‘Do what works’ James Pembroke, SigPlus.
Leading assessment can be hugely rewarding, but it can also be daunting for those of you who are just starting to lead it. We've written some top tips for you.
Start with the priorities:
What is the ethos that you are trying to create as a school, and how will you aim to achieve this? These principles ideally need to be shared with your team, Governors, parents/carers and pupils. A shared community that works together towards one goal is more effective than one where key people don’t understand or believe in what you are trying to achieve.
Clarity and Simplicity
When you are looking at the assessment procedures in place in your setting, ask yourself how clear it is, and how simple it is to process. I have worked with many schools over the years, and one thing that I observed during this time was a variety of systems, bought in at different times in the life of the school, and never fully embedded or effective as a result. Some schools even had different systems in every class, making it difficult to unpick what the information was telling us.
What system or systems you have doesn’t really matter. What does matter however, is whether it is easy to use and effective in terms of the information you gather.
The priority has always got to be - what impact will the system have on pupil’s learning?
Whatever assessment system you choose, whether you create your own, or purchase one from one of the education companies, assessment information should be part of your school’s Development Plan, and review cycle. Information should be gathered to inform leaders and teachers of where the next steps are in terms of helping pupil’s to extend their learning.
Many schools overlook this valuable opportunity to really dig deep into the information that they have gathered in order to move pupil’s learning on. Make sure that you have created time and space as a team to look at the data that your assessments have created, and to work out next steps together.
Put simply, if it doesn’t have a positive impact on children’s learning, something needs to change, and change quickly.