Assessment is fundamental to the process of teaching and learning and forms an important part in the lives of pupils and teachers. It’s therefore vitally important that we understand how assessment works and how to get it right.
The way assessment is organised in a classroom plays a key role in creating the culture, attitudes and norms of behaviour and enables teachers to shape the positive conditions in which pupils’ learning can flourish.
Stuart Kime (2017) in ‘What Makes Great Assessment?’ says that great assessment is not a single ‘thing’:
It is a collection of tools brought together in a toolkit, and used artfully by teachers. Great assessment is the servant of learning, not its master. It is purposeful, manageable, efficient and effective. Great assessment is lean and valuable.
The forms of assessment can be split into three distinct groups: Assessment for, assessment as and assessment of learning. These approaches are designed to enable teachers to gather evidence and make judgements about pupil achievement. All three forms of assessment are valid and each serves a purpose but, they’re not necessarily separate approaches and can be used independently or together, formally or informally. They are vital in providing opportunities for teachers and pupils to identify areas of understanding and misunderstanding.
So what do these forms of assessment look like?