Last week the government published plans for changes to the way pupils are assessed at primary schools. You can read the announcement here.
“The reforms will:
improve the way that writing is assessed, so that teachers have more scope to use their professional judgment when assessing pupil performance
introduce a new assessment at the start of reception from September 2020 to act as the start point for measuring progress, so we can give schools credit for the progress they help pupils make in reception, year one and year two
remove the statutory status of end-of-key stage 1 assessments at the earliest possible point, from the 2022 to 2023 academic year, once the reception baseline is fully established
reduce burdens for teachers by removing the requirement to carry out statutory teacher assessments in English reading and mathematics at the end of key stage 2 from the 2018 to 2019 academic year onwards
improve the early years foundation stage profile, including revising the Early Learning Goals to make them clearer and align them more closely with teaching in key stage 1
introduce an online multiplication tables check, to be taken by pupils at the end of year 4, from the 2019 to 2020 academic year onwards.”
(DfE, 2017, lines 8-24)
The announcement also refers to the Rochford Review (2016). This will be of interest to those of you working with pupils working below expected standards. It also provides links to revised teacher assessment frameworks, with further guidance and exemplification materials available later in the year.
If you are in FDLT year 1 you will be exploring assessment in the coming term so you will be interested to read the DfE announcement and follow the links to the Rochford Review and the teacher assessment materials.
DfE. (2017) Improvements to the primary assessment system announced. [online] Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/improvements-to-the-primary-assessment-system-announced [Accessed: 22/09/17]
Rochford, D. (2016) The Rochford Review: final report. Review of assessment for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests. London: Standards and Testing Agency.
In a blog post on November 28th I discussed the recent School Inspection Update as regards deployment of teaching assistants. Also in that document was some discussion of marking:
“The last three school inspection updates have included information about our myth-busting work, including drawing attention to the reports from the DfE’s Workload Challenge review groups that looked at marking, planning and data management.
As I have said before, marking has proved to be one of the harder myths to bust. In part, this has been because we have continued to report on it extensively at some inspections, especially with reference to areas for improvement in previous inspection reports from some time ago. I remain concerned that we continue to see some inspection reporting which gives the impression that more detailed or more elaborate marking is required, or indeed that it is effective in promoting pupils’ achievement. Inspectors must not give the impression that marking needs to be undertaken in any particular format and to any particular degree of sophistication or detail; the reference to marking on page 10 of the school inspection handbook deals with this.
As both the Workload Review group on marking (March 2016) and the Education Endowment Foundation (April 2016) reported, there is remarkably little high quality, relevant research evidence to suggest that detailed or extensive marking has any significant impact on pupils’ learning. So until such evidence is available, and regardless of any area for improvement identified at the previous inspection, please do not report on marking practice, or make judgements on it, other than whether it follows the school’s assessment policy. Also, please do not seek to attribute the degree of progress that pupils have made to marking that you consider to be either effective or ineffective. When reporting, please do not make recommendations for improvement that involve marking, other than when the school’s marking/assessment policy is not being followed by a substantial proportion of teachers; this will then be an issue for the leadership and management to resolve” (OFSTED, 2016, p1-2).
You might find this useful to consider in relation to the marking policy of your school and specifically for FDLT year 1 students working on the PDT 1004 Assessment Project.
Link to the Teacher Workload: Marking Policy Review Group
Link to the Education Endowment Fund Resources on Marking
Have a listen to this article on the BBC Radio 4 program More or Less. This is another example of the popular media presenting statistical data and research in one way, and the data itself conveying something else entirely.
“Five year olds not so bad after all.
‘Shocking’ stats were revealed this week by the Department of Education. School assessments showed that just under a third of five year olds were below the expected standards for children of their age. But not only are these results not that shocking there is another reason why the statistics are not all they seem” (Harford, 2016, lines 13-19).
As a student this is a time when you would go to the data (primary source) rather than the media discussion of the data (secondary source).
Harford, T. (2016) Are you related to Edward III…or Danny Dyer? [online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b083r9x5 [Accessed: 08/12/16]
I recently came across an interesting link on Dylan Wiliam’s Twitter feed. He was recently interviewed by a maths teacher, Craig Barton, and this interview is available for you to listen to as a podcast on his blog: MrBartonMaths.
Quite simply, Dylan is one of my heroes. He was the inspiration behind my Diagnostic Questions website, and his many books, presentations and writing that I have eagerly consumed over the years have always left me filled up with new ideas to try in the classroom.
Dylan Wiliam is Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London. In a varied career, he has taught in inner-city schools, directed a large-scale testing programme, served a number of roles in university administration, including Dean of a School of Education, and pursued a research programme focused on supporting teachers to develop their use of assessment in support of learning.” (Barton, 2016, lines 3-12)
Many of you are working on your PDT 1004 Pupil Assessment assignment so you might find this podcast both interesting and useful. If you click on this link it will take you to the podcast – scroll down to the bottom of the page.
Dylan Wiliam is @dylanwiliam on Twitter and Craig Barton is @mrbartonmaths.
If you have just started the FDLT course in year 1 you will be starting to think more deeply about forms of assessment in education.
As well as the academic reading that you are doing you can explore assessment through the resources available on Teachers’ Media. There are a number of short videos exploring different aspects of assessment across all key stages. You can access them all by finding the key word ‘assessment’ in the ‘while school issues’ section along the top of the page.
You can also find some interesting information on the website of the Education Endowment Fund. If you look the theme ‘Feedback and Monitoring Pupil Progress‘ you will find several projects to follow up. These include feedback and mastery learning.
You may have read some of the work of Dylan Wiliam in your work so far. Several years ago he implemented some of his ideas in a secondary school and this was filmed for the two part series ‘The Classroom Experiment’. These can be accessed via YouTube here: episode 1 and episode 2.
You may have noticed that in mid September the ‘Commission on Assessment Without Levels: final report’ was published. It can be accessed here.
At this same link you can access two videos where John McIntosh CBE, Chair of the Commission discusses the benefits of developing new assessment and Sean Harford, National Director, Schools, Ofsted, talks about inspectors of schools assessment systems.
In addition to this you can explore the Association for Achievement and Improvement through Assessment (AAIA) website here. On this website you can see the development of the assessment without levels approach over the last few years, leading up to this report. You can also see videos of Dylan Wiliam and Tim Oates talking about aspects of the approach and also access the NCTL research report.
If you are on the FDLT course this information will be useful to you in year 1 as you work on the PDT1004 assignment and it will be useful to all students and TAs as you seek to keep up to date with changes in education and schools.
I know that lots of you have thought about formative assessment as part of PDT1004 and in other modules when you are reflecting upon practice. I know from talking with you in sessions that many of you are involved in formative assessment and it would be interesting for him hear from Teaching Assistants and HLTAs so please do send him any stories of formative assessment to the email address he has listed above.
Many academics who research and write about education share their work using Twitter, filmed lectures and their own websites. This can be useful for students as you can explore their views and insights in a variety of ways. An example of this is Dylan Wiliam, whose work you will have been learning about in the PDT 1004 Pupil Assessment sessions.
Dylan Wiliam’s website gives you access to some of his work. You can also follow him on Twitter @dylanwiliam. He regularly tweets links to interesting journal articles and pieces of research. Last week he tweeted a link that you may find useful. It takes you to a set of short videos he made exploring aspects of formative assessment – Journey to Excellence
Dylan Wiliam works at the Institute of Education and on his profile page on the website a list of some of his publications
You can also find some of his lectures and presentations on itunesU and an interview on teachers’ media. Finally Dylan Wiliam made two TV programmes called ‘The Classroom Experiment’. In these he implemented some of his ideas about formative assessment in a secondary school and the results were filmed. The views of children, teachers and parents and the effects on learning are interesting and worth exploring. These are available on YouTube and on Box of Broadcasts (BoB).