Category: Assessment

Research Ed 2016: evidence-fuelled optimism

One of the great things about the Research Ed conferences is that whilst their aim is to promote a sceptical, dispassionate and evidence-based approach to education, at the end of them I always end up feeling irrationally excited and optimistic. The conferences bring together so many great people and ideas that it’s easy to think educational… Read more »

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“Best fit” is not the problem

I can remember taking part in marking moderation sessions using the Assessing Pupil Progress grids. We marked using ‘best fit’ judgments. At their worst, such ‘best fit’ judgments were really flawed. A pupil might produce a very inaccurate piece of writing that everyone agreed was a level 2 on Assessment Focus 6 – write with… Read more »

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How to crack the Oxford History Aptitude Test

Recently, a friend of mine sent me a link to ‪Oxford University’s History Aptitude Tests (HAT). These tests are designed for 18 year olds applying for admission to Oxford. I really liked the look of them – the one I saw was interesting, challenging, covered a broad range of historical eras and I can imagine… Read more »

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Comparative judgment: 21st century assessment

In my previous posts I have looked at some of the flaws in traditional teacher assessment and assessments of character. This post is much more positive: it’s about an assessment innovation that really works. One of the good things about multiple-choice and short answer questions is that they offer very high levels of reliability. They… Read more »

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Character assessment: a middle-class ramp?

My last two posts (here and here) have looked at how teacher assessments can be biased, and how tests can help to offset some of these biases. I’ve been quite sceptical of the possibility of improving teacher assessment so that it can become less biased: the more you try to reduce the bias in teacher assessment,… Read more »

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Why is teacher assessment biased?

In my last post, I spoke about how disadvantaged pupils do better on tests than on teacher assessments – and also about how many people assume the opposite is the case. It’s interesting that today, we seem to think that teacher assessment will help the disadvantaged. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the… Read more »

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The Commission on Assessment without Levels

I was a member of the Commission on Assessment without Levels, which met earlier this year to look at ways of supporting schools with the removal of national curriculum levels. The final report was published last week, and here are a few key points from it. 1. Assessment training is very weak The Commission agreed… Read more »

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Updated: Guide to my posts about assessment

I first wrote this post back in September 2015 and have updated it in June 2016. Over the last three years, I have written a number of posts about assessing without levels. Here’s a guide to them. First of all, what were the problems with national curriculum levels that led to them being abolished? And were… Read more »

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