Allen Hall is a vice principal for curriculum and assessment at Waterhead Academy part of the South Pennine Academies in North West England. Allen is a participant of the Future Leaders programme under Ambition School Leadership - https://www.ambitionschoolleadership.org.uk - and a specialist leader in education (SLE) with the South Pennine Academies. He is a keen Twitter user (@ahalledu) and blogger at www.allenhalledu. Allen enjoys debating and discussing education with others to learn new ideas and refine old ones so to improve student learning. His particular interests are in organisational health and evidence-based practice in schools.
Proposing the idea that more testing may be the answer to improving pupil outcomes would undoubtedly result in heads in the staffroom turning in absurdity - or the cause of a full riot on social media. It is the belief of many that pupils are being over-assessed already, so why introduce more? It is felt that too much assessment is affecting the mental health of children, or squeezing the joy out of learning, and may be a direct cause of underachievement. Therefore, to introduce more would be outlandish. Each concern is valid - especially in the case of high-stakes testing - however, we should not discount the role that low-stakes testing may have in enhancing pupil learning.
I must be feeling my age to start with the cliché that “when I was a kid…”, but the modern environment for millennials has vastly evolved from a simpler time of the internet in its infancy, mobile phones the size of bricks (which appear to be back in fashion) topped with an antennae and when buying music was a ritual of sourcing enough change to walk into a store and physically buy a CD with all its glory. Notwithstanding the nostalgia, this period of time still came cloaked with issues of self-esteem, concerns over image, bullying in all its forms, and anxiety to achieve well in school threading all ages together.