06th April 2022
In this blog, Cornerstones’ director and assessment guru Simon Hickton reacts to Ofsted’s new report, Education recovery in schools: spring 2022, and highlights critical points about assessment and filling gaps in pupils’ knowledge which the pandemic has exacerbated.
The global pandemic has caused massive disruption to primary education.
Millions of primary pupils now have gaps in their learning across all national curriculum subjects. Gaps are not a new phenomenon, but the most significant external factors experienced for generations have made them more profound. We know as teachers that it is our job to minimise and fill the gaps created so that children can progress through the curriculum. Teaching, learning and assessment have always been about highlighting, minimising and closing gaps in learning.
The Ofsted report, Education recovery in schools: spring 2022, analyses how schools are tackling the issue of gaps. It raises some critical points about current assessment practices and highlights how effective assessment can improve teaching and learning in schools.
Assessment sits at the heart of good teaching and learning. In a well-designed curriculum, essential subject knowledge is clearly set out and well-sequenced so that children can make progress. However, the real question is, ‘How well do children remember and understand the knowledge we teach them?’ Ofsted’s new report highlights:
‘…leaders were focused on checking that pupils were building secure knowledge necessary to progress by continually tracking, in-class, what they knew at different points. Effective assessment resulted in teachers using the information they gathered to inform their teaching and to fill gaps…’
The report reinforces what many primary senior leaders already know is crucial for their schools – that strong leadership, and a clear strategic plan for the curriculum provides a sharp focus for meaningful and robust assessment. If teachers can assess what is taught in the curriculum, then gaps in pupils’ understanding can be more clearly identified. In contrast, the assessment of pupils’ learning was much less effective in schools where leaders were unclear about curriculum progression and endpoints, and there are the obvious concerns about over-reliance on standardised assessment, and a clear strategic plan for the curriculum provides a sharp focus for meaningful and robust assessment. This need for improved assessment is observed in Ofsted’s new report:
‘…some primary schools were focusing assessment narrowly on the core curriculum and paying less attention to foundation subjects. The pandemic appears to have amplified the impact of weak legacy assessment practices.’
Our brand-new assessment package, Assessment Maestro, is available to all schools and is free until March 2023. Assessment Maestro can support your school to address all assessment issues raised in Ofsted’s report, including helping you to:
If you want to find out how Assessment Maestro can help you to make quick, easy and meaningful assessments across your whole curriculum, contact us now on 03333 2000 800 or visit Assessment Maestro to book an online demonstration.
Have a listen to one of our latest podcast episodes: What you should know about assessing and monitoring the primary curriculum.
In this episode, Simon Hickton, CEO of Cornerstones Education, shares valuable knowledge and information about a new dawn of assessment practice. Packed with tips, advice and knowledeable chat, this episode is just 15 minutes short so you can fit it in to your busy day.
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