Teachers' reflections

This case study looks at how a secondary mathematics team reflected on their experience of Assessing Pupils' Progress (APP), including their views on the assessment process and the importance of setting objectives.

Through the process of introducing periodic assessment at the school, the mathematics team at English Martyrs started to reflect on the type of evidence that was being gathered from day-to-day assessment. They realised that they needed to introduce a much wider variety of teaching and learning activities, along with assessments that refleced the key aspects of Assessment for Learning (AfL). The department’s scheme of work was amended to reflect this, including, wherever possible, ‘live’ links to the resource itself. Teachers also explored the way they were using questioning to include more probing questions as part of the teaching, as well as developing activities that encouraged group work and increased mathematical dialogue.

I am now trying to show progress every single lesson.

Mathematics teacher

There was also an emphasis on setting out clear objectives for every lesson and using these to help both the teachers and the pupils assess the extent to which learning had taken place. This closer link between learning and objectives was certainly appreciated by the pupils themselves, who reported that they were much clearer about where they were with their learning, what they needed to achieve and how they might achieve it.

In a separate but related development, the team also looked at 'Using and applying mathematics' through the introduction of rich tasks to prepare for the 2011 changes in the GCSE. These were introduced into the scheme of work for Year 7 in the previous year, for Year 8 in the present year, and there were plans to introduce them into Year 9 the following year.