Wednesday, 3 January 2018

10 Tips For Great Assessment

Assessment is a part of human nature. We assess on a daily basis without even realising it: assessing the dangers of crossing the road; assessing whether we have time to sit for coffee of whether to have a take-out; assessing whether we need to take an umbrella. It's no different in education.

When teachers go through he training process they are taught about the importance of assessment and the differences between formative and summative assessment. In fact, this is drummed into us from day one right through to the day we qualify and beyond. 

Assessment is an integral part of education but is a topic that sparks much debate. What are the benefits and drawbacks to assessment? What is its purpose? What effects does it have on the child? Love it or hate it, it's here to stay! 

My 10 tips below will help you to make 2018 a great year for assessment.



1.  Use technology
Technology is fun and students love it! Be creative about how you set assessments - try  Powerpoint slideshows, internet research, form filling tools, apps etc. Technology is also a much faster way of recording assessments than filling out paper forms. You can save paper, and save time. Technology will also give you more options for recording and storing evidence, and makes it easier to share your assessments with others.

2.  Think about location
You should be assessing at every opportunity, not just on "assessment day". Assessment should be something that embeds seamlessly into the process of learning, rather than an extra task on the ‘to do’ list. Assessing children as they learn can have a direct and immediate impact. It will also save you time, as you won’t be putting off assessment until later!

3.  Use a framework to ensure progress
A clear framework will make it easier for you to see each child’s next steps, and to set appropriate targets. Curricular targets can then be set to move pupils on in their learning as opposed to setting a general target score.

4.  Track pupil progress
Regular tracking highlights gaps in learning, and brings to your attention more quickly those students who may be struggling or falling behind. It’s a good idea to track and compare groups of children who have similar needs or who are vulnerable. This will help you to plan interventions, set meaningful targets and differentiate your lesson plans.

5.  Match it to your curriculum
Formative assessment is an important tool to help you to teach and support pupils to learn. Assess only those things that tell you something useful. The most relevant formative assessment will highlight the areas of your curriculum that are strong, and those that need more coverage or resources.

6.  Record evidence
Evidence is important to back up your judgements and to share for moderation purposes. This could include examples of pupils’ work, photos, videos and sound recordings. Parents also love to see their child’s achievements, so multi-media evidence is a great way to engage them.

7.  Be clear on your progress measures
Moderation is important to ensure that there is consistency in assessment across the school. Are you all singing off the same hymn sheet? Does everyone know how to recognise "working towards", "on target" and "exceeding"? Making sure that there is shared understanding helps maintain smooth progression between year groups. And your bank of evidence comes in handy here to support your judgement and to compare with others when moderating work.

8.  Make it easy to share
Summative data is usually easily accessible as this is mostly comprised of National Test results and other formal tests such as reading tests, phonics checks, spelling checks etc. Occasionally you may be asked to show your formative assessment alongside your summative data (Ofsted, Estyn, Senior Leaders, Governors, Local Authority etc.). Would you be able to find and show them what they’re looking for quickly and easily? This is another area where using technology may help. Sharing assessments with students is also important: they need to know how they are performing, where they need to be and how to get there.

9.  Communicate with students
Make sure that your students understand what is expected from them and how they can achieve it. Giving children very clear lesson objectives, learning outcomes, specific targets and descriptions of their next steps will help to motivate them along the way. They should also be given opportunities to self-assess and peer assess so that they take ownership of their own progress.

10. Link formative assessment to everything you do
Use a good tracker to link formative assessment to everything you do

I love to make assessment fun for my students. The key is to come up with activities that students enjoy and where they don't realise that they are being assessed - a bit like hiding the veg in creative ways for children who refuse to eat their greens! I can't wait to try out my newest resource that I have been working on over Christmas - the "Big Idea Challenge Relay". Children get to work on an answer for thirty seconds before moving on to the next question. They then get an opportunity to self-assess or peer assess their answers. The activity is fun and fast paced, and children love the freedom to move around the classroom on the given signal and the competitiveness. 

This is a great way of testing prior knowledge before introducing a new topic and assessing how much they have learned at the end of the topic - can students beat the score they got first time round?

 

You can try out "The Big Idea Relay Challenge - Seasons" for half price until Friday 5th January. If you do, please leave me a comment with some feedback. The links below will take you to my TPT store, TES store and Facebook Store respectively.

 TPT         TES  
 Facebook

Tried Amazon Prime?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover