The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Owen Carter

Towards the core principles of primary assessment

Owen Carter speaks to Michael Tidd about the principles that should underpin a school's approach to assessment. What can pupils do, and what can’t they do? Seems like a pretty simple way of approaching assessment. But the fact is that levels became a shorthand where that question was often obscured – or so, at least, Tim Oates argues. For better or for worse, assessing without levels means returning to some basic principles. What do you want your pupils to be able to do at specific stages? What knowledge should they have mastered? What big ideas should they have covered? These are some of the guiding questions offered by Michael Tidd in our recent interview. [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/192095230?secret_token=s-Damez"]

Working with your curriculum

A crucial message here is that thinking about assessment also means thinking about your curriculum. Addressing perceived weaknesses bit by bit can just mean neglecting the deep ideas that underpin subjects.

Michael Tidd is a deputy headteacher. Michael Tidd is a deputy headteacher and creator of the blog Ramblings of a teacher

 

Ultimately more emphasis on building the foundation will mean less plugging the gaps further down the line. This is explored more in the full conversation. There aren’t straightforward answers to what assessment should look like in the absence of a prescribed system. But thinking about what it will look like to your pupils, and how it should relate to your curriculum, is a good starting point. If an assessment system doesn’t fit what you teach, it’s unlikely to last. That’s one important reason for starting from the basics. If you can answer how it fits in, and relates to the National Curriculum, you've gone a long way. In a world where we're often bombarded by new initiatives or demands, the message is a powerful one: stick to the core ideas, and do them well. By Owen Carter

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