Our Assessment Approach
Our approach to assessment shows that assessment must be fit for purpose, in all contexts and domains. Our framework achieves this by ensuring:
- A close link between assessment, curriculum and teaching. Assessment is primarily about how well pupils are learning the intended curriculum. The outcomes of assessment should always influence decisions about teaching and the design of the curriculum.
- Assessments are valid, reliable and used to help pupils to learn better. Assessments should be designed to provide insight into pupils’ learning – it should never be ‘data-led’. However, assessment will be robust enough to provide valid and reliable information across different teachers and different cohorts or classes.
- Reporting and target setting are meaningful and valid. Where assessment outcomes are reported, these measures will be valid, meaningful and easily understood. A valid assessment will always measure what it purports to measure – it will not be used to generalise or distort.
- Assessment methods must be efficient and not increase staff workload. The outcomes from most formative assessments should not need to be recorded formally. There should not need to be more than three formal summative assessment points per year. Approaches to marking should be designed to ensure impact on learning and reduce the burden on staff.
- End of key stage (and, where appropriate, end of year) assessments will be appropriately benchmarked. This is to provide confidence to academy leaders and to the trust that standards are appropriate and to ensure comparability between academies and, where possible, with national expectations. Arrangements for benchmarking will be finalised in due course.
Core Principles of Our Approach to Assessment
- The primary purpose of assessment is to provide valid and reliable information about whether pupils are successfully learning the intended curriculum. Assessment should always provide information about whether pupils can remember, in long-term memory, what they have learned. A further purpose of assessment is to provide information about the effectiveness of curriculum and pedagogy and how these can be improved.
- Progress is defined as the extent to which a pupil or pupils have learned or are successfully learning the intended curriculum. The curriculum is the progression model. It sets out what we want pupils to learn, and therefore their ‘progress’. If pupils are successfully learning the curriculum they must be making progress. Progress cannot be measured or ‘proved’. Attempting to do so often sets up perverse incentives or practices such as teaching to the test.
- Assessment should exploit the benefits of assessment on learning and memory. The approach to assessment should always seek to make use of the ‘testing effect’. Research has shown that regular assessment, if used in appropriate ways, strengthens long-term memory and recall.