Practical Tips for Perfect Assessment
By James Willats
By James Willats, Marketing Executive
At Renaissance, we attend and host a large number of events for Senior Leaders, practitioners and librarians that run throughout the academic year. Last month, however, we hosted our first seminar that looked specifically at ‘perfect assessment’ – challenging the way we think about assessment, Ofsted’s new Inspection Framework, and how it can be delivered in the classroom on a daily basis.
The first afternoon event took place in Manchester, and included engaging presentations from three speakers:
- Claire Gadsby – a leading educational consultant, trainer and author with a wealth of experience in school improvement and motivation strategies. Her book Perfect Assessment for Learning is full of hints, tips and practical advice to ensure effective, timely and high-quality assessment is at the core of teaching and learning.
- Lesley Humphries – who has worked in education for 40 years: as a classroom teacher in South London, Suffolk, Cumbria and the North East, a Senior Manager involved in numerous Ofsted inspections, and latterly as an independent trainer and consultant. She is passionate about working with teachers to support the development of literacy skills.
- Frances Kingston – a teacher for over 25 years, now working for Renaissance as a Project Specialist, where a large part of her role is helping teachers to deliver Star Reading and Accelerated Reader in the classroom. She’s passionate about supporting teachers, empowering them to use reading data to shape their lesson delivery in their mission to reach all students.
Together they discussed their own unique experiences of assessment throughout their years as various educational professionals, as well as the upcoming changes to assessment, including Ofsted’s new Education Inspection Framework. Teachers and educational practitioners came from all over the country to find out exactly how they can use Star Assessments to support their best teaching practice. There was a sense of professional empathy and respect amongst all and the sharing of ideas and anecdotes was in abundance.
Claire Gadsby had the room on their feet taking part in activities based on their previous experiences with assessment and what they think are the most effective strategies for assessment. Lesley had the teachers in fascinated silence as she laid out the fundamental components to the new Ofsted Education Inspection Framework and how it could shape the assessment landscape going forward. Finally, Frances Kingston had us all nodding along agreeingly with her own relatable experiences with how assessment can be used effectively to support every individual pupils’ unique needs and requirements.
With the release of the new Key Stage 2 SATs results and the increasing calls, amongst teachers, for the Government to steer away from summative standard assessment testing, the need to be collecting data was the hot topic throughout the event. During a time when Ofsted are encouraging and supporting teachers to reduce their workload and to not focus on collecting data but similarly, the need to meticulously assess and monitor the granular progress that all children are making is becoming ever more crucial, where can teachers find the balance?
The sharing of best practice and ideas was a step in the right direction. One thing that was agreed upon was the use of Star Assessments by Renaissance as a tool to support teachers’ assessment, whilst reducing workload and providing clear and sequenced learning progressions based on pupils’ already understood knowledge and the core skills still required for academic progress.
“With Star Assessments, it gives you enough time to truly assess the needs of the children and to plan appropriate intervention needed to support and encourage their love of reading”
– Frances Kingston
Whether it’s the new KS2 report to forecast accurate probability of how likely pupils are to succeed in their Year 6 SATs in literacy and numeracy or the norming sample size of over six-million assessments making Star Assessments the most accurate low-steak, high-reward assessment tool available, it was arguably the most practical tip for perfect assessment.