1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

CfE assessment

Discussion in 'Scotland - curriculum' started by robber red, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. Any ideas/ discussion points for assessment tecniques for CfE.
    As teachers have been left to sort it out by themselves an assessment swap shop might be a good idea...I would find it very useful.
    I still use 5-14 assessment for writing and maths but that will all have to end soon-
    Any ideas very welcome...
    Robber Red
  2. Maybe you could ask for some exemplars!

  3. For starters, get rid of National Assessments. Seriously. Why are they still being used, anyway?
    Why doesn't the Scottish Government take down that website?
    As long as it's there, LAs are going to use it, and as long as teachers have to use National Assessments, CfE in primary is going nowhere fast.
  4. That's not neccesarily true.
    We have been using the CfE outcomes and experiences in our planning for 3 years, since the first draft was available. We are very strong on formative assessment, planning and evaulating with the children in most lessons and topics, and using active and outdoor learning across all areas. It was a decision we made to just get on with it when the new outcomes and all the literature became available, and we did. And it's worked out brilliantly.
    But, we had to submit 5-14 assessment results to our council until this year (have just sent the last ones in). So, although my kids are learning in a very different way using different outcomes and planning and everything else to the way they did when I started at the school 5 years ago, they are still sitting National Tests when I think they are ready.
    And believe it or not, the results are better than ever. This year I have 100% P3 with level B maths, level B reading and level A writing, 100% P2 with level A reading and writing and maths, with 20% of P2 with level B reading and maths. I've never had results like that before, and that's been using 5-14 tests alongside CfE quite happily.
  5. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Which would suggest that you do not have any pupils at those stages with learning difficulties or special needs.
    As a point of interest, have you assessed the children using standardised tests for maths, reading and writing and how did the results compare with the 5-14 assessments?
    As you will be aware there has been general concern about grade inflation within 5-14 assessments and, indeed, within NCTs down south.
    Given that your pupils are so far ahead of the national average, do you envisage that they will be taught separately when they transfer to secondary school?
  6. I suspect that teacher thinking in terms of 5-14 levels will only disappear as older teachers retire and the new generation of CfE trainees take their place.
    Believe it or not, there ARE other ways to assess children's progress than by using National Assessments, which encourage superficial learning and place the emphasis on "how fast", rather than "how much"or "how well". One reason why we need new kinds of assessment is to match the new emphasis in CfE on depth and security of learning, rather than the rate of progress in attainment which *****-nilly became the focus of NAs for many authorities.
    In this regard, Mike Russell has finally seen the light and announced that the NA Bank will be switched off at the end of this term. About time. He knows that as long as it's available, LAs---and some teachers----will not take seriously the challenge to find new more meaningful---and far more interesting and child-friendly---ways of assessing learning.
  7. Yes, they do the pips test, and the added value is much improved this year.
    I never, ever inflate the grades. I'd say I'm harsh on them to be honest. In my opinion, 1 full stop and capital letter does not contitute understanding what a sentence is and I never put them for level A until I know they can write in sentences reasonably consistently (contrary to one of the criteria for writing). Similar judgements are made in maths and reading. I've been in classrooms where the teachers practically walk them through the test, and I'm glad I don't, I want my kids to acheive it on their own merit. (which is probably why, in the past, I've had some year groups with much poorer results than neighbouring schools who've 'helped'.)
    There's no denying that I have good year groups in P2 and P3 at the moment, and there are no children with special needs (although there are children who receive learning support). This won't be the case with the current P1s, there are some very specific difficulties there But that is not the point. My point was that I can see with my own eyes the impact that CfE has made on my pupils' confidence and enthusiasm, and this is reflected in their results.
    To answer your last point - if they remain above the national average, I should expect them to continue to be taught in a way which allows them to acheive their full potential.
    Or are you suggesting that I ought to teach them less well and not allow them to acheive so much while they are at this stage, so that the secondary school does not need to cater for them?
  8. Apologies, I don't seem to have learned to work the quote system here, and I have just realised that it doesn't seem possible to edit my posts.
  9. I'm in P3 as well, and I've had the best results ever this year too, like you, over 90% of my class with Level B maths (includes SFL numbers), for example, with writing and reading similarly excellent---and we are also doing NAs to the bitter end.
    But I've pretty much been teaching the way I've always taught, with no major changes. Perhaps I was using CfE all along, who knows? Or maybe it was something in the air the year this group were born? Just kidding.
    The point is, isolated sets of test results such as yours, or mine, don't really prove anything one way or the other. Meanwhile, the principle that the purpose and methods of assessment must match the purpose and methods of the curriculum still holds true.
  10. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Yes, but that's my point.
    If all the children in P2 and P3 are performing so well, as measured by National Assessments, how are some of them also going to learning support? In many moderate sized schools, learning support is very difficult to access because there are so many children needing additional support, and all too often learning support teachers are not being replaced in order to save money.
    Given that you are teaching a composite P1/2/3, I assume you are teaching in a small school. I note that the school you teach in is very strong on formative assessment, planning and evaluating with the children in most lessons and topics, and using active and outdoor learning across all areas. Such teaching methodologies are not new. They have existed in primary schools for decades and certainly long before a CfE was invented.
    Which is great but there have been generations of pupils who have shown confidence and enthusiasm and have achieved great success. It didn't all start with a CfE. If your current P1s don't achieve the same success, or show the same confidence and enthusiasm, does that mean a CfE has failed. No, of course not. You are just teaching a different set of pupils.
    That's the sort of aspirational language found in a CfE that every teacher, and parent, might hope would be fulfilled. The probability, however, is that it is unlikely that all children will continue to improve, and perform above the average, regardless of how well they are taught. At some point some of them will find the work too difficult. The gap between the most able and least able children does not narrow as they grow older, it widens.
    To clarify, I am not trying to knock the very good work you are obviously doing. I am simply pointing out that effective teaching did not begin with a CfE.
  11. halfajack

    halfajack Occasional commenter

    Yes, but the National Assessment Bank is to be replaced by the online National Assessment Resource. I wonder how different it will be. According to Building the Curriculum 5, we'll all be getting CPD from school, local authority and Scottish Government on assessment. Let's hope we do, to ensure consistency across Scotland, and it's more useful than the current meaningless lip-service tasks that our CfE inset days have currently been used for.
  12. I'm optimistic there will be real change. The proof of CfE will after all be in the assessment.
    One big difference, according to BTC 5, is that the NAR is apparently going to be available to teachers. Eventually, we will even be able to contribute to it. Imagine that---teachers being allowed---and trusted---to contribute to a professional resource they all will use and share. What a revolutionary idea!!
    Have a look at LTScotland's assessment exemplars to see how different assessment may look under CfE. Could be a nightmare. On the other hand, could also be common sense.
    Btw, BTC5 is careful to point out that the baby will not be thrown out with the bathwater and that in primary for example, tests that look and function like NAs may very well stay as one component of testing if they have proven themselves useful---which of course they have, but for a very narrow range of purposes.
  13. That's true, but it does prove that this...

    does not need to be true - but it will remain true as long as people think it is.
    There is a lot of negativity about CfE, and as far as I can see that is one of the biggest things holding back the benefits of the new curriculum - much more so than whether people have access to 5-14 tests.
  14. I did. The Secondary ones are woeful.
  15. Exactly. As I said, could be a nightmare. The primary exemplars, as far as I can see, are typical class projects. So far, so common-sense. But if anyone---HMIe, for example---is looking for rigour, it's not there.
  16. Well, of course. Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so. What teachers think about CfE is the key to its success or failure.
    My point was that as long as the NAs were there, teachers who are used to thinking in terms of 5-14 would continue to do so because teaching (in literacy and numeracy, at least) would always have to mean preparing children for NAs. In that scenario, no real curricular change could happen.
    This is now a moot point, with the NAB due to be switched off on July 2.[​IMG]
    The principle remains, that assessment must match the curriculum, in purposes and in methods. You cannot teach in one way and assess in another. The challenge now is to design new CfE-purposed assessment vehicles that are fair, valid, and reliable in terms of CfE.

  17. I expect I'm in the minority, but I don't agree.
    The existing National tests assess basic literacy and numeracy skills. It shouldn't matter how we teach, the children should still be able to do those tests and do well, if they are given them at the right time, and they give a perfectly valid assessment of where a child is at, in certain areas.
    If teaching is 'preparing children for NAs' then I must have been doing something wrong for the last 10 years.
    Our school has much of the NAB downloaded onto our server, and I have no doubt that they (I am leaving as I'm moving house in the summer) will continue to use NAs alongside many other methods to assess aspects of the curriculum. Why reinvent a perfectly good wheel? If I want to show that most of my pupils have mastered most of the basics of first level maths, I'll give them a level B test, which will do that. I can't see any reason not to. And anyone can have a conversation with them to find out how they mastered it - ie by using active maths strategies and understanding etc
  18. An assessment is a way of measuring the standard a pupil has reached in a course. If the course changes, then the assessment needs to be changed to reflect that. For example, how would a current national test assess history of maths or chance and uncertainty?
  19. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Unfortunately, this could allow a less principled teacher to select what they judge to be an easier paper from the assessment bank, teach to the test and claim results that are not valid.
    I am also unclear what aspects of 'the curriculum' out-of-date NAs would be measuring given that a CfE isn't actually a curriculum. Are we really saying that teachers will have to continue to use the 5-14 guidelines for the content of the curriculum whilst claiming to meet the experiences and outcomes contained in a CfE?
    Provided of course your new school has saved copies of the NAB or you have some to hand. Personally, I am not sure that one level B maths assessment can be used as evidence that a pupil has mastered most of the basics. One assessment cannot cover everything at a particular level.
    National tests/assessments were never designed for this purpose. They were only intended to be used by the class teacher as one method to confirm pupil progress and attainment. Of course politics, the need for continuous improvement and official, and unofficial, league tables soon changed all that.
    I suspect, like other teachers, you will take a practical approach to avoid reinventing the wheel. I just wonder if HMIE will see it the same way.
  20. Actually, it does matter very much how we teach, because how we teach affects how children approach learning---and assessment---tasks. A test is only valid when it tests what has been taught/learned, not only in content but in form. Surely this is a basic principle of testing that we as educators ignore at our peril.
    Oh dear. If your school is going to be using the old NAs for assessing "aspects" of CfE, I hope they've figured out how they'll justify that decision to both HMIe and parents, especially now that the SG has effectively discredited NAs.
    In the meantime, may I recommend reading, in conjunction with BTC5, the document entitled Assessment for CfE--Frequently Asked Questions, available here:
    I refer in particular to sections as follows:
    1. National Assessment Resource, page 15-17, which describes the new way of approaching testing within CfE, and
    2. 5-14 National Assessment Bank, page 17-18. This section makes it clear that SOME NA materials may well be adapted for use within CfE, but only after a review to ensure that they are "fit for purpose in the assessment of CfE Experiences and Outcomes". In other words, it's safe to conclude that unless and until NAs are reviewed for inclusion in the NAR, they are probably NOT fit for CfE purposes, and you would best avoid them in favour of seeing how you might use the fit-for-CfE NAR instead.
    Note as well this quote, from page 10 of the CfE Assessment FAQ:
    "(Assessment evidence across a range of learning) will avoid some of the negative effects that national testing can have such as overemphasising a narrow snapshot of what children can do, teaching to the test, and narrowing of the curriculum." Their words, not mine.


Share This Page