This blog is the last in our series on sharing assessment data. We’ve already looked at sharing with parents, sharing with pupils and sharing with governors. In this blog, we’re going to look at sharing assessment information with colleagues and the reasons for doing this.
There are a wide range of reasons that you might want to share assessment information with other teachers including:
Pupil progress meetings
Pupil progress meetings are a mainstay in many school environments now. They provide an excellent forum for teachers and senior leaders to come together to discuss how things are going in a particular class, evaluate strategies used and come up with action plans to have the best impact on pupil outcomes.
The starting point for these is often pupil tracking information: How are the pupils doing in relation to age related expectations? Are children with similar starting points making similar progress? Which interventions and support strategies have had the greatest impact on attainment and progress? Who are the pupils who are not achieving or progressing as we’d like? The Classroom Monitor homepage graphs can be a great starting point for this as they are a great visual way for teachers to monitor and review attainment in their class at the top level. From these teachers can drill down into the data in pupil tracking; comparing pupil achievement in different subjects and with historic attainment and progress information.
While the top level numbers are great to help identify which pupils have an attainment or progress issue, they don’t tell us much about why the issue exists. In order to explore that ‘why?’, we need to take a look at what’s happening in the classroom and the particular areas where a pupil is and isn’t making progress. By fully understanding this, it is much easier to plan a way forward to support that child to succeed. Where formative assessment information has been recorded on an ongoing basis, the task is a fairly straightforward issue.
While knowing the wider issues that a child is dealing with can help explain why they aren’t achieving as well as you would expect – perhaps they’ve been ill this term – if you can see the gaps in their learning then you can identify ways to help them move forward. Similarly, the top level numbers might show that one intervention has worked really well while another seems to have had little impact. Looking at the formative assessment information can explain the reasons why. The Assessment Progress Report in Classroom Monitor allows you to share how a pupil has progressed at an objective level during a particular timeframe so that you can see where progress has been made as well as where it has not.
Whether pupils are moving to a new school or just up to the next teacher, the more information that the receiving teachers have about a child’s learning the easier it is to hit the ground running. Sharing detailed information about a pupil’s strengths, weaknesses and next steps can help combat the post-summer dips that are often seen in children’s learning.
Often at the end of the summer term when these conversations occur, teachers have lots of other things going on and it can be difficult to have time to give it the time it deserves. While top level attainment data might help the receiving teacher in terms of organising their class and having an idea of the general make-up of their class, it doesn’t tell them much about the individuals and their learning profiles.
Again, formative assessment information can be really useful. If a teacher can see where a pupil has already got to in a skill, then it is much quicker to move on with developing that skill than having to assess it again for themselves at the beginning of the year. Our Pupil Assessment Summary can be really useful for this. It can provide a focus for transition meetings making them more useful and also act as supporting information and a reminder after a long summer holiday. Even if Pupil Assessment Summaries have not been shared with you, remember that you will still be able to access them for a class next year to get to that information yourself.
The Class Markbook is a way of sharing information without having to explicitly do so. When a receiving teacher is planning learning, they can refer to the assessments made in the previous ability level to help meet pupils’ needs based on their individual starting points.
Moderating assessment judgements
It’s often very easy to become trapped in your own classroom with little view of what’s going on elsewhere. This can cause teachers to routinely over or under assess their children and can result in over or under confident judgements. For example, even 3 years into the new curriculum for schools in England, we still hear from lots of teachers that they or their colleagues still do not have the same confidence in their assessment judgements as when they were dealing with levels. It’s very difficult to judge your own judgements if you have nothing to benchmark them against and this is where moderation with a friendly colleague can be really useful.
Comparing group tracking information with a colleague can be a good starting point to see whether your judgements seem to be broadly in line. After this a focused look and comparison of how you are assessing can be beneficial to both parties. If you are teachers who have been attaching evidence to the Classroom Monitor markbooks, then the Learning Journey output can be a really useful comparison. Printing learning journeys for a sample of your children allows you to look at the evidence that has been collected and the assessment judgements that have been associated with them. Of course, looking at collections of work in books is always going to be useful and supporting this with a Pupil Assessment Summary to show how a pupil has been assessed can help this process.
At the beginning of this series we recommended that teachers should follow the principle of ‘collect once and use many times’ with recording assessment information. Teachers have enough to do without collecting assessments that have no benefit to themselves or the pupils that they teach. We hope we’ve shown you that collecting formative assessment information in Classroom Monitor allows you to really make the most of it by sharing it with all stakeholders.