Parents and Teachers blog: Assessments and Tests

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Parents and Teachers blog: Assessments and Tests

Post by debbie »

This is a pertinent and useful blog posting - do read the full post if you have an interest, or worries, around tests and assessments: ... -and-tests

Assessment and tests

Since we published our general note on assessment, there have been a number of responses, published and unpublished, supportive and critical. This blog both aims to explain our view on testing in more detail, and answer some of the questions raised by others.

Why we support tests over other forms of assessment [1]

Different forms of assessment are useful in different contexts, but we would argue that a) tests are a particularly good form of assessment; b) that while there are issues with the government’s current arrangements on primary assessment, the existence of tests which are “high stakes� for the school, but not the pupil, are not the main issue.

Well-designed tests (and obviously not all tests are well-designed) have a number of characteristics that make them particularly good for assessing students.

First, they are reliable and valid compared with other forms of assessment. In other words, the results they give are not random (if the same student took the same test under the same conditions, they would get the same result) and they allow you to make inferences about things that are important and which we are interested in – for example, if a pupil can write accurately and originally, or if they are capable of solving maths problems.

This is particularly true when compared with teacher assessments, which is another commonly used form of assessment in primary school, particularly for ‘high stakes’ tests (more on this below).
Debbie Hepplewhite
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