Advice that hits the spot;Books;Cross-phase

5th February 1999 at 00:00
TARGETING ASSESSMENT IN THE PRIMARY CLASSROOM. By Shirley Clarke. Hodder amp; Stoughton. pound;12.99.

TARGET SETTING AND BENCHMARKING. By Peter Lawley. Folens. pound;14.95. INSET module pound;25. Book and INSET pack pound;39.95.

One of OFSTED's most frequent complaints concerns the limited influence of assessment on curriculum planning. Schools can remedy such deficiencies by developing an assessment policy that focuses on using formative assessments to enhance pupil's learning. Sounds straightforward, but where to start?

As an aid to developing assessment, Targeting Assessment in the Primary Classroom is essential reading for co-ordinators and teachers. It contains a wealth of ideas and strategies to support assessment and extend its influence on curriculum planning, teaching and target-setting.

The author draws extensively on current research, but this is no dry academic tome - it is packed full of useful tips and advice, with not a tick list in sight. It was particularly good to read that assessment should allow for the unexpected. Pupils do not always learn what teachers set out for them, and somehow such gains in learning should be acknowledged and celebrated.

For further guidance on target-setting, Peter Lawley's new book in the Folens secondary professional development series is strongly recommended. Target Setting and Benchmarking sets out the roles for all partners involved, including teachers, students, governors and parents.

Using the well-established and widely publicised five-stage model for school improvement, the book offers a clear, step-by-step guide to the processes, and highlights some of the pitfalls. An additional module containing overhead-projector masters and group activities is available for whole-school or departmental training.

Given that all schools will by now have set targets for pupil attainment at the end of key stages 2 and 4, the book contains no real surprises for those who have read the various booklets from the Department for Education and Employment and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. But it does sort out the key points and present them together in a single, readily accessible text.

Bob Welch is senior adviser for Bracknell Forest LEA

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