Session 68: Assessment Special

Assessment Special

“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”

Summary of Session:

Assessment is clearly one of those subjects close to the heart of many teachers, in fact, a major part of the role. This ukedchat session pulled out many frustrations from teachers who see the formalisation of assessment a real obstacle in their job, seeing the assessment process as a ‘box ticking’ exercise. However, support did shine through for ‘Assessment for Learning’ strategies, but completing these (via APP) in a manageable way continues to be a challenge – they can be too much of a paper exercise, devaluing teacher professional opinion. The fear of OFSTED, league tables and parent comparisons made contributors feel that assessments were not being done for the benefit of the pupils, which is surely what it is all about. An interesting example was shared stating that the school system in Australia did not encourage school v school culture, with the emphasis on the learning that goes on within the school. Something our league table culture does not include!

The discussion moved onto an interesting area around ‘failure’, with contributors saying that schools should teach that pupils can embrace their mistakes, making them better learners in the process – classrooms should be made safe places for children to fail, and learn from their errors. The issue with this is being the only way to embed more risk taking is to scale back the accountability. League tables do not allow head-teachers any flexibility.

Another issue that was raised was that as pupils get older, the level matters more so, and summative assessments are prevelant. However, it was stated that students need to understand the steps they need to be successful in order to progress – this is true at all stages of schooling.

To conclude this summary, @GeorgeEBlack shared a quote from Kurt Hahn, “All youngsters need the opportunity of proving themselves to themselves, and education must provide such opportunities.”

Notable Tweets from the Session:

@potterpitter    #ukedchat assessment is the route of all evil; it  is driving education, which is fundamentally wrong
@kvnmcl    #ukedchat Assessment is mostly playing the game, filling in boxes for outside agencies. Very little of it helps children’s learning
@john_at_muuua    We were inspected under the new orders. key points: 1 we have fewer assessments, APP style, about 12 over three years. #ukedchat
@clairegowland    #ukedchat Students are not given time to complete improvements or think about the comments given, so they become worthless
@grouchyteacher    We need to follow a growth model of some sort #ukedchat
@kvnmcl    #ukedchat The only assessment that matters in that which improves learning and understanding, not league driven assessments
@ICTwitz    #ukedchat New Ofsted Framework “Formative assess in lessons 2 support learn & assess over time so progress is planned for.”
@innerquest    @ukedchat @tombarrett #ukedchat You don’t make a pig fat by weighing it, assessment is a means to an end, not the end itself
@kvnmcl This is the approach to assessment in Adult education, part of the learning journey, along with critical reflection #ukedchat
@sibrown1    #ukedchat imo – important aspect of assessment is – time to respond to feedback.  Sick of seeing kids books “marked” with no response =afl
@smithreb    #ukedchat unfortunately pressures have been such that we have moved away from assessment for learning into a model of assessment as learning
@mister_jim    #ukedchat do we need to think about lesson objectives more carefully to plan ops for assessment? Can chn identify what they’ve learned?
@kvnmcl    #ukedchat moderating assessment is nothing more than a two fingered salute to a professional teacher’s judgement
@MissMcCluskey    #ukedchat tests are a good tool for more able/gifted pupils. The right test can help pin point what they need to learn to progress.
@kvnmcl    Government lights the league tabled culture. Media adds wood to keep it burning, parents throw petrol on it every so often #ukedchat
@MultiMartin: @kvnmcl There are no league tables, data comparisons or school vs school culture in Australia. Schools are about children learning #ukedchat
@MsKateRyan    Assessment led learning bothers me for many reasons; criteria led teaching, grade obsessed students, emerging ‘hierarchies… #UKedchat
@mberry    @tombarrett Failure is (often) a consequence of risk taking – crucial for pupils, teachers and heads. qv @SirKenRobinson #ukedchat
@Ideas_Factory    #ukedchat Do we really need assessment?Ask any teacher & they’ll b able to tell what level kids are,they instinctively know-is this enough?
@CreativeSTAR    Is assessment the litmus test of education? #ukedchat It’s time to move from fear to freedom over assessment & everything else.
@tombarrett    If we are guilty of teaching to the test or over use of levels and grades our curriculum needs to change, dramatically! #ukedchat
@SheliBB    We have ‘draw a shoe’, writing progress books (termly) and ICT booklets so the children can see and assess their own progress #ukedchat

Tweets of the Week:

[pullquote]By age 4 a child has made miraculous progress on so many fronts. On entry to school, suddenly only a few accomplishments matter.[/pullquote]@GeekPeter    #ukedchat ….if the map is wrong the journey goes wrong.  Assessment needs criteria to be met, primaries seem to get it right!
@dughall    #ukedchat Ask yourself *Who* is the assessment for?
@kvnmcl    #ukedchat There were no league tables, data comparisons, school vs school culture when I was a lad. And I’m came out fine 🙂
@geraldhaigh1    By age 4 a child has made miraculous progress on so many fronts. On entry to school, suddenly only a few accomplishments matter. #ukedchat
@Lorrainemunro    I see it as a triangle of assessment, planning, learning/teaching. #ukedchat
@eylanezekiel    #ukedchat when  Assessment is link to Raising Standards in the school/LA/city/nation it’ll never really do what it should – help the child
@mister_jim    #ukedchat  assessment equation:  (your teaching + their learning)/specific objectives = useful data to help plan the next session
@tombarrett    “Everyone is a genius.But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” #ukedchat

Web Links Noted During the Session:

@consultanthead  Excellent summary of changes to the new OFSTED Framework from the ASCL #ukedchat
@MultiMartin    @kvnmcl @Babbleaboutbks Mentioned briefly in my ‘Australian Way’ blog post – No SATs or Ofsted either #ukedchat
@CreativeSTAR    Suggest #ukedchat followers have a look at Roger Greenaway’s Reviewing website for ideas to assess & review outdoors 🙂
@TeacherToolkit    How ICT based assessments can make coursework moderation robust & placed in the hands of the students #ukedchat #eScape
@deejbee    #ukedchat This Ken Robinson talk puts the whole assessment question into context for me. Pls watch if you’ve not seen.
@EllenHodgkinson    @ukedchat Patricia Broadfoot’s done great work on assessment. For example:
@Ideas_Factory    @ukedchat #ukedchat Is it at this point I mention my APP Learning Jigsaws?
@mattbuxton10    Use lots of visual thinking tools to assess what’s happening in their mind; Thinking Toolbox example #ukedchat
@dmchugh675    #ukedchat Intro to AfL (NI Curriculum pdf)

About your Host:

Tom Barrett


Tom Barrett is one of the UK’s best known classroom teachers, working in the elementary schools sector. He curates and shares thousands of practical ideas from teachers across the globe on his blog, and puts into practice the very best thinking on educational technology to inspire and engage children in their learning.Tom works on leadership, technology adoption and improving teacher capacity with NoTosh in schools across the UK, and inspires teacher audiences with fresh ideas for engaging young people in learning.His reputation for seeing worthwhile trends in educational technology is well founded: he was the first teacher in the world to work with multitouch tables in the classroom, pre-dating iPads by some three years in a partnership with Philips. He currently sits on the steering group for Durham University’s SynergyNet project that is researching the future path of multi-touch pedagogy.He was also a key figure in spreading the popularity of “for teachers, by teachers” unconference TeachMeet throughout England, devising the commercial partnership model of TeachMeet Takeovers at the world’s biggest education show, BETT.

He also worked with Google to bring their teacher academy event to Google HQ London. It was the first time Google held the teacher training event outside of the US. (via



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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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