Here are a few articles I thought you might find interesting and, hopefully, useful -- or, at least, thought-provoking.
In this article, James talks about who is doing the evaluating. In a nutshell, people who have become experts in their field. Well worth reading, both for its analysis and its recommendations.
What James is getting at in his article, it seems to me, is professional judgement. However, I doscovered that many teachers don't feel they have the right to exercise their professional judgement. In this article, I tackle that issue.
The issue of professional judgement came up once again on a training course I was giving. Some teachers there felt that they had to do so-called "deep marking", where a teacher comments on a pupil's work, and the pupil comments back.
I asked them what they thought was the purpose of marking. If, as I believe, it's to help pupils deepend and extend their knowledge, understanding and skills, then you don't need to write everything down. If I can tell from your answers in class that you understand something (or that you don't), do I really need to write a note to the effect that I found that out?
Anyway, I'm not in favour of deep marking, marking with different coloured pens, or any other kind of marking whose costs in terms of workload exceed the benefits in terms of student learning. And if you're worried about what Ofsted thinks, then look at the 2015 Inspection Handbook:
Ofsted recognises that marking and feedback to pupils, both written and oral, are important aspects of assessment. However, Ofsted does not expect to see any specific frequency, type or volume of marking and feedback; these are for the school to decide through its assessment policy. Marking and feedback should be consistent with that policy, which may cater for different subjects and different age groups of pupils in different ways, in order to be effective and efficient in promoting learning.
While inspectors will consider how written and oral feedback is used to promote learning, Ofsted does not expect to see any written record of oral feedback provided to pupils by teachers.
If it is necessary for inspectors to identify marking as an area for improvement for a school, they will pay careful attention to the way recommendations are written to ensure that these do not drive unnecessary workload for teachers.
This is an article I wrote for Sec-Ed. It's a very practical article, as the title suggests. I think much of can be applied to primary education too, especially the apps and other resources I've cited.
I think assessment is a fascinating topic -- always have done, because it's such a mystery, and a challenge. How do we really know if a pupil has understood something? I mean really know, in the sense of being able to apply it as well as explain it -- and apply it to unfamilar problems.
In this article, which was first published in the Digital Education newsletter, I apply Karl Popper's thinking to this thorny problem.
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