One thing is for sure, there is little more critical in school than assessment. Beyond our students themselves, being able to show progression, next steps, and that the school is able to get the grades to help pupils progress in life – assessment, and the resulting data, has become a daily monster that most teachers need to keep fed.
Although assessment ultimately leads to the production of data, analysis and scrutiny, finding approaches that work for your classroom, school and students can take a bit of experimentation to ensure workload pressures remain manageable. In fact, in his new book, English teacher Chris Atherton maintains that making assessment work is not a trivial matter. At the heart, evidence-based assessment strategies that can work in classrooms are summarised with accompanying discussions around implications for professional practice.
Throughout the book, Chris Atherton explores where assessment sits with feedback, memory, peer learning, curriculum design, metacognition and how effective implementation of strategies has been put into practice. Chris even acknowledges how, due to the many variables that are evident in education (no two classrooms or group of students are exactly the same), evidence-based research projects exploring assessment are extremely complex. Drawing on comparisons between 10 countries it is clear to see that there is no widely accepted quick-solution for assessments but, in identifying that assessment is the engine that drives effective learning and should be used by both teachers and students to reflect on learning, Atherton has drawn together a useful tool for practitioners who are wanting to explore their practice to develop and improve assessment in their classroom.