March 4, 2014

Would you let this test into your classroom?

Reading Time: Approx 6mins

By Professor Robert Coe, 27 February 2014

In England, the government has announced the end of using levels for assessment. If that means an end to meaningless numbers based on unstandardized, impressionistic, selective and biased judgements that fail to capture true learning, it is a good thing. But will it? And what have we got that is better?

As schools start to confront the reality of having to design their own assessment systems, or adopt them from elsewhere, two things have become clear to me. The first is that in assessment, quality matters. The difference between good and bad assessment is huge and it makes an important difference. The second is that the understanding of what makes...

January 9, 2014

Classroom observation: it’s harder than you think

Reading Time: Approx 7mins

by Professor Robert Coe

We’ve all done it: observed another teacher’s lesson and made a judgement about how effective the teaching was. Instinctively it feels valid. I am a good teacher; I’ll know a good lesson when I see one. We’ve all experienced it from the other side – being observed – but this time the feeling may be more mixed. Sometimes you get real insight from someone who sees what you don’t, questions what you take for granted and makes you think differently. Sometimes they just tell you what they would have done, or focus on some trivial irrelevance...

October 10, 2013

Baseline assessment, to test, or not to test, that is the question…

Reading Time: Approx 2mins

To test, or not to test? That is the question which provokes one of the most keenly fought debates in education policy, and which can lead to soul searching on an almost Shakespearean scale among teachers and academics.

From a CEM perspective there is a strong argument for testing as a baseline assessment and the Centre has recently submitted evidence to the DfE making the case for this as part of the consultation on Primary Assessment and Accountability held by the Department (#cemevidenceforassessment)...