Too often, assessment is seen as just another thing to do when you’ve finished the actual business of teaching. There is a danger in thinking about assessment as purely a way to gather data that enables tracking rather than as we were recently reminded by the NAHT’s Assessment Review Group:
‘Assessment is at the heart of high quality teaching and learning… assessment helps teachers to teach and pupils to learn.’
With the government publishing their action plan on teacher workload last week, we thought we’d take the opportunity to talk about ideas for changing assessment from being ‘yet another thing’ on the endless to-do list to something that embeds seamlessly into the actual process of learning. Of course, the best place to put assessment is in the classroom where it can have a direct and immediate impact.
So here are some ideas of how teachers can move assessment from the tired hours at the end of a long day, week, month or half term and make it an integral part of classroom life:
Reading: If you want to assess children while they read, then we recommend the 2Eskimos Reading Assessment Scheme. It’s an app and website that lets teachers record reading accuracy and rate, miscues and comprehension all while the pupil is reading. It’s supported by a collection of texts that have been specially written by a renowned children’s author.
Everything is aligned to the new age-related expectations to guide your judgements through emerging, expected and exceeding. You can even generate automatic reports and print outs for parents, children and staff.
If you’re already a Classroom Monitor user, then you get a Topic Pack worth £200 when you order the 2Eskimos app. The pack includes over 50 books across 9 topics. Find out more here.
Maths: Load up your mental starter objective into the Classroom Monitor app at the start of the lesson. You can immediately see where everyone in the class has been assessed currently so can target appropriate questions. As you work with the class you can quickly and easily update assessment in that objective.
Writing: Working with a guided group on a particular strand of writing? Load up the group in the Classroom Monitor app with the objectives from that strand. As well as recording assessment against the objectives, you can write any observation notes directly into the app rather than your planning- saving time trying to find them again later.
Other areas of learning: The many different ways that you can collect evidence in the Classroom Monitor app – photos, video clips, audio recordings – can reduce the need for recording in books and the associated marking workload that goes with it. A series of photos can show the progress a pupil has made in gymnastics, an audio recording can highlight a particular misconception that a pupil has in science or a video clip can show a pupil demonstrating particular D&T skills.
With ever an eye on workload, it’s important to make sure that whenever you’re recording assessment or evidence it is for the core purposes of helping you to teach and helping your pupils to learn.