Assessment – Who needs assessing then?


imagesAssessment!

  • Why do we assess?
  • What is the purpose of assessment?
  • Who do we assess for?

These are all question that you hear being asked so often in modern education. I realise no one truly knows the answers to these questions. But this blog will explore briefly 2 alternative perspectives.

Lets consider the 2 contrasting opinions

Opinion 1 – Against the current assessment system. 

What do we mean by assessments?

Lets first find a definition for assessment: “the action of assessing someone or something.” So it is assessing what children are doing within education. Assessment is looking for the learning that has happened and reporting on it.

Lets break this down then

  1. Looking for learning that has happened – Books record most of the learning that is or has happened.
  2. Reporting on it – Books again have the teachers marking within them, which shows if the objectives/lesson has been understood/covered. Teacher also plan in depth so their planning will inform whether objectives are being covered in lessons.

Let put it another way :-

If you are asked to report on what you did at the weekend; do youFree school

  • Go through a large tick box exercise breaking all the different parts down?
  • Measure what you have achieved by look at one stand alone point within the weekend?
  • Measure at 3 different point if you are closer to achieving the overall goal?

I believe the answer to most of these is NO!

So why are most assessments models built upon this system?

Why do we have a system that measure progress and achievement by:-

  • Lots of ticking and highlighting boxes
  •  A 2 hour test which summons up 2 years worth of work
  • Assessment 3 times a year against the same set of objective

Ok, Moan over!!

Option 2 – In favour of this system. 

What do we mean by assessments?

assessment 2Lets first define it: “the action of assessing someone or something.” So it is assessing what children are doing within education. Assessment is looking for the learning that has happened and reporting on it.

Lets break this down then

  1. Learning over time: In their books there is a snap shot of what has happened within that 1 hour lesson. Learning over time is more then meeting an objective.
  2. Reporting – As teachers we need a system that allows us to report to other interested parties what the children have achieved.

Let put it another way :-

If you are asked to report on what you did at the weekend; do you

  • know exactly what you did ever single second of the day?
  • Know whether what you did is comparative to others?

I believe the answer to most of these is NO!

So this is why we need assessment models that track in this way. We need a system that allow teachers to see all the objectives that need to be taught. We need to have a system that allows for progress (Beginning, Emerging, Secure, Mastered). We need a system that allows reports to be generated. We need a system that is easy to use and “parent” friendly. Time for change

Conclusion

At the moment we have many stems in the UK for assessing children and student. Personally I think whatever system we have there will be teachers who like it and those who do not. The Key question is this

“What impact does it have on my teaching?”

  • If the answer is none, then the system is rightly wrong and should be avoided.
  • If the answer is some, then there are elements of the system that are correct and these should be used. The parts that do not impact should be scraped.
  • If the answer is a lot, then this is the system we should be using.

Exceptional Rating

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