Changing assessment system

Most schools will change their approach to assessment at some time or another.  It may be a wholesale change from one system to another (eg one commercial system to another, or to a home-grown solution) and for some, it is what may be described by a commercial provider as an ‘upgrade’ that, in reality, is more akin to a change in assessment framework as it significantly changes criteria used for assessment.

Whatever you do, you really don’t want to sleepwalk into the change – you clearly need to be able to demonstrate progress at all times and although the focus for your initial decisions might be about supporting effective assessment in the classroom, you must ensure your reporting at all levels in the school is not forgotten.

A hard switch-over from one assessment framework to another can prevent you from demonstrating progress in any meaningful way.  This is because, even if you can demonstrate progress up to the switch-over, and after the switch-over (once you have 2-3 years of data), you cannot demonstrate progress across the switch-over if your measures are not comparable.

We have seen examples of inspections that illustrate the above points well in schools which switched assessment system, had no plan about how they would demonstrate progress, and dropped inspection rating.  This highlighted that although the school’s intentions were good they had not planned how they would track and demonstrate progress at all times – you don’t have the luxury of saying that it will be OK in a couple of years but that there will be a black hole around progress data in the meantime.

To demonstrate progress with confidence, most schools would want a minimum of 3 years of data; 1 summer result gives you attainment but does not indicate progress, 2 years can show progress although there will be uncertainties about reliability and consistency until more data is available.  Demonstrating progress across Key Stages can require as many as 6 years’ worth of results (ie KS2) so it can take many years to build up key stage reporting in a new framework.

We have helped schools plan for this change which doesn’t mean papering over the cracks – it means understanding what you had, what you will have and how you manage the bit in the middle.

Let us help you through this process – discuss how we can help via enquiries@rseinsight.co.uk or 01962 736785