Not doomed to succeed this time

24th September 2004 at 01:00
Every so often, a project comes along which seems - in the words of the cynical comment on pilot initiatives - "doomed to succeed". The one we report on formative assessment (page 3) should be among them. But this is not necessarily because resources have been poured in only to be withdrawn later: this project is grounded in classroom realities, and the latest findings from the Musselburgh schools point to "outstanding results".

It is certainly remarkable that formative assessment can help boys raise their game, even outperforming girls, and particularly so where a third of the pupils in a class are on free meals. The potential for closing the gap between high and low achievers is therefore evident. But the real attraction of formative assessment is that it allows teachers to teach, as well as to improve their teaching, by making relatively small changes - giving children more time to answer questions, for example.

Here is now a challenge for the Executive: if Ministers are serious in their fresh determination to be guided by results, not "inappropriate target-setting," as the Executive's Philip Rycroft has indicated, giving teachers their head to show what they can do with learning-driven assessment is a test of that resolve.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now