Assessment – it’s all in our heads

Reflecting English


Image: @jasonramasami

I have read David Didau’s two recent posts on assessment – here and here – with interest. David is rightly sceptical about the efficacy of assessment rubrics and has summarised the problem succinctly: “We need always to remember that any system of assessment is an attempt to map a mystery with a metaphor.” In other words, as student learning is invisible and opaque and written work is only a proxy for learning, we must be careful about the inferences we draw so that we avoid over-simplified judgements.

This has got me reflecting on how I have assessed students in my English lessons over the last few years. What follows is not advice, just a description of the developments I have been through. About three years into teaching, I stopped using descriptors almost entirely, especially with my key stage 3 classes. I would pay lip service to APP and…

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About gwenelope

English and Media Studies teacher in the wilds of Coventry, about to start my tenth year, which in itself is frankly terrifying. In the small pockets of free time I have have been known to do things like Tough Guy, circuit classes and swim often, very often. It is what keeps sanity near and insanity at bay.
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