Tag Archives: btc5

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.

Approaches to Assessment

For many teachers, developing new approaches to assessment which meet the principles of Building the Curriculum 5 provides some of the most interesting challenges under Curriculum for Excellence. This is why LTS have made such a great effort to get as many emerging approaches to assessment online as quickly as possible. I’ve been recording my own thinking on this on my personal blog, as has Robert Jones, PT Maths at North Berwick High School. He kindly agreed to share his most recent post on assessment on here:

“I’m sure I am not alone amongst Scottish educators in wondering what assessment is going to look like in coming sessions.

Having watched this Teachers’ TV video at the weekend, I felt inspired to try an assessment activity that might better reflect the principals of assessment in CfE. It wasn’t a big deal, but the outcome was interesting enough to prompt this rare blog post!

Today was the last lesson for my S2 class on a money topic which included wages, VAT and exchange rates. I told the class that the aim of the lesson was for them to produce evidence of what they had learned during the topic, then asked them how they thought they might do that. The first response was “a test” (loud boos from classmates!). Someone else suggested making posters, and another pupil suggested making up questions for the Activote pods, which they would then answer.

We settled on making posters. I have done this many times before as a way of allowing a class to reflect upon their learning and pull together a topic. The difference this time was that I had been very clear with them about the fact that this was an assessment activity. We were doing this activity to gather evidence of their learning.

I put them into groups of 3/4 (at random) and gave them 3 minutes to decide on their roles within the groups. I stopped the clock after 1 minute, because they were assigning roles like “write the banner” and “”draw the pictures”. I said “remember – the purpose of this lesson is to gather evidence of your learning”, then started the clock again. This time they immediately began talking about the content of the topic, and chose roles like “write about VAT”.

I told them that each team shared responsibility for everything on their poster, then let them get on with it. None of them seemed to have any problem with being assessed through a group activity.

As I walked around and discussed their posters with them, several pupils asked me “is this okay?” or “can I do …?”. I replied by asking them whether or not they felt that it provided good evidence of everything that they had learned. This seemed to be a very powerful question – they always responded by going back to their posters and adding more or amending what they already had.

Some pupils asked me (or other members of their teams) to explain parts of the topic that they had not fully understood. They seemed quite comfortable with the fact that these conversations would form part of the assessment process. And the whole class understood that what they said counted for something. In fact one boy, when I asked what evidence we were getting from his intricately written title, replied “but I told you about how to work out VAT when we were talking to X”. The challenge for me is to figure out a way to capture the evidence that I heard in class today.

To cut a long story short, 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. It hardly seems worth mentioning when I put it like that :)”

Thanks to Robert for sharing that. Why not check out his own blog, or start your own!

Getting to know BtC5

Elise & I attended the launch event for Building the Curriculum 5 yesterday in Stirling. This included a variety of workshops designed to encourage participants to begin to engage with the new framework for assessment.

We’re aware that some schools are planning to carry out very similar activities in the near future, so we’ve modified and shared one of the powerpoints for schools to use. You can see this above or download it here.

This could be used with groups of approximately ten staff in a session lasting 1.5 hours. Please feel free to modify it as you see fit for your own context. For example, you may need to change the timings or use the summary document instead if you have a small number of staff involved.

If you have any questions, problems or issues regarding this presentation (or BtC5) that you think we could help with please do let us know.

Building the Curriculum 5: A framework for assessment

Building the Curriculum 5 is now out. A paper copy will be coming to every practitioner in due course (so don’t go printing out lots of copies just yet!) In the meantime you can download and read.

Building the Curriculum 5…

sets out key messages about principles of assessment, standards and expectations, ensuring consistency, CPD and support, reporting to parents, informing self-evaluation for improvement and monitoring standards over time. LTS Website

There are actually four documents to download:

Don’t forget there is also the Assessment and Achievement section of the LTS website.