Friday, 16 March 2012

Assessing students up to age 14 - A better future. Part 3 - Integrating formative (APP) and summative (SATS) assessment

This blog is subject to these protocols

The biggest efficiency and quality improvements will come when school tracking systems are developed which integrate formative assessment (APP) and summative assessment (SATS).

At present many schools spend a great deal of time recording the details of students progress but they usually only share this data among staff.  Students only receive credit for the grades they achieve in their SATS and other exams and these grades/levels reveal little except whether the students has learnt much this year or not.

However it is now been clearly demonstrated that the landscape of what is now possible has fundamentally changed.  Ian Lynch has a company called The Learning Machine which is licenced by Ofqual to issue criteria based qualifications which they call Ingots.

The Learning Machine have developed qualification which are specified by the criteria students have to achieve.  They have created tracking systems which must be used to record progress.  Schools are responsible for creating their evidence trails and if they subscribe to the system they can then issue as many qualifications as they are able to justify.  They are audited by The Learning Machine once a year.   So far they have specilised in developing qualifications to support emerging ICT systems such as Open Office and to assess and give formal credit for progress to students with learning difficulties.

This is precisely the kind of system which could positively transform assessment for students up to the age of 14.

However this model of accreditation needs to be developed to include:
- online testing and subsequent automatic accreditation for criteria which are easy to test (and ideally to online teachings systems which support students in filling gaps identified) so that teachers can focus on observing those aspects of student progress which are not easy to test.
- links to whole school registration systems to ensure it is easy for teachers to populate fields.
- subsequent links to behavior tracking systems and other student, staff or school tracking and development systems.
- shared access and use for teachers, student and parents.
- transferability between schools, especially from primary schools to secondary schools.
- links to the central database so that detailed data can be used to assess national and school progress by government authorities.

In subsequent blogs on this theme I will explore these points sharing insights into how they can be effectively addressed and the benefits their addressed will bring.

Assessing students up to the age of 14 – A better future  QUICK LINKS

Assessing students up to age 14 - A better future. Part 2 - protocols for this series of blogs

As this series of blogs progresses I will refer to individuals and companies I have spoken to who have brought to life the individual components of future systems which I believe will transform education when they are combined.

I am very grateful to all who have taken the time to meet me or chat to me on the phone, in forums or by email.

However I am aware that by following this strategy it is inevitable that I will miss individuals and companies with similar or different relevant skills and products to offer.  I would like to warmly invite anyone who would like to gain exposure for their relevant ideas, services or products to add comments to the relevant blog which either raise relevant points or describe what they have to offer.

If you would like advice or guidance as to where to place your comments or would just like to communicate with me about any of these issues please do get in touch through linkedin or by commenting on this blog and giving your contact details.

Assessing students up to the age of 14 – A better future  QUICK LINKS

Friday, 2 March 2012

Assessing students up to age 14 - A better future. Part 1 - key components of the way forward

It is of great benefit for students, teachers and parents to have detailed information regarding precisely what each student can do and where their knowledge gaps are.

SATS, as a measure of school accountability are too narrow and skew what schools actually do away from best practice.


SATS levels do not provide much useful information.  It would be much better if detailed information regarding precisely what at student is doing well and what they are struggling with were shared.

Key Components of the Way Forward:
A coherent solution will require two key changes in practice.

1. The integration of formative and summative assessment.
In other words schools systems by which they track the detail of students' progress (APP systems) should lead directly to accreditation and SATS should be abolished.

2. Formative assessment must be made coherent by using different types of assessment for those targets which can be easily tested and those which cannot.
Most current systems of APP are not currently suitable for direct accreditation.  We need to specify and track targets which can be easily tested using different processes to those used to specify and track targets which cannot be easily tested.

In this next series of blogs I will explore how these changes can be achieved and some of the many benefits they will bring to students' education.

Assessing students up to the age of 14 – A better future  QUICK LINKS