How far are we from radical assessment reforms in our schools?
I have Survey of over 20,000 teachers and asked the question: “What is the biggest burden for teaching work?”
In my work with schools across the UK, teachers have to deal with the marking burden regardless of context. Daily classroom assessment leads to problems with mental health and wellbeing among teachers across the UK. If labeling and assessment fail, more and more tests and reports are created. Add accountability to the mix of school and tracking student progress, then changing success between two times becomes a very fashionable measurement.
Does the assessment improve a student’s performance?
Not only are some of our current methods of tracking learning progress ineffective, our obsession with datasets, edtech solutions, and tests can also harm and limit our students. This term “those who are most likely to succeed” and “those who are most likely to fail” …
At the system level, our educational leaders evaluate our schools, multi-academy trusts and, in some cases, their inspection in addition to the statutory school inspection to improve performance. For schools, the apparent success of upgrading the ranking ensures more students and more funds – and so the cycle continues – but this measurement of “added value” gives a false perception of teacher skills and student progress.
How can we find out what we don’t know?
Professor Rob Coe reminds us that “the review must contain information that may surprise us and tell us something we don’t know yet” because when we report what we already know we don’t learn anything new about what to do. My suggestion of how teachers and schools can counter this trend is:
- Rethink homework
- Consider a comparative assessment in the classroom
- Use classroom assessment strategies to test learning
- Instead of assuming that it was written in the best form, opt for oral feedback
- Consider artificial intelligence to reduce workload and use all of the above to improve the classroom.
Of course, it is gradually examined whether our excessive handling of assessments is due to the perception of effectiveness or to the demands placed on teachers and schools from outside. However, I am convinced that the best intentions of a school, even if it has no school grades or homework, may be exceeded by external forces, e.g.
God forbid it is your school principal who is the driving force? The key is how schools strike a balance between accountability and autonomy. At the same time, we should find out what makes great teaching and how this translates into assessments and good results for our young people.
Discover how your school can become a research-led institution and use some of these well-designed ideas as part of a CPD program to support teachers …
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