Assessment under CfE

10th August 2012 at 01:00

I agree wholeheartedly with the article in last week's TESS about the concerns for assessment under Curriculum for Excellence highlighted by the research carried out by Louise Hayward of the University of Glasgow. It is crucial that teachers develop a deep understanding of children and young people's progress in learning and that everyone shares an understanding of standards across all curriculum areas. I would also share, to some extent, the concerns that Professor Hayward has expressed over the progress towards developing assessment across all schools and education authorities.

It is not easy to develop a shared understanding of standards whereby teachers have the confidence to make judgements about levels. In Glasgow, we have made moderation a key priority over the past school session. We will continue with our very structured approach for, at least, the next two years.

We have established city moderation groups for literacy and numeracy for each of the CfE levels. Throughout last session, teachers and child development officers from all learning communities were involved in "developing and sharing the standard" in these city groups. Each group, working on the approach recommended in NAR (National Assessment Resource) focused on linking planning for learning through selected Es and Os (experiences and outcomes) to the assessment of learning.

The approach results in each participant in a city group planning, teaching and assessing in their own classrooms and sharing the work that children in their class produced with the other members of their groups. In this way, staff are developing a broader and deeper understanding of children's learning and what children were able to show they could do in relation to the selected Es and Os. Through the work of the city groups, we have developed "pictures of secure learners" for Englishliteracy and mathematicsnumeracy at each CfE level. These are now being used by staff across the city to moderate standards in their own classrooms.

In addition to the city groups, each learning community has worked on moderation activities within, and across, schools. They have agreed a plan for moderation activities in the coming year in their learning community. There is a particular focus on moderation at transition points with the purpose of supporting professional dialogues and shared understanding of the standard.

Outwith literacy and numeracy, secondary subject specialists are working on developing pictures of secure learners at third and fourth levels. Throughout this coming school session we will be developing these further with early years and primary staff.

I am confident that in Glasgow we will, over the next few years, overtake the four priorities outlined in the University of Glasgow's research. Developing trust in colleagues' assessments will come from sustained professional dialogue supported by robust evidence.

Morag Gunion, head of curriculum, learning and teaching, Glasgow City Council.

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