From education to employment

Teachers need more support in meeting assessment targets, according to delegates at the Institute o

Teachers are left out of the loop when it comes to assessment testing, and need more support in meeting assessment targets, according to delegates at the Institute of Educational Assessors summer conference.

Speakers at the debate, which looked at the current situation and future plans for assessment in the UK, included Kathleen Tattersall, Chair, IEA; David Gee, Managing Director, National Assessment Agency; Professor Paul Black, Emeritus Professor of Education, Kings College and Randy Bennett, Distinguished Presidential Appointee, ETS.

Key issues debated by members of the education and assessment community, from schools and higher and FE institutions, included how to meet the needs of the key stakeholders, feedback from various kinds of testing and the focus society puts on assessment, as well as the support given to individuals, teachers and examiners. “We should be testing what we value, not valuing what we test,” was one point raised by the audience.

“The problem with assessment in this country, is that it’s seen as something that’s done to people rather than an involvement,” said one delegate. “Are we the right people to talk to in terms of assessment, for learning and improvement strategies? The teachers themselves are taken out of that loop. Someone else marks and judges, and teachers have not been encouraged with that assessment themselves.”

One head teacher added a “reality check” on the amount of tests teachers are supposed to carry out. “My staff has to give valid, reliable assessments every 4-6 weeks especially in core subjects,” she said. “And in a lot of secondary schools now, that’s the norm. Teachers need support and confidence building in the quality of those assessments, and that support needs to be day-to-day, month-to-month, as opposed to at the end of a key stage. Anything that doesn”t meet that demand will fall short.”

David Gee, MD, NAA, said: “We need to have an accurate picture of how knowledgeable and skilled our people are and be able to compare that with other people in the world. Education in any capacity should be the driver of aspiration and ambition. The learner lies at the heart of any good education system and assessment lies at the heart of learning.”

Other events discussed at the conference, which was hosted by leading organisations such as AQA, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, Cambridge Assessment, the National Assessment Agency and NFER, included the 14-19 White Paper and specialised Diplomas, and the issues surrounding the practical implementation of e-assessment in schools or colleges.

Annabel Hardy

Related Articles