This essay considers assessment in Primary Schools, in relation to enhancing children’s learning.
Assessment is the process of finding out about what children can do and where there may be difficulties. (Briggs et al, 2011, Harrison & Howard 2009). It is how teachers gain knowledge of their pupils’ needs, achievements and abilities, enabling planning and delivery to be more effective, thereby raising attainment for every child. Assessment is also a continuous process, which is integral to learning. Allen et al (2012) describe that without proper assessment and recording in a given subject, there is no real evidence or knowledge of where children are up to and planning can therefore become meaningless. However the nature and impact of assessment depends on the uses to which the results are put, Mansell et al, (2009) cite the difference between information generated for internal use by teachers on the next steps for individual learning, versus one where the drive is to produce a grade or qualification which may be used to judge a student or school.
Systematic assessment can be used to track each cohort in a school. It is through an effective tracking system that the needs of every pupil can be met and that the school can develop a clear understanding of how to raise standards. It is also important that, having planned activities that will provide opportunities for learning, teachers are able to assess to what degree learning has actually occurred, before moving children on to the next stage in their understanding.
Summative assessment usually takes place at the end of a period of teaching, such as at the end of a topic, the end of a year or a key stage. Summative assessment statements will often be compiled using information from formative assessments, but may also be the outcome of formal tests. Summative assessments by teachers at primary level can be important when a pupil moves between schools, and these judgments need to be consistent and unbiased, so...