DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: ASSESSMENT

From scores to written comments, verbal responses and summaries or the possibility of combing them all in order to generate a comprehensive narrative of a student’s progress - most teachers know what authentic assessment looks like.  It is personalised, it is descriptive, and it is encouraging. Most of all, it should make a difference and give direction to the learner. Good teachers know what valuable feedback looks like and they also know that it must be delivered in a timely fashion and tailored in specific ways to make an impact.

The first component for any kind of genuine assessment and feedback is that of getting to know the students and their educational backgrounds, interests and academic goals. However, all of this comes at a cost and that is time. Teacher time is valuable and as we know, class sizes are not getting any smaller.  From descriptive feedback, to assessments, to contributions and achievements, there lies the complexity of collation and organisation of all things said. How do you remember everything that you have said to a student, and have you remembered to jot it down to include in the final evaluation?

With AI growing in demand and offering a future of great promise, it comes as no surprise that there are now numerous technologies available in the marketplace to produce real-time, data-driven responses and personalised feedback and assessment for students. Artificial Intelligence platforms, such as Kinteract, provide for customised learning programmes, with the intention to improve and accelerate learning outcomes for students.  This can start right from early years to university, creating a digital record for a lifetime of achievement and rewards.

Teachers using AI personalised learning tools, such as Kinteract, can make informed decisions based on their students’ outcomes and can steer the learning pathways for their learners so that they can accelerate at their own pace, some faster than others. As a result, students are offered interventions at just the right time with just the right amount of feedback to improve or accelerate learning. One size does not fit all, and this makes me wonder if we will see younger graduates in the years to come?

Assessment is truly authentic when students can take ownership, engage in and share their personal learning plans. Involving parents with very young children to support their development is a more powerful form of assessment than ever. By providing an immediate and personalised window to their child’s school day, carers can now be equipped with the knowledge they need to maximise on opportunities present and resolve any problems that may go unnoticed.  We all know that children are unique and develop in various ways, and by utilising collaborative spaces, such as Kinteract, one can be reassured that no child is left behind.

With AI on the rise, there is no doubt that there is the potential to shape the next generation for more personalised learning and responsive teaching; helping teachers to more effectively meet the diverse needs of many of their students simultaneously. If we can think of authentic assessment more as a process of practice instead of an outcome, then innovative AI applications, like Kinteract, might be the best place to make a start.

Discover for yourself how Kinteract supports assessment best practices. Sign up for your free account today.

Want to receive cutting-edge insights from leading educators each week? Sign up to our Community Update and be part of the action!

When planning for assessment, these are arguably the top three priorities to consider - regardless of the subject/age/ability we teach:

  • Knowing the success criteria (students and teacher)
  • Keeping students engaged
  • Minimising teacher workload

Of course, it goes without saying that I’m not writing this to teach anyone to suck eggs, but this article is designed to serve as a supportive reminder of the basics of effective planning for effective assessment (both formative and summative) - when we might be feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by it all, even when the term has just started!

1. Knowing the success criteria: KIS(s) = Keep It Simple!

It sounds very obvious, but the students need to be totally clear on what the success criteria actually is. In order for them to understand it, make sure you know what it is too. The ‘best’ success criteria are:

  • Clearly and concisely communicated both in written and verbal form, using student-friendly language (use verbs from Bloom’s Taxonomy that relate to skills rather than just limiting the criteria to “know” or to “understand”).
  • 2-3 focus points (you don’t want to overload the students).
  • Differentiated - so everyone can access the task(s) and no-one is ever without challenge.

What might this look like?

Don’t forget the difference between WALT & WILF:

WALT: We Are Learning To = learning objective, based on the skill being learnt.

WILF: What I Am Looking For = success criteria: what are your expectations for methodology/approach? What does a successful end product/result/piece of work look like?

And remember to check with the students that they understand the success criteria. The best/quickest way? Ask them! However, do bear in mind that asking an open-ended question and getting students to write/talk amongst themselves may well get you a more accurate view of their understanding than a yes/no reply.

2. Keeping students engaged: autonomy, ownership, and independence

Again, another basic one, but as we all well know, it is paramount to get and keep students ‘on side’ and ensure momentum (pace) in our lessons. It involves having a wide range of assessment strategies in our repertoire or toolkit. Effective strategies include:

  • Use of technology - Students of all ages love getting their hands on technology, be it iPads, interactive whiteboard controllers, quiz buzzers with comical noises, or A/V recording equipment.
  • Group work/group presentations - giving students a sense of competition between groups is always a winner, especially amongst those boys who are hard to engage with!
  • Peer assessment - after modelling how you want the students to assess each other (assessing a past example, for example), getting students to mark each others’ work keeps everyone engaged and active throughout the lesson. They will then have a record in their books of what makes an effective piece of work, which in turn broadens and deepens their understanding of how they are going to approach improving the quality of their own work.

What might this look like?

With regard to format - it doesn’t have to be complicated, but the success criteria should be clearly implicit, the success measurable, and there needs to be sufficient space for the students to write in their feedback. Something like this would suffice:

Alternatively, why not get a small group of students to design a format themselves, as a form of differentiation? As long as it doesn’t interfere with their own learning, this is an effective way of giving students autonomy and ownership over the format of assessment. Using traffic light RAG rating works well for low-literacy students, as do smiley faces/sad faces for students to give their feedback. Remember too that some SEND students may have problems reading certain fonts / font sizes, so it’s important to ask them if they can read whatever you give them legibly.


Although the terms ‘starter’ and ‘plenary’ are slowly being phased out, it is still important to plan for short and snappy activities not only at the start/end of the lesson, but also a couple of times within the main part of the lesson itself. I call these points ‘progress checks’ whereby I check the progress of the learning/understanding. This can easily be done simply with a show of hands, or perhaps by enlisting the help of a student who could count up the numbers of students who have reached different points in their progress, and then keep a tally on the board. Other ideas could include the use of Post-it notes, traffic light flashcards, smiley/sad faces, mini-whiteboards. Why not get the students to choose the method of feeding back to you?

Having a wide variety of assessment strategies which are used very regularly is crucial in encouraging a classroom culture in which assessment is ‘the norm’. Often, the ideal assessment is done when the students don’t realise they are being assessed at all (formative assessment; thereby giving you, the teacher, a realistic view of where the students are at in their learning) - I like to call this ‘stealth assessment’! Experiment with avoiding the use of terminology such as ‘test’, ‘assessment’, or ‘exam’ for a few lessons and see what the impact is. Perhaps use the phrase ‘feedback on learning’ or ‘seeing where you’re at’ instead. This is supportive especially for students who suffer anxiety surrounding tests and exams.

3. Top tips for facilitating effective learning whilst minimising your own workload:

  • Any resources you create - make them easy to adapt to a range of situations, abilities, age ranges.
  • Sharing good practice: As teachers, share resources with each other. Go and watch each other teach, even if it’s just for the first or last 10 minutes of a lesson. It’s always a revelation to students when they work out that us teachers do actually speak to each other. Swap templates/checklist formats with another subject area and see how they can be used in your lessons. Encouraging the sharing of good practice amongst colleagues, departments, and schools in your network is a great way to keep our approaches to planning and delivery fresh and innovative. There are some great resources available online - I particularly like Pinterest for ideas on wording and format.
  • Delegate as much as possible! There is a saying that the teacher should never have to work harder than the students. So: incorporate activities where students are encouraged to take ownership of and responsibility for their own learning. Learning that has been facilitated via a range of activities is a key method in ensuring ‘stickability’: embedding the understanding followed by opportunities to really hone in and reflect on their own learning.

What might this look like?

  • Groups of students each take a topic to research and plan, and feedback/present to the class.
  • Carousel style lessons: for example, each group spends 10 minutes at a different ‘station’ where they create a mind map a particular topic, before moving around the room to the next mind map work well to encourage reflection and analysis of each other's input.

Essentially, these tips and ideas serve as a reminder to us all about how much we really need to have clear, and effective, formative assessment / Assessment for Learning strategies at the forefront of our minds when planning teaching and learning. Summative assessment has its place, of course, but in order to be raising standards of attainment, we need to be placing much more consistent emphasis on the role formative assessment / Assessment for Learning has in schools in a holistic and supportive way.

Want to receive cutting-edge insights from leading educators each week? Sign up to our Community Update and be part of the action!

Innovate My School kindly invited me to ruminate on the theme of "edtech that schools might want to know about in 20/1819". Given that the Department for Education recently announced five areas where they think technology has the ability to create real positive change within the educational system, this seems like a useful starting point. With the usual caveats around implementation, training, and contextualised procurement, here are my suggestions:

Assessment

The DfE states: "Technology has the potential to make assessment far more effective and efficient – while reducing the time teachers spend on marking."

The Edtech Podcast view: If you’re looking for assessment tools, make sure they do more than multiple choice questions, but less than a NASA control centre. The idea is that tools give a clear picture of ‘progress’, so that you can step in with your specialist knowledge of a student’s particular circumstances to support. Many assessment tools now use algorithms to ‘personalise’ learning for a particular student: see CENTURY, Third Space Learning, Watson Education. Assessment focused on identifying personal effort in group work is also surfacing as the demand for collaborative skills intensifies: see Cambridge Assessment and, more generally, Classroom Monitor, GL Assessment, Earwig Academic Timelines, Unio by Harness, Pobble (for Literacy) and HegartyMaths (for Maths) are just a few to review.

Teacher CPD

The DfE states: "We know that for many teachers, individualised training opportunities away from school can be hard won, but there are now more options to take up online training, which can be more flexible and more cost effective."

The Edtech Podcast view: We think this is a massive WIN area, offering continual support and learning for teachers and leaders in a fast-moving world. There are multiple tools and services out there (outside of Twitter, podcasts, Facebook groups, Medium blogs and YouTube channels). Check out the likes of TeacherTapp, Makematic, Spongy Elephant, The Chartered College of Teaching, TeachPitch, HES, BlueSky Education, Onvu Learning and many more.

Administration and saving teachers time

The DfE states: "Innovative new technology can reduce the administrative burden on teachers – saving time and money. Already, moving from server-based systems to the cloud has saved a number of schools thousands of pounds and hours of time.”

The Edtech Podcast view: We have visited schools where the focus on saving teachers time has allowed a laser focus on student support. This is usually driven from leadership with teachers and follows Dom Norrish’s ‘Implementation Effect’ (how the tool is implemented is far more important that the quality of the tool). Where this heavy lifting is done effectively, it allows for huge efficiencies to be made and for teachers to be spending their time. Services range from entire cloud-based VLEs, to niche products around school timetabling or communications. Check out the likes of Microsoft, Google, GroupCall, Wonde, Firefly, Show My Homework, Edval Timetables, and Airhead to get started.

Inclusion

The DfE states: "Technology can help access and inclusion for children with different backgrounds and abilities. This can be especially powerful in supporting students to learn alongside other children irrespective of their needs."

The Edtech Podcast view: The potential for technology to assist learners previously held back by more traditional learning is great. On the show, we have talked about how voice technology might enhance the learning opportunities for those with Dyslexia, and Microsoft has brought out some great tools and enhancements in this area. Many of the “famous” YouTube channels - like HegartyMaths, Khan Academy, and MisterWooTube - started as a way to allow students who were unwell to be able to keep up with their peers whilst in the hospital or in the home. Where class sizes or societal status are an obstacle to learning, personalised technologies allow students to progress. See Microsoft OneNote, Lyfta, Connect Design, Dolphin Assistive Technology, British Dyslexia Association resources, Mrs Wordsmith, Mister WooTube, Edovo, Digiexams, Xprize, One Billion.

Adult education

The DfE states: "In an increasingly automated world, jobs are changing fast. Many adults want to learn new skills, but have responsibilities that make returning to a classroom or lecture hall difficult. That is why, as part of our National Retraining scheme, we will be offering online adult learning courses, including in digital skills."

The Edtech Podcast view: This is an area which is truly exploding, as we see the likes of WeWork ride on the back of a huge freelancer economy and become new global mega-brands - seemingly overnight. These freelancers are well aware that lifelong learning isn’t just a nice-to-have, but a necessity for continued employment. Juggling multiple roles, “gigs” and caring roles, these adult learners are embracing flexible learning opportunities. See FlatIron, WhiteHat, FutureLearn, General Assembly, Facebook with Freeformers, DigitalMe, Pluralsight, Lynda.com, Hub42, HowNow and many more. Knowing and understanding this world is a good starting place for preparing young people as they start to consider what to do after school.

Want to receive cutting-edge insights from leading educators each week? Sign up to our Community Update and be part of the action!

Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a way to accelerate student progress in Maths, while also ensuring that they have fun along the way? Well, with Maths-Whizz, the multi-award winning online Maths tutor from Whizz Education, both of these seemingly contradictory objectives are entirely possible.

Not only has the Maths-Whizz Tutor been proven to accelerate student attainment in Maths*, but the verdict from students is that it also makes the subject fun. But how does Maths-Whizz achieve this? The process can be broken down into four easy steps.

1. Assessment

As soon as your students log into Maths-Whizz, they will take a pressure-free assessment which pinpoints their individual strengths and weaknesses across the curriculum. The tutor will then automatically set each student engaging tailor-made lessons and fun games, which aim to close the specific gaps in their core knowledge that have been identified in the assessment.

2. Adaption

As your students learn, the Tutor adapts its lessons and games, ensuring that they receive appropriate content at the exact moment it's needed. Factors used to determine the appropriateness of the content provided include: the student's answers to previous questions, the time taken to answer questions, and the level of encouragement provided by the Tutor before an answer is submitted.

3. Support

Just like a human tutor, the Maths-Whizz Tutor supports your students’ learning by providing confidence-boosting prompts and scaffolded support. Additionally, if the Tutor feels a student is struggling, it will take them back to foundational material.

4. Reinforcement

To ensure a student has mastered a topic, they must pass a short interactive test. Once they have passed this test, Maths-Whizz will move them on to more challenging content. If a student does not pass the test, the Tutor will continue to build on their foundations until they are ready to progress.

What’s more, we’re so confident that the Maths-Whizz Tutor will accelerate your students’ learning that we back it up with a Money Back Guarantee. T&Cs apply.

To find out more about how the Maths-Whizz Tutor can help accelerate student attainment at your school, visit www.whizz.com and book a free consultation, or call us on +44 (0)203 328 6564.

*Research by Whizz Education - conducted with over 12,000 students and verified by independent experts - found that students who used Maths-Whizz for 45-60 minutes a week increase their Maths Age, on average, by 18 months in the first year of use.

Want to receive cutting-edge insights from leading educators each week? Sign up to our Community Update and be part of the action!

Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement.” - William Grosvenor Pollard (1911 - 1989), physicist / priest

I recently received an invitation to chair the Westminster Insight forum in London on the assessment reform in our Primary schools. At first, I felt a little unsure; the word ‘baseline’ was being muttered on everyone’s lips in the staffroom, and I wondered if this could end up being a rather fiery forum to have to control. I realised, however, that the main reason so many teachers and parents - as well as fellow lecturers in the Teacher Education Department - seem so concerned about the new baseline testing for Reception is that there is still much ambiguity about how the testing will be done.

“What can educators do to personalise assessments?” We posed this question to five of the UK’s leading edu-suppliers. Here are their thoughts....

One of the defining characteristics of successful schools is how they deliver assessment. How effective a school is at assessment goes a long way to determining how they are perceived by parents and other stakeholders. Assessment is mission-critical in the constant drive for “school improvement”, a buzz-phrase has now become a key strategy outcome for school leaders.

Reading is incredibly important in supporting students’ overall growth. It’s a predictor of success in further education and life, with achievement in Mathematics and reading significantly associated with academic motivation and quality of life. So it is understandable that education policy largely focuses on developing strong readers at an early age. With that focus comes assessment requirements that can be confusing to parents and exhausting to educators. How do we communicate the value of assessments and the importance of data they return?

I bet children will be cursing every day this month, if only about having to take exams and needing to revise for them. Exams are often seen as a necessary evil to be able to assess what children have learned throughout the year. However, exams imply marking, and for time-poor teachers of big classes, it can quickly become a nightmare. So what to do?

  •  Start 
  •  Prev 
  •  1  2  3  4  5  6  7 
  •  Next 
  •  End 
Page 1 of 7

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"