In the summer of 2014 the Samphire Learning Hub initiated an Assessment Project involving headteachers from three other collaboratives, RAID in Dover, ACE in Ashford and the Sandwich Consortium. The Assessment Group considered a way forward for assessment for the new curriculum, incorporating the principles from the NAHT assessment paper, which they wanted to moderate across the collaborations. In particular the following summary points within the NAHT report were relevant to working party:
- Schools should work in collaboration, for example in clusters, to ensure a consistent approach to assessment
- External moderation is an essential element in producing teacher assessment that is reliable and comparable over time
- Schools should be prepared to submit their assessment to external moderators
- Pupils should be assessed against objective and agreed criteria rather than ranked against each other
- Pupil progress and achievement should be communicated in terms of descriptive profiles
Additionally it was important that the assessment criteria was simple and clear. It was to be formulated by teachers, giving everyone involved a deeper understanding of the new curriculum expectations.
The Assessment Project developed criteria in the following stages.
Working parties were established of leading teachers across the partnerships to formulate criteria for progression in English, Mathematics and Science. The criteria marked three stages of progress to age expectations for each year group against the new curriculum.
New tracking and assessment grids were formulated for collating and reporting data to governors or Improvement Advisors.
The criteria was trialled by schools and moderated. The working parties then edited the criteria and this was again trialled and moderated by schools.
The edited criteria was then developed by educational consultants who have a national perspective on developments in assessment.
The criteria is now being moderated across the collaborations. Different collaborations have now joined the Assessment group and more schools are using The 21 Steps.
The progress of the project continues be monitored by the steering group who meet regularly. The Assessment Project welcomes new members on the basis that anything the schools or collaborations learn or develop using The 21 Steps is shared with everyone within the Assessment Project.
The Assessment Project is excited about being proactive in approaching assessment for the new National Curriculum. We recognise that it is an opportunity to develop an assessment approach that can be personalised to the needs of individual schools while holding on to a collaborative approach. Our approach will allow the schools to measure the closure of the gap between current attainment and the higher new national expectations.