In processes of planning for teaching and learning towards the goal of advancing young people’s knowledge, I see assessment in the cycle of Planning – Teaching – Learning – (Formative) Assessment/Teaching Intervention – Learning – (Summative) Assessment.
I see formative assessment as important for teachers (also via peer assessment) to take a gauge of students’ competency levels in their acquisition and interpretation of knowledge and culture. Formative assessment helps with gaining a sense of the students’ clarity of articulation, and their performing of skills in development and application of new knowledge (Wiliam, 2011).
I see summative assessment as important for teachers in their questioning, measuring, and testing for making final judgements of the students’ knowledge of a culture (for example through subject specific teaching and learning). A positive summative assessment (test, measure, judgement) can perhaps provide the student with a sense of verification in being able to perform to the standards of knowledge and skills as defined by the culture/cultural group. This student becomes a cultural asset. On the other hand, a summative negative assessment of a student can perhaps expose that learner as being unable to perform to the given standards of recognised cultural norms. This learner can perhaps be marked as ‘other’.
For primary schools, in their business of teaching, learning and assessment of young people’s knowledge, and skills with applying this, the primary school national curriculum (DfE, 2013) should be a starting point for all learners to develop further capital. However, some important aspects of DfE, 2013 (History and English) have been exposed as culturally and ethnically biased towards dominant White-British only knowledge sensibilities and interests concerning what is to be shared with all young people in teaching, learning and assessment (Harris & Reynolds, 2014; Moncrieffe, 2020; Moncrieffe & Harris, 2020). DfE, 2013 aims and contents appear to place non-white British ethnic heritage learners at a potential disadvantage to their white British peers, particularly with matching/exchanging cultural capital and ethnic heritage knowledge bases in the planning-teaching-learning-assessment process (Moncrieffe, 2020). An argument may be for non-white British learners to assimilate to the dominant White British culture and ways of knowing, for giving ease of access to DfE, 2013. However, this one-way process of cultural assimilation discounts any value in ways of knowing held by non-White British people, and the possibilities from this for new knowledge in teaching and learning for new gauges of assessment. Is it the young non-white British student/learner that should have to compromise and reform their ways of knowing and being? Or is it the discourse, aims contents of DfE, 2013 through which teaching, learning and knowledge is assessed that needs reforms?
Department for Education (DfE, 2013). ‘History programmes of study: key stages 1 and 2’, National curriculum in England, The national curriculum in Britain Framework Document, July 2013, London: Department for Education.
Harris, R., & Reynolds, R. (2014). The history curriculum and its personal connection to students from minority ethnic backgrounds. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 46(4), 464–486. doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2014.881925
Moncrieffe, M. L. (2020). Decolonising the History Curriculum: Eurocentrism and Primary Schooling. Springer Nature.
Moncrieffe, M. L., & Harris, R. (2020). 'Repositioning Curriculum Teaching and Learning through Black-British history'. In Research Intelligence, Issue #144. London: British Educational Research Association (BERA).
Wiliam, D. (2011). What is assessment for learning? Studies in educational evaluation, 37(1), 3-14.