Liz Robinson

Co-Director and Founder of Big Education
08 May 2022
There are positive reasons assessment should be and is important to different constituents in the system. There are also perversions that mean they are important to them in negative way.

Positive/Intended Importance
  • Recognition of achievement
  • Recognition of process
  • Knowing what to do to improve
  • Understanding how they relate to reasonable/expected standards
Perverse or Unintended Importance
  • Source of pressure and stress.
  • Source of shame and humiliation.
  • Feeling nothing is ever good enough, always something that can be improved.
  • Narrowed curriculum experience to index on certain examined components.
  • High sense of competition and over-indexing on how they relate to others.
  • Devaluing of certain areas of learning or curriculum.
  • Sense of ‘failure’ at a young age.
Positive/Intended Importance
  • Understanding of how their child is doing.
  • Understanding of how they can support/help.
  • Understanding of any additional needs.
  • Understanding how their child relates to reasonable/expected standards.
Perverse or Unintended Importance
  • Source of pressure and stress.
  • One dimensional experience of what school cares about and the messages this sends about priorities.
  • Heightened sense of competition on behalf of their children.
  • One dimensional perception of school based on certain data sets.
  • Devaluing of certain subjects and career pathways as a result.
Positive/Intended Importance
  • To understand where each pupil is at in order to teach effectively to meet their needs.
  • To evaluate progress against well planned curriculum expectations.
  • To evaluate their own practice as part of reflective capabilities around effectiveness of their own teaching.
Perverse or Unintended Importance
  • Teaching to the test - over indexing on certain parts of the curriculum.
  • Stress and pressure to produce summative results.
  • Over simplistic methods of evaluating efficacy leading to gaming.
  • Other subjects being under-valued.
  • Demoralising and emotionally challenging in contexts with high social need.
Positive/Intended Importance
  • Support quality first teaching.
  • Evaluate need across the school/subject.
  • Evaluate progress and achievement.
Leaders in Schools
Perverse or Unintended Importance
  • Simplistic conflating progress and achievement data with teacher efficacy.
  • Undermining quality of assessment with high stakes culture.
  • Stress and pressure to act in ways not always in best interests of children, further heightened in schools service communities with complex social need.
  • Repetitive and often meaningless conversations about data.
Positive/Intended Importance
  • Look at trends and patterns as part of evaluation and continuous improvement.
Middle Tier MATS LAS
Perverse or Unintended Importance
  • Over simplistic/one dimensional view of schools and groups of schools.
  • Disproportionate stress and pressure on schools serving communities with complex social need.
  • Showboating and competition driven by egos.