Tes talks to… Peter Tymms

Assessment should be about getting better information for pupils, teachers and parents, not holding schools to account, the academic tells Kate Townshend, but change may be a long way off

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Assessment was supposed to be about the child and their learning. But in most schools today, according to Peter Tymms, it is seen instead as something with which to measure teachers. And that’s a problem.

“Children are overassessed because schools need to get them jumping through hoops,” says the professor of education at Durham University. “They’re aware that they’ll be judged on their league-table results or by Ofsted so they drill children through exams. It’s frequently mindless and repetitive, and it doesn’t get to the heart of the matter.

“Too often, it’s seen as an accountability ...

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