I’m having an evening off from coding so, instead, have decided to do a quick blog…
One of the challenges of introducing something completely new to schools (at least, as far as I know) is helping people to understand the value that it brings. I previously listed 10 reasons for using certainty-based assessment but it’s rather academic. Now I’m going to start working this into a pitch (a ‘value proposition’ as sales-types would put it) focusing on three core needs. Here is my initial draft for proposition 1.
1. Assessment that genuinely informs teaching and learning.
You would have to had been living on another planet for decades to have missed the promotion of Assessment for Learning. The principle is not one that anyone argues against – assessment with meaningful feedback is undoubtedly a powerful driver of learning. In practice, the implementations have been extremely variable with a general trend towards less rigour and formality than used for ‘summative’ assessments. During my teacher training, for example, it was implied that ‘Assessment for Learning’ could be used to describe pretty much any activity that had some element of feedback.
What do you really know? offers an assessment method that is great for integrating into learning sequences and delivers the type of feedback that can drive learning in a specific and useful way.
Pupils receive instant feedback on their answers where it is clear what the next steps are – whether it means rehearsal and practice to embed a concept or unlearning/relearning something they have misunderstood. There is always more to strive for – a higher score to achieve – until the pupil is confident in their knowledge.
Individual test results give teachers a previously unavailable insight into what their pupils have grasped and what they have not. This allows the teacher to pitch lessons much more accurately to build on the level of understanding in the room. It also enables targeted interventions to deal with those misconceptions that undermine progress.
Finally, rigorous and granular assessment helps those trying to understand trends at cohort level enabling them to improve learning in the long term. The detail from these assessments provides new evidence to inform the design of curricula and learning sequences.