‘Educational assessment must inform teaching and learning’ – Rogers

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Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
SDLP Education Spokesperson Seán Rogers MLA has expressed serious concerns about the end to Key Stage Assessment saying that assessment is only useful if it informs teaching and learning and the current Key Stage Assessments fail in this regard.

SDLP MLA Sean Rogers

“Assessment is a useful tool only if it informs teaching and learning then it is a useful tool for both teachers and students,” the local MLA told Newry Times. “As a former mathematics teacher I didn’t believe Key Stage Assessment informed my teaching of the GCSE course. “It is true, as the statement from the Department of Education says that we need to build confidence with our teachers but an important part of that confidence building is to listen to what teachers actually are saying. Teachers are telling us that the present system is not fit for purpose. “The simple fact is that a child who is reported as Level 4 at the end of Key Stage 2 communications could in fact have a standard score of between 94 and 125 – the abilities of the two children are worlds apart, one requires immediate intervention, the other one is very competent but they are both reported as having the same level. “This certainly doesn’t inform teaching as they begin Key Stage 3. In addition, many schools failed to apply the process of awarding a level consistently, therefore skewing the NI average data,” he insisted. “This skewed data is then used on that basis by the Department of Education to inform Governors of how their school is progressing and by ETI to inform the inspection process. “We need a root and branch review of End of Key Stage Assessment, to ensure we have Fit for Purpose Assessment for Learning in our schools. Despite what the Minister says the OECD did not sufficiently interrogate End of Key Stage assessments. Rogers added, “Our focus in all of this must be on raising standards in the classroom and ensuring our students realise their full potential.”
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