At present students generally transfer from primary school to secondary school with just three grades - their SATS results in English, Maths and Science.
These grades bring with them two main problems:
- Firstly they are too broad-brush and give little insight into what each child can and can't do. For example one child may achieve a particular level in maths without answering a single question with content at that level or higher. However another may achieve the same level by answering questions at harder levels but losing marks at lower levels through carelessness or through them having gaps in their knowledge which it is important to fill. A system of integrated formative and summative assessment could provide far more detailed and useful information at the time when a child transfers between schools.
- Secondly they are too high stakes and are based on just a few exams.
The pressure on primary schools to cram students so that grades are artificially inflated and knowledge is not retained is intense. The grade they achieve represents only what they could do under exam conditions during one week. A system of integrated formative and summative assessment would remove the need for students to engage in high stakes exams and could far more accurately record what they can and can't do by accumulating data over time which can include multiple perspectives on each criterion.
It is therefore essential that those designing systems of integrated formative and summative assessment plan for how data can be transferred between schools whether or not the school a child moves to is using the same tracking system as their previous school.
Assessing students up to the age of 14 – A better future QUICK LINKS
Part 5: more about online testing
Part 6: central tracking of progress
Part 7: supporting diversity
Part 8: student behaviour management