Giving ourselves permission

It was good to attend what became the inaugural meeting of a new art teachers network group based in Bucks (BATN I think). The best point of the evening was made by Marc who said that an important feature of networks was that they gave us permission to change and experiment, or rather that we gave ourselves permission.

We discussed assessment and agreed that we should share work and assessments in future meetings. It seemed that all schools present had continued to use ‘levels’ as the main assessment currency in KS3. This, of course, included all the pseudo scientific, dark art of pretending to measure progress in terms of, frankly meaningless, numbers called ‘levels’.

It was disappointing, but not surprising, to note that the demands of whole school assessment/marking policies continued to inhibit good subject assessment. In this case marking policies seemed to demand single grades rather than assessments which took account of the profile of assessment objectives. I think there really is a need to construct a firewall between the demands of school marking, recording and reporting policies (which invariably only work from a single grade) and internal departmental assessment (which to have integrity needs to present a profile across different assessment objectives). We considered the option of following the school marking policy but making sure a single assessment was limited to just one of the assessment objectives. This does not seem impossible – just tedious.

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About Dan

Senior Advisor, Art Inspector, Member of the Expert Advisory Group for Art, Consultant working with NSEAD, IOE, QCA, UCE, UOG. Currently lecturer at UCL working on a project in Kazakhstan to develop text books for a new art curriculum.
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