Rethinking the approach to assessment

Assessment needs to be more responsive to the needs of learners, says Stephen Tierney.
Teacher helping secondary pupils work at desk

When we formed the Trust, in September 2014 – St. Mary’s Catholic Academy, an 11-18 school and two primary academies, Christ the King and St. Cuthbert’s – we spent a year thinking through our approach to teaching, assessment (without levels) and learning before we attempted to implement anything.  This was critical to thinking through the complex processes that happen within the class room.  At the time we viewed the time taken as a luxury; I now consider it an absolutely necessary part of the process.  It is too easy for school leaders and teachers to implement without thinking.  We are now nearly two years into our implementation phase.  I doubt there is anything in this article which will surprise or be new to you.  The strength of what we have done is the consistency and excellence with which all staff have embraced and implemented the process.  To do it and do it well, we have said “no” to other initiatives and fads.

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