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Assessment: The future of assessment

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By Andrew ThravesGroup Head of Publishing at GL Assessment

What does the future hold when it comes to assessing children’s learning?

Lady teaching

The future’s bright for e-assessments

In a harsh light, the ongoing assessment of children can be viewed as a burden on many teachers’ already over-stretched workloads. And much of the press coverage on assessment depicts it as little more than an added pressure for children and their parents.

The Government sees learning which is tailored to children’s individual requirements as what every parent wants, what every child deserves and what the country needs if we are to meet the global challenges of the 21st century

However, with the implementation of The Children’s Plan and the growing need for more personalised learning, our relationship with child assessment must change. Effective assessment raises educational achievement which, in turn, improves children’s life chances and this cannot be ignored.

Education and The Children’s Plan

Education is at the centre of The Children’s Plan, which recognises that all children have the potential to succeed and should go as far as their talents can take them. Personalised learning is essential for this vision. If a gifted child is provided with tasks that will stretch his or her ability, or a child at risk of falling behind is supported with realistic learning targets that encourage them to progress, then those individuals are likely to achieve more; inside and beyond the classroom. The Government sees learning which is tailored to children’s individual requirements as what every parent wants, what every child deserves and what the country needs, if we are to meet the global challenges of the 21st century.

Where does assessment fit in?

It has never been more important for schools to understand what stage each child is at in the learning process, so that every child gets the support they need to achieve to their full capability. Assessment is a key part of this. Child testing helps to ensure that high standards in teaching and learning are maintained and lessons are designed to meet the different learning needs of all children in the classroom of the future.

e-Assessment for learning

Technology is seen as the key driver in embedding personalised learning in schools to raise achievement. e-Assessment makes it easier for schools to carry out targeted child testing throughout the learning process and the resulting data can help shape future planning to ensure lessons meet the needs of every child. Although some press coverage would suggest digital testing increases workload for schools, in fact it saves time for teachers as scores are instantly available for analysis. This supports the assessment for learning agenda as it helps ensure the most appropriate targets are put in place quickly as learning progresses to encourage greater achievement.

Meeting the needs of every child

Online testing can be less intimidating for children as assessments seem more informal. This enables children to relax so they tend to get better results. e-Assessment also gives schools the freedom to assess each child when they are ready, individually or in small groups, rather than in whole classes or year groups. It could even allow schools to track the learning progress of children who are not currently attending school, such as those children who are sick or excluded from class, who might otherwise be at risk of falling through the net.

e-Assessment for the future

The face of educational assessment is changing and online testing gives schools more choice in how they assess their children’s ability. e-Assessment offers schools a future where child testing is synonymous with ensuring the highest possible standards in teaching and learning are being provided to every child as they progress through each stage in their learning journey.

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