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What is your approach to assessment?

Chris Quigley
Posted by Chris Quigley
February 7, 2023

A frequently asked question in curriculum design is 'How does one assess the curriculum'?  The answer involves two main areas:

  1. Curriculum Expectations - in which the specification of the knowledge that should be remembered is communicated
  2. Approaches to assessment - in which the following aspects are established:
  • The types of assessment used
  • Their purposes
  • The anticipated audience(s) for the findings
  • The frequency of each type of assessment

Our course, Assessment across the Wider Curriculum, explores these aspects in great detail, culminating in a draft policy.  Here is the opening of the policy concerning approaches to assessment. (The full version can be downloaded below)

Approaches to Assessment

Three types of Assessments are used: Assessment For Learning, Formative, and Summative Assessments.

Each type of Assessment has a distinct nature:

  • Assessment For Learning is any activity that is primarily designed to improve learning.
  • Formative Assessment gives the teacher previously unknown information about students' achievements that are used to inform the next steps.
  • Summative Assessment allows us to conclude students' attainment of agreed standards.

Each type of Assessment has distinct purposes: the purposes of Assessment For Learning are to help students to remember, apply facts to build knowledge, and develop reasoning.

The purposes of Formative Assessment are to check what students remember and understand in the short to medium terms, to determine the efficacy of teaching methods, and to decide what to do in response to this information. Summative Assessment aims to check what students remember and understand in the long term and to decide whether this meets agreed standards.

Each type of Assessment has a distinct audience: the audiences for Assessments For Learning are teachers and their students. The audiences for Formative Assessments are teachers, students, subject leaders and parents. The audiences for Summative Assessments are teachers, students, subject leaders, school leaders, governors, parents and (where applicable) other schools and government departments.

The frequency of each type of Assessment is Assessment For Learning - every lesson, every day; Formative Assessment- from the mid-point of a topic onwards, with variable time scales; Summative Assessment - once or twice per year.

The policy continues - find the full version here.

If assessment is an area you would like to discover more about, our two-part Assessment across the Wider Curriculum course is available On-Demand from Thursday, 9th February 2023.

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