It’s been a crazy year, full of changes and challenges. Students and teachers have been in and out of school, adapting teaching, learning and assessment to ensure education continues during the pandemic.
Over the year, the whole education community has opened up and has shared resources, experiences and ideas to help each other through this time.
We have talked to a number of teachers around the world during the pandemic and asked them about their top tips for using assessment data.
Training in data literacy
"All our staff are given training to analyse and be confident with the data, then use it for planning, teaching and reflection"
– Sdaqat Jabeen, Doha Academy, Qatar
Understanding assessment as an integral part of the teaching and learning cycle and being confident in the use of assessment can only make for better, happier and more confident teachers. The principles of assessment have not changed in the pandemic, just the tools we have available.
Learning conversations with students
"The need to mentor and nurture students into a routine of class, homework and independent study is greater than ever. Focused mentor or tutor sessions are a perfect opportunity to share and discuss Independent Pupil Records with students"
– Alastair Farquharson, Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar, Malaysia
One of the worries from the pandemic and the closure of schools is students disconnecting with their own learning, especially in the face of exam cancellations. Making time for the pastoral side of education is equally as important as ensuring the delivery of course content.
Grant Bailey, a tutor in Australia told us ‘What was interesting is that when the term was over and the Covid threat allowed a return to the centre, nearly all of the students (and their parents) wanted to return to face-to-face teaching.’
Even with the same content and the advantages of online learning, such as recording sessions, collaboration over shared screens, convenience of staying at home, students and parents want to be back in the classroom. Having that contact and relationship with their teacher is hugely important.
Discussing data with students and showing them the evidence of their abilities can be a great motivator and allowing them to be a part of setting their own aspirational targets can engage them in their own studies.
Triangulating your data
"Using CEM data in conjunction with other data points such as observations, teacher comments and semester grades, supports students’ progress and builds necessary interventions"
– Vanita Uppal OBE, The British School, New Delhi, India
Whatever assessment data you use – it will not give you all the answers or show you the whole picture. But used alongside observations, in-class assessments and prior attainment, it is a strong support tool in understanding what needs to happen for individual and class progress.
This is advice that we’ve heard often from schools, which brings us on to our next point.
Awareness of context
"Cultural differences, various educational backgrounds, meeting individual needs and measuring impact are challenges faced by all educational schools […] We triangulate CEM data with the results of other internal assessments, with our wider knowledge of each student’s learning journey and capabilities."
– Rukaiya Salman, The Cedar School, Pakistan
It’s particularly important to take context into account. While some children may have had access to the technology for remote learning, there will be a lot where technology will have been limited or had restricted access or none at all.
For some EAL learners, they will have spent months at home where opportunities for the social practice of speaking and reading English are limited. So having an awareness of this while conducting assessments remotely and being prepared with programmes or interventions will support the continuation of their learning progress.
Rukaiya highlighted to us the importance of using baseline assessment ‘to understand the individual abilities so that we can make changes to the curriculum to meet individual needs’.
For more teacher tips on assessment why not check out our webinars?
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