Teachers spend '44 days a year' assessing pupils

Survey shows 30% of teachers spend more time working with data than they do preparing for lessons

workload survey

Nearly a third of teachers spend more time recording, analysing and monitoring data than they do preparing for lessons, according to research published today.

The research, carried out by YouGov and GL Assessment with more than 800 school staff, also found that teachers spend an average of six hours and 48 minutes testing and assessing students every week, which, across a 39-week school year, is the equivalent of more than 265 hours or 44 days.

And 69 per cent of teachers said their school could do more to make assessments less time-consuming, while 75 per cent of teachers said their school expected them to coordinate and oversee assessments themselves.


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Greg Watson, chief executive of GL Assessment, said most children only needed to be formally assessed a few times a year.

He said: “Some schools are unnecessarily adding to teacher workload by insisting on too much assessment and record-keeping, wasting energy on admin when it should be focussed on turning good data into better teaching and learning.”

The survey also shows that 38 per cent of teachers think their school does not take workload matters seriously and is not acting upon the advice of the Department for Education.

Ofsted was cited by many teachers as “a sizeable problem”, according to researchers, with 48 per cent saying that the new framework on data and assessments was confusing.

Around 38 per cent of teachers said that addressing marking would have the biggest impact on their workload and improve their wellbeing, and allow them to spend more time in the classroom, while 32 per cent said reducing the collation of data would have this effect.

However 61 per cent of teachers acknowledged that accurate assessment data helped them to do their job more effectively, and 48 per cent said assessment data made it easier to understand the progress of their students, focus on dealing with specific interventions and ensure that no-one gets left behind.

When it comes to communicating with parents, teachers also said there were advantages of having assessment data to share.

The survey found 61 per cent of respondents said their school shared printouts of assessment reports with parents, yet 57 per cent said parents didn't really understand the way their school reports on their child's progress.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:  "There are three steps we need to take with data. We must stop using bad data – full stop. We need to stop using good data in ways which are unhelpful or unsound. And we must all undertake to use good data wisely, being discerning about what can and can’t be inferred and knowing the limits of that data.”

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