Saw the reference to this on Becky Allen’s post today in the IoE Blog on “poor attainment data coming too late.” I commend this piece of really helpful thinking she pointed us to, from Tom Sherrington. If you are a school leader, and you are interested in improving assessment in a school, then read this! If you are a Year 6 teacher or an assessment manager in a secondary school, read this and regain your sanity when school leaders are telling you to improve scores at children’s expense. If you work for the DfE and think that norm-referenced bellcurves were ever going to help you lie more effectively to your political bosses, then read this. Thank you Tom.
As we continue to develop our system-wide thinking about assessment, it’s important that teachers and leaders understand the underlying concepts we’re dealing with. In order to motivate and challenge all students, it makes good sense to try to distinguish between attainment and progress. This allows us to give value to students making strides with their learning regardless of their starting point. Schools have made valiant efforts to develop assessment language and processes to measure progress and to report this to parents. Not everyone can get the top marks but everyone can make progress. That’s the idea. But does it work?
The idea of progress only works if we’re clear about what it means – and only if we give it the weight the concept can sustain.
If we have something absolute like the time it takes to run a 5K race or how far we can jump in long jump…
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