Assessment systems: what teachers want

Survey data confirms that an easy-to-use, integrated assessment solution would be the choice for the majority of teachers

Since the DfE’s removal of levels back in 2014, schools have been free to use and develop assessment systems of their own design and choosing, but is this the reality of what is happening?

Data released by EducationCity shows that 77% of the schools now use some type of assessment product, but that, four years on, 37% of them still see room for improvement in their chosen solution.

Just under 1,000 teachers were surveyed by the company from its database of subscribing schools, with a view to finding out how their schools are currently creating and using test and assessment data. 

What it uncovered was that despite most teachers setting formal tests on a termly basis and 37% of them having integrated systems at their disposal, only 14% go on to link the assessment data to inform their lesson planning. What this means in practice is that the feedback loop, intended to support pupils’ progress and deepen their knowledge, just doesn’t exist in some cases.

Areas for improvement were clear. Ease of use, as always, is of paramount important to time-pressured teachers, but clear, colour-coded baseline monitoring which links directly to learning objectives and subject strands, personalised and group-based needs analysis and resource identification were also highlighted as key.

“Assessment is an area that’s continually developing,” said Haylie Taylor, Education Consultant at EducationCity, “particularly with the rise in academies. This has led to the systems schools were once using being dropped and replaced with more bespoke packages, aligned to their individual needs, which in itself is both an opportunity and a challenge. What this research shows is that, where once schools were eager to pursue their own lines of assessment, they now require more tailored assessment packages that can be used across both across academies and the primary-secondary transition. Essentially, schools are struggling, and time needs to be invested to remedy this, by teachers but also by system designers, who need to consider how flexible and intuitive what they offer truly is.”

When it came to informal assessments, the survey’s results were far more positive with 93% of teachers feeding their own lesson observations into the lesson planning process.

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