A Framework for Assessment: key messages

Building the Curriculum 5: A Framework for Assessment was released last week.  The LTS website has a range of materials to support his launch.

I’ve copied some of the key elements here for ease of reference (bold/italics are my own emphasis).  This area will be a key focus for the CfE Implementation Partnership over the next six months. 

The Framework for Assessment aims to create:

> a more effective assessment system which supports greater breadth and depth of learning and a greater focus on skills development

> through collaborative working, a better-connected assessment system with better links between pre-school, primary and secondary schools, colleges and other settings to promote smooth transitions in learning

> better understanding of effective assessment practice and sharing of standards and expectations, as well as more consistent assessment

> more autonomy and professional responsibility for teachers

Principles of assessment:

Assessment practice will follow and reinforce the curriculum and promote high quality learning and teaching approaches. Assessment of children’s and young people’s progress and achievement during their broad general education to the end of S3 will be based on teachers’ assessment of their knowledge and understanding, skills, attributes and capabilities, as described in the experiences and outcomes across the curriculum. Assessment practices for the next generation of National Qualifications from S3 (for National Literacy and National Numeracy) and in the senior phase and beyond will be aligned to Curriculum for Excellence

Standards and expectations:

The standards and expectations that form our aspirations for all learners from 3 to 18 are set out for the whole curriculum in the experiences and outcomes of Curriculum for Excellence and their equivalent in the specifications for qualifications and awards. Reflecting the principles of Curriculum for Excellence, progress is defined in terms of ‘how well’ and ‘how much’, as well as learners’ rate of progress. This approach will promote greater breadth and depth of learning, including a greater focus on the secure development of skills and knowledge. Assessing progress across a breadth of learning, in challenging aspects and when applying learning in different and unfamiliar contexts, will also help teachers to plan, track progress, summarise achievements in a rounded way and better prepare children and young people for the next stage in learning.

Ensuring consistency:

Scottish Government, other national partners and education authorities will work together to build on local and national practices for quality assurance and moderation of assessment. The aim will be to support the development of a shared understanding to achieve consistency in standards and expectations and build trust and confidence in teachers’ judgements. Education authorities will provide assurance that schools in their area are consistently applying national standards and expectations.

Informing self-evaluation for improvement:

To enable schools to use benchmarking information, the Scottish Government will develop from its previous work with education authorities a process to enable sharing of information about learners’ performance at school level. The Scottish Government will not collate or publish aggregate information nationally.

Monitoring standards over time:

The revised Scottish Survey of Achievement (SSA) will be fully aligned with Curriculum for Excellence and will sample learners’ achievements to measure standards over time and to monitor national performance in literacy and numeracy at P4, P7 and S2. Scotland will participate actively in international surveys of achievement to compare the performance of our children and young people with that of their peers in other countries. The findings of all such national and international studies will contribute to guidance and advice in the National Assessment Resource to help achieve better outcomes for all learners.

Reporting to parents:

Parents will get regular information about their children’s strengths, progress and achievements. This will include brief descriptions of progress across the curriculum areas and through the curriculum levels as well as progress towards qualifications in the senior phase. In addition to individual reports on the progress of the child or young person, they will receive information on: how well all learners and particular groups of learners are achieving; the performance of children and young people in the school in relation to expected levels at particular stages in key areas such as literacy and numeracy; and how the school is applying national standards and expectations. 

CPD and support:

Staff will be supported by continuing professional development and a new online resource – the National Assessment Resource – which will provide guidance, assessment materials and illustrations of performance and learners’ work to support the development of consistent standards.

Summary of a Framework for Assessment – see diagram on page 10 of document

What we assess

Application of the national standards and expectations of each learner’s progress and achievements in
• knowledge and understanding
• skills
• attributes and capabilities as detailed in the experiences and outcomes within curriculum areas and
subjects and in the curriculum guidance and specifications for qualifications and awards in the senior phase

Why we assess

        Supporting learning
• sharing learning intentions and success criteria
• high quality interactions and feedback
       Promoting learner engagement
• learner involvement in reflection, setting learning goals and next steps including through personal
learning planning
• self and peer assessment
       Ensuring appropriate support
• to be fair and inclusive
• to enable learners to have the best chance of success

When we assess

• as part of ongoing learning and teaching
• periodic (from time to time)
• at transitions

How we assess

• by using a variety of approaches and range of evidence to fit the kind of learning
• by making assessment fit for purpose and appropriately valid, reliable and proportionate
• through partnership working

Informing self-evaluation for improvement

Information gathered should:
• contribute to an account of success at local and national levels
• enable the monitoring of standards over time

Reporting on progress and achievement

• involving learners, parents and others, for example, profiles, records and reports
• describing progress and achievement against standards and expectations
• giving a valid and reliable account of learning at points of transition as concisely as possible
• recognising learners’ achievements including through celebrating success, profiling achievement, and
by using certification, accreditation, qualifications and awards

Ensuring quality and confidence in assessment

• developing sound judgements through sharing standards
• supporting assessment through exemplification and CPD