Making the Grade: Assessment Masterclasses
This series of three assessment masterclasses, as part of the Leading a Whole Education Secondary, will explore how schools and their leaders might help students “make the grade” in 2021, but more importantly explore how they might contribute to defining the nature of accountability in the longer – “making the grade”. These sessions will be led by Jez Bennett, Principal, Leadership and Training Centre
Each session will include a think piece, practical examples, group discussion, collaborative learning and the opportunity to contribute to Whole Education’s position on the future of assessment.
Now, more than ever, it is important that educators, those directly leading schools and trusts and organisations supporting these leaders, look to ‘assess’ our young people in the broadest and widest sense.
2020 has called into question the role of high stakes final examinations and their real worth in society. We have an opportunity, perhaps a once in a lifetime window, to reimagine how we ‘measure’ our young people and what narrative portfolio schools provide for young adults entering a much changed world.
The pandemic has also given some space to question what is it that we really need to know about our young people. What is important? And from this knowledge gained, what skills, attributes and abilities should and could education help nurture, develop and aspire.
Whole Education leaders are determined in their quest to understand better the experiences of students during a period of school ‘closure’ through both their personal narratives and importantly, through a GL Assessment diagnostic tool Pupil Attitudes to Self and Study (PASS). Through this lens, leaders will look to explore young people’s readiness to learn, their self-efficacy and belief and their levels of personal agency. Only by addressing these areas will a young person succeed in an academic arena and more pressingly, have the skills and attitudes necessary to succeed in modern life.
As an education network, measuring what we value as opposed to valuing what we are told to measure, has never been more significant in recapturing the purpose of education. Bold and brave leaders can take the steps now to control what they assess and capture about their students and what they choose to celebrate as outcomes from their time spent in their care.
On Wednesday 6 January 2021 the Secretary of State announced “a form of teacher assessment grades, with training and support” to replace examinations in the summer 2021 series. He continued:
“The department and Ofqual had already worked up a range of contingency options…The details will need to be fine tuned in consultation with Ofqual the exam boards and teaching representative organisations.”
At a recent WE School Leaders consultation meeting in January , we have established that there is a strong desire amongst our WE leaders to establish guiding principles for assessment which consider fairness, progression, impacts on teaching and learning and student well being.
Despite all the attempts over the last 10 years to formulate a “2020 Vision”, no-one, it seems, had accurate foresight. With centre-assessed grades in 2020, performance tables now on hold and “generous” grading, we find ourselves in territory that, whilst previously explored, has not been charted for some time. 2021 will bring additional challenges with the recent announcement that exams are to be replaced with “teachers assessed grades”. What opportunities are there for school leaders to shape the nature of qualifications and assessment this year and in the future?
To support the schools in our network to consider these issues we have set up the following three masterclasses which our member schools are invited to join:
Session 1: Making the Grade – workshop : Curriculum and assessment in 2021
Thursday 21st Jan 2021 14:00-16:00
- What are the lessons from the 2020 series?
- What are the priorities for schools in 2021?
- How should we respond to the Ofqual consultation on teacher assessed grades?
- How can we develop students’ intrinsic motivation?
Session 2: Making the Grade – workshop : Curriculum and assessment beyond England
Wednesday 10 Feb 2021 16:00 – 17:30
- Think piece from Dr Dennis Shirley – Professor of Education at Lynch School of Education, Boston College
- What can we learn from assessment practices in international education systems?
- Is holistic assessment possible or practical?
- Is there a role for external assessment?
Dr Dennis Shirley has two new books coming out in 2021, both co-authored with Andy Hargreaves. The first is entitled Student Engagement: Beyond Relevance, Technology, and Fun and is published by Solution Tree. The second is called Wellbeing and Socio-Emotional Learning: Building Back Better, and is published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).
Session 3: Making the Grade – Summit : Curriculum and assessment in England beyond 2021
Thursday 4th Mar 2021 13:00 – 16:30
- How might we assess knowledge, skills and qualities?
- Think pieces and provocations from expert contributors
- Exploring ideas and established frameworks from a variety of secondary schools and their students
- Keynote – thinking forward
- What next for our island story?
As well as our Secondary school leaders we will also be welcoming our Trust leaders for this Summit.
All WE secondary school members will have received an email with information on how to register for these events. If you have any questions please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Any one from non WE members schools or Trusts – if you are interested in joining these events and exploring whether membership of WE would be appropriate for your school please get in touch with Lisa or Noorun on Secondary@wholeeducation.org