This case study looks at how a secondary mathematics team organised assessments during their Assessing Pupils' Progress (APP) project, including the impact on assessment types and teacher involvement.
The assessment approaches
The repertoire of assessment approaches and activities that was being used since the start of the project was much more varied and richer than before. The teachers involved were using a wide range of peer-assessment and self-assessment techniques.
For example, towards the end of one lesson on proof, pupils were invited to present their findings and were assessed by their fellow pupils on a five-point scale depending on how convincing their argument was. Individually, pupils also completed a 'traffic light' assessment sheet assessing their own understanding against the learning objectives set out for the lesson.
At the start of the project, we found that exercises in books offered few if any opportunities for APP. The activities that we have developed are now much more focused on objectives but they provide a better learning experience for the pupils as well.Mathematics subject leader
Teachers were using digital cameras to capture completed group work so that, for example, poster work could contribute to the evidence that helps the teacher build up a picture of the achievement of a particular pupil.
One teacher also experimented with what he called 'Eureka bubble' sticky notes. Each sticky note had a pre-printed 'thought bubble' which pupils could fill in whenever they had a 'Eureka!' moment at any stage in a lesson. The teacher felt that these moments were really important in the learning process but they were largely lost. His idea helped to capture them so that they could later be used as important pieces of assessment evidence.
It has made me think to use test questions more as a teaching and learning activity – along the lines of, 'What do you know, what do you need to know?' rather than just as terminal test questions.Mathematics teacher
Moderation was designed more as a verification process taking a ‘broad-brush’ rather than a detailed 'nit-picking' approach. This really helped to build teacher confidence through a professional conversation. As one teacher put it, 'It is much more about questioning each other than about judging.'
We are more likely to ask ‘Why did you award a secure 5 here?’ rather than say, 'I don't think that this pupil's work merits a secure 5'.Mathematics teacher