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The Role of Assessment.

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Introduction

Professional Studies Assignment 2 Assessment Term 2 Graham Slarke Contents Introduction Page 3 Summary of Gipps & Stobart Page 3 Summary of MacMillan Page 4 Summary of Black & Wiliam Page 5 Policy of School X Page 6 Critical Evaluation of School X's Policy Page 7 Conclusion Page 8 References Page 9 Appendices Page 10 Introduction Grant Wiggins (1998) has used the term 'educative assessment' to describe techniques and issues that educators should consider when they design and use assessments. His message is that the nature of assessment influences what is learned and the degree of meaningful engagement by students in the learning process. Wiggins contends that assessments should be authentic, with feedback and opportunities for revision to improve rather than simply audit learning. As I concur with the sentiments of Wiggins, for the purpose of this assignment I will consider "evaluation" as an inherent part of assessment GIPPS, C. & STOBART, G. (1993) The Role of Assessment Pupils currently going through compulsory education in England and Wales will be amongst the most assessed the state education system has ever produced. Properly used, assessment is a valuable and essential part of the education process. However, assessment can easily be misused. Gipps and Stobart warn of the weaknesses of relying on solely examination achievements as assessment of performance. ...read more.

Middle

By inference, the ways in which teachers adjust their methods is of paramount importance. Is there room for improvement? "Marking often fails to offer guidance on how work can be improved". (OFSTED, 1996). Black & Wiliam expand on this by asserting that giving of grades and marks is over-emphasised, whilst giving useful advice is under-emphasised. Thus, pupils are told how well they did but are offered little advice on how to improve their performance. Furthermore, Black & Wiliam identify the widespread teaching practice of comparing pupils with one another. This then fosters competition rather than personal development, and can leave lower attainers feeling demotivated. Perhaps the most alarming evidence offered by Black and Wiliam is the amount of assessment that is carried out to satisfy "managerial needs" and is never used to improve the learning of pupils. Records are kept to provide evidence of assessment, but the results are not used, and even not intended, to improve teaching and learning practices. Black & Wiliam raise some very important limitations to some widespread, current teaching practices. The amount of research evidence offered identifies the massive role that formative assessment can, and should, have in the classroom. Their writing is very positive in the sense that it identifies weaknesses, but also suggests strategies and policies that would allow for significant improvement. ...read more.

Conclusion

Without these factors the success of the assessment policy would be limited as the pupils would not be offered the full opportunity to improve in any identified areas. School X is based in a catchment area comprising a very high percentage of "free meals" pupils. As this is often used in school polls on performance, it would be fair to say that School X is situated in a socially deprived area. If the correlation between results and social class is considered, then school X can be said to be achieving "against the odds". Analysis of the efforts and continuous formative assessment given by the teachers, and the attempts to involve parents in the educational welfare of their children, has been the major reasons for this. School X has formed policies to ensure that parents are fully aware of the impact that their input can have on the results of their children. This is coupled with praise and reward systems that are given full attention in school assemblies and newsletters. In conclusion, it should be stated that the assessment policy initiated by school X is part of a school wide strategy to improve the school's performance. This strategy as a whole has proven to be very successful, and the contribution of the assessment policy should be recognised. But, in my opinion, equally vital factors are the determination shown by teachers, policies introduced on discipline for learning and involvement of pupils and parents in the learning process. ...read more.

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