Category: Assessment

Research Ed 2015

  Every Research Ed I’ve been to has been brilliant, and every single one has been better than the one before. Great conversations, great people, fascinating ideas – I loved it all. Here is my summary of the day. Session One I spoke about replacing national curriculum levels. You can see my slides here: REd 2015… Read more »

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Twitter – pros and cons

A recent essay in Changing Schools discusses the impact of social media on education policy. It got me thinking – what is Twitter good for? What is it bad for? How can it help us – not just in education and policymaking, but in our lives in general? Here are my pros and cons. Pro… Read more »

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Principled Assessment Design by Dylan Wiliam

Back in 2013 I wrote a lengthy review of Measuring Up by Daniel Koretz. This book has had a huge influence on how I think about assessment. Last year I read Principled Assessment Design by Dylan Wiliam, which is equally good and very helpful for anyone looking to design a replacement for national curriculum levels. As… Read more »

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Tacit knowledge

In my most recent blogs about assessment, I’ve looked at some of the practical problems with assessment criteria.  I think these practical problems are related to two theoretical issues: the nature of human judgment, which I’ve written about here, and tacit knowledge, which is what this post is about. In Michael Polanyi’s phrase, ‘we know… Read more »

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Marking essays and poisoning dogs

This psychological experiment asked participants to judge the following actions. (1) Stealing a towel from a hotel (2) Keeping a dime you find on the ground (3) Poisoning a barking dog They had to give each action a mark out of 10 depending on how immoral the action was, on a scale where 1 is not… Read more »

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Assessment is difficult, but it is not mysterious

This is a follow-up to my blog from last week about performance descriptors. In that blog, I made three basic points: 1) that we have conflated assessment and prose performance descriptors, with the result that people assume the latter basically is the former; 2) that prose performance descriptors are very unhelpful because they can be… Read more »

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Problems with performance descriptors

A primary teacher friend recently told me of some games she and her colleagues used to play with national curriculum levels. They would take a Michael Morpurgo novel and mark it using an APP grid, or they would take a pupil’s work and see how many different levels they could justify it receiving. These are… Read more »

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What do exams and opinion polls have in common?

A lot. Daniel Koretz, Professor of Education at Harvard University, uses polls as an analogy to explain to people how exams actually work. Opinion polls sample the views of a small number of people in order to try and work out the views of a much larger population. Exams are analogous, in that they feature… Read more »

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