Effective assessment is crucial in supporting students to improve their learning
The importance of education has never been greater than it is today.
As Andreas Schleicher, the Director for Education and Skills at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said:
“Education needs to prepare students to:
o for jobs that have not yet been created
o using technologies that have not yet been invented
o to solve problems that we don’t yet know will arise
It is not about more of the same, but about new….
The productivity of our education system is crucial to the wellbeing of our citizens as well as the nation. Central to the effectiveness of our schools is the quality of teaching and learning that is consistently available to all participants. Within the overall arrangement for teaching and learning, assessment is universally acknowledged as playing a vital role.
Effective assessment is crucial in supporting students to improve their learning. It helps students to maximise their potential at different stages of learning, raise their awareness of strengths and areas for development. It also helps to identify crucial actions to be undertaken to improve learning.
While assessments can take many forms, and are used for a variety of purposes, schools overwhelmingly utilise formative and summative approaches. However, over the course of the school year, best practice demands that both methods are used where appropriate in order to support the learning goals of the students. The purpose of formative assessment is to provide regular and frequent feedback on student progress by identifying successful learning as well next steps.
Within formative assessment, quality feedback has a critical role to play. Effective feedback allows students to:
The purpose of formative assessment is to provide regular and frequent feedback to the learner about progress, identifying successful learning as well as actions for further learning gain.
Summative assessments are usually graded tests or assignments that are used in order to determine whether the learner has learned that which was expected, over a given period of time.
Formative assessments offer the student and teacher an extensive range of tools in order to support learning. Formative assessment is much more flexible and more agile than summative.
However, all assessment systems are dependent upon well-qualified and highly motivated teachers.
“Those who cannot assess cannot teach” - Lord Sutherland
Mirkka Jokelainen addresses the question how can we ask students to demonstrate thinking skills and the ability to apply knowledge by ticking a box?
John Galloway discusses how we can identify and support girls with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.