Starting points and support

This case study looks at how a secondary mathematics team planned their implementation of Assessing Pupils' Progress (APP), including the starting points for planning and how the school generated support for their APP project.

Starting points

The school started to explore APP early in 2009 when meetings were held by the LA consultants to introduce the key ideas. Malmesbury School, along with another local school, agreed to take the project forward. The mathematics department already had strong established practice in Assessment for Learning (AfL) and had taken an active part in an LA assessment group comprising representatives from 10 schools.

From the start of the project, the mathematics subject leader felt that the department’s approach to teaching and learning, along with a strong background of effective practice in AfL, would form a good starting point for generating the sort of evidence that would subsequently be needed to inform the periodic assessment process that is central to APP.

Support to introduce APP

In February 2009, one of the teachers leading the project within the school attended a session on periodic assessment organised by the LA consultant. She then tried out the APP approach by assessing the work of one group to gain some first-hand experience of the process. Then, using the materials from the original LA training session, she ran a similar session at the school for the whole mathematics team. The school has since been supported by visits from the LA consultant and two members of the mathematics team attended the LA APP group, which met about once a term.

The mathematics team realised the importance of the day-to-day assessment that needs to take place within lessons and they used departmental training sessions to explore those aspects of assessment that are essential to the APP process. So, for example, they had a session looking at using rich, probing questions. This helped to develop a whole-department approach to teaching and learning as well as to assessment.