get in touch.

Education Secretary reveals 10 point plan

teacherA ten point plan to drive forward the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence was unveiled by Education Secretary Michael Russell today.  Mr Russell confirmed that the Scottish Government will put a package of support in place – including an additional £3 million – to help make sure every school is ready to implement the new curriculum in the autumn term.  The package will put in place:

  • Tailored support for any secondary school which needs additional help to be ready for the autumn term. Heads have been invited to tell local authorities and the Scottish Government what help they need. This could include help with CPD, additional materials, expert advice or drawing on the experience of teachers from neighbouring schools who have already fully prepared for the new curriculum
  • Additional practical materials for teachers to support implementation and ensure clarity on what is expected
  • £3 million funding for councils to help support quality assurance and moderation of assessment. This will see a system of checks to ensure that the assessment of pupils is being applied consistently and in line with national standards
  • A proposal for literacy and numeracy units to be built into English and maths qualifications to simplify the system for formally recognising these skills which will be developed across the curriculum
  • ‘Excellence Groups’ bringing subject teachers and experts in individual fields – such as the sciences – together to support excellence in education in their subject area and across the curriculum
  • HMIE work with education authorities and schools to support their implementation of Curriculum for Excellence with effective innovation promoted through inspections
  • A series of events to allow headteachers to share experience and best practice
  • A greater role for parents in managing the new curriculum with the National Parent Forum Scotland invited to nominate a member to sit on the management board
  • Additional materials for pupils and parents explaining the new curriculum. Mr Russell will also invite the National Parent Forum Scotland and pupil councils to play a leading role in improving communication
  • A group, convened by Mr Russell, made up of stakeholders and those with an interest in education to advise on future development of Curriculum for Excellence

Mr Russell said:

“I have been listening to the concerns that have been expressed recently around the new curriculum. I have also taken into account the advice of the Curriculum for Excellence Management Board on the additional support which is required. I have acknowledged those concerns and that advice and today I am acting to address them.

“Schools across Scotland, such as St Mungo’s Academy that I’ve visited today, are well underway with their preparations for Curriculum for Excellence.

“They are responding to the challenges of educating their pupils for a modern world requiring new ways of learning, new skills, creativity and innovation. Many good examples of this are already happening in our schools and change is well underway.

“I want to make sure we harness and drive forward this momentum to deliver the best possible education for our young people. That’s why I am announcing a comprehensive action plan to build confidence, provide support and make sure every school in Scotland is ready to deliver the new curriculum in August.

“I have asked each local authority and school to let me know if they will be ready for implementation in August, for those who are not we will offer support. We will work with HMIE and experienced teachers and headteachers to make sure no school is left struggling.

“We will focus our additional expert support and help where it is needed – for schools and teachers who want a bit more but who also know how important these changes are. This could include practical, teacher-led support to ensure every school is fully prepared.

“I believe it is important that literacy and numeracy are formally recognised, however I also understand concerns about the practicality of having a separate portfolio-based qualification.

“To simplify the system we propose that literacy and numeracy units be built into English and maths courses at SCQF levels 3 to 5 – units that adult learners will be able to take as free standing units to boost their skills. This means employers and others have a clear indication of attainment in literacy and numeracy, whilst making the system clearer and easier to understand.

“I recently announced the new Assessment Framework, and said that would be backed up by resources, today I am confirming an additional £3 million for Local Authorities to help fund the quality assurance and moderation system that underpins the Framework.

“This will all be backed up with further support for schools. We have listened to teachers’ concerns that they need more support and more clarity around exactly what will be expected under the new curriculum. We will provide that clarity and provide additional support, including seminars to enable headteachers to share their experiences and best practice and work with experts to make sure all our curriculum areas are the gold standard in that area.

“What’s more we will give parents a greater say in overseeing the curriculum by inviting the National Parent Forum Scotland to nominate a member of the management board and to work with us to ensure the information we send to parents is as clear as it can be.

“I believe this comprehensive package of measures will make sure Curriculum for Excellence delivers on its full potential and makes sure every child in Scotland benefits from the improved education it offers.”

Mr Russell will discuss the ten point action plan with the Curriculum for Excellence management board when he meets them on April 22, 2010.