The learning and Teaching website’s section on Building the Curriculum 5 : A Framework for Assessment states that:
“Building the Curriculum 5 – A Framework for Assessment is the next step in providing support for staff as they implement Curriculum for Excellence. It provides an outline of the approaches to assessment to support the purposes of learning 3 to 18.”
Last week, we worked in groups to try to familiarise ourselves with the document. Each group member looked at a different section and tried to summarise the main points. I looked at the section on How We Assess and I’m going to publish my summary here. Others might condense the chapter differently, but I’m putting it on here in the hope that it will be more accessible in the future should I ever wish to revisit my own first thoughts about the document.
How We Assess
- A variety of approaches and range of evidence should be employed. These should dependent on the activity, but also on the learners’ preferences. Learners should be able to show their thinking and provide evidence
- Assessment should be fit for purpose. it should be valid, reliable and proportionate … and it shouldn’t be so much of a burden that it takes away from the learning and teaching time
- Assessment should: demonstrate learners’ understanding; confirm progress within school; provide information for other partners; supply information for use beyond school (exams. etc.?)
- When designing discussions, tasks, activities, etc., it is important to obtain evidence from inside and outside school. Sources may be: observations; records (e.g. oral); information (e.g. dialogue and questioning; writte; product; accounts by others (peers, parents, staff, etc.)
- Assessment needs to be carefully planned for interdisciplinary learning and records must be kept but it must be manageable and practicable within day to day teaching
- A section on the SQA describes how National 4 and National 5 will replace Standard grade exams. Access, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications will be revised. New Literacy and numeracy qualifications are being developed from S3 onwards – these will be awarded on the basis of a portfolio and will initially involve input from the SQA who will award grades.
When the group got together to share our respective summaries, one thing that stood out was the repetitive messages included in the document. There were 5 members in the group, and on quite a number of occassions voices could be heard saying, “Yes, that’s much the same messages I got from reading my section.” Despite the repetitiveness, I agreed with the sentiments.
We then looked at how we might put this in to practice and were given a scenario so that we could assess an aspect of Literacy. After some discussion we looked at emerging approaches to assessment . These come with a ‘warning’ message:
“However, in their day-to-day practice, practitioners would not be expected to document the assessment process for all learners in this kind of detail. It will be up to local authorities and establishments to decide how evidence of learning is to be captured, evaluated and used to inform next steps in learning and teaching.”
We also looked at specific examples.
I began to wonder that, as it’s just not possible to provide that much detail about each student’s learning without compromising learning and teaching time, might we end up going back to paying lip-service to assessment (PLP’s, Self-assessment, Peer-assessment, etc.)?
What if they were allowed (encouraged/trusted/guided?) to assess their own learning via ePortfolios?
Too many questions …. and I’ve gone off on one of those ‘blue sky thinking’ tangents again – time to publish 🙂
Moderation locally is the newest point for teachers, schools and LAs to consider. Has any LA actually started this moderation process ?
I’m not sure, Nick.
My understanding is that we’re waiting for the National Assessment Resource exemplars and resources to be published in September.
Maybe LAs are waiting for this?