Last year QCDA developed exemplar materials to support the assessment of national curriculum levels in KS3 for all foundation subjects. These materials were published in July 2010. They are really helpful on a variety of levels. They provide a much richer illustration of both standards and the nature of the evidence teachers should use to assess their students. Perhaps more importantly these materials illustrate good assessment practice. They clearly move away from the practice of ‘levelling’ students every month: that is, making constant summative judgements based on limited and incomplete evidence.
The materials were deliberately developed to improve assessment practice and to align practice in foundation subjects with the principles of APP (Assessing Pupil Progress) that were already becoming accepted in core subject assessment. These principles involve breaking down broad summative judgements (levels) into clearly focussed formative assessment of the different aspects of learning that will help students improve. The materials illustrate how teachers should look at distinct aspects of performance and consider the nature of the evidence that shows students’ achievement in that aspect. In doing so the materials support that formative assessment dialogue between teacher and student that is at the heart of teaching and learning: good ‘Assessment for Learning’ in effect.
However, the new adminsistration at the DfE has decided not to publish the guidance and assessment frameworks upon which the exemplar materials were based, despite the fact that both were completed at the same time. This is unfortunate as the one complements and informs the other. Together they provided a very good model of assessment in all the foundation subjects. However, these draft papers can be found here Assessment Papers. and are worth looking at and sharing amongst foundation subject teachers. The site also contains papers to support the use of FFT estimates in target setting – which are again relevant to all foundation subject teachers.