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Following the grid to assess pupil progress

Gareth Carey is a firm believer in teacher assessment. "I've always thought that the person who knows the kids the best assesses them the best," he said.

As such, he is a willing participant in the pilot scheme "monitoring pupil progress".

Around 50 pupils in Years 7 and 9 are involved in the project at Barking Abbey school in Barking and Dagenham.

Mr Carey follows a detailed marking grid for both set-piece tests and routine work done in lessons to come up with a national curriculum level for each child. He said: "Although the mark scheme is very detailed, you are focusing on specific skills. It is similar to what you do anyway as a teacher - assessing pupils' work. It's just a more formal way of doing it."

Leah McGee, English teacher at Sanders Draper school in Hornchurch, Essex, said the marking grid gave a clear picture of a child's progress.

But she was worried about workload, having already had to fill in 80 assessment sheets, four for each of 20 pupils she was assessing. "It scares me to think that this is just one class, when I take five classes," said Ms McGee.

Ms McGee said the work had also been rushed. She and a colleague were given training in the project at the end of November and had been expected to run the tasks the following week and have them marked by mid-December.

But Natalie Simpson, who teaches English at Ribblesdale high school in Clitheroe, Lancashire, said: "This is strengthening assessment. The workload has not been too bad. The grid means we can effectively plot how well a child is doing in reading and writing and get a much clearer picture of their achievements."

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