Enhancing assessment literacy at Wellington College International Shanghai

by The Assessment Network, 03 June 2024
Image of James Beadle at Wellington College International Shanghai

Wellington College International Shanghai, holds a distinguished position in the educational landscape of China. Founded in 2014 and part of the esteemed Wellington College Family the school has quickly garnered recognition for educational excellence, preparing students for success worldwide and achieving some of the highest exam results in the region.

In March 2024, Wellington commissioned a bespoke training project with The Assessment Network at Cambridge to enable greater assessment literacy across its 1600 learners, staff, and parents.

Establishing the need

Daniel Eldred, Deputy Head of Senior School at Wellington College International Shanghai led on developing the assessment training program with The Assessment Network, ensuring it met the needs of Wellington’s staff, and wider community.

Image of Daniel Eldred

"Cambridge’s views on assessment aligned with our own, and through the consultation period I felt confident that The Assessment Network could deliver the quality of training we desired to take our assessment culture to the next level.”

"Coming from a background in pastoral care in education, I’m always keen to find ways to improve our students' educational experience. Assessment is the bread and butter of excellence in teaching, however, it’s a lot more than scores on a test. In my experience, students do not always understand the principles behind assessment, and this can place needless pressure on cohorts."

Leveraging Cambridge expertise

The bespoke training lasted three days with a series of workshops, talks, and consultation sessions designed to address key aspects of assessment strategy, design, and implementation.

These sessions were built off an initial consultation period and provided a platform for teachers, middle leaders, senior leaders, and parents to engage with assessment theory, principles, and best practices.

James Beadle, Senior Professional Development Manager at The Assessment Network who had previous involvement with the school and the broader Chinese education system was delighted to return to support the Wellington College China community with further developing their assessment literacy.

Having experience teaching, and leading a department, in various international settings, meant that I felt confident in delivering the requirements of the training for Wellington College International Shanghai. Wellington is a very ambitious school that wants the best for their students. The senior leaders at Wellington knew that by leveraging Cambridge expertise they could gain insight on how to enhance their already strong assessment culture and improve both the wellbeing and outcomes for their students.”

James Beadle, Senior Professional Development Manager at The Assessment Network

Throughout the training, workshops like Assessment Strategy for Middle Leaders and Effective Assessment Design equipped participants with a deeper understanding of assessment principles, the creation of assessment blueprints, and strategies for writing effective items.

With a mix of interactive discussions and hands-on activities, attendees gained valuable insights into standardised assessment practices and the importance of assessment literacy in student development.

A tailored approach

Through the three days, different talks were also tailored for heads of departments, senior leaders, and parents. These talks delved into high-stake external assessments and guided stakeholders in areas such as navigating the assessment cycle, understanding grade boundaries, and supporting students through assessment-related challenges.

One of the highlights for Daniel was the session James delivered to Wellington parents:

"James understood what we were trying to convey to this key group, and the depth of his Cambridge knowledge and teaching experience on the specifics of IGCSE and IB Examinations helped further inform those who attended.

 In China, there’s a lot of emphasis on the high-stakes nature of assessment – at Wellington, we are seeking to find more ways to enhance our overall assessment literacy across all our stakeholders to improve the experience for our students.”

Daniel Eldred, Deputy Head of Senior School at Wellington College International Shanghai

Consultation sessions with school leaders offered a more personalised approach, allowing them to explore internal assessment data and refine prediction strategies. By leveraging historic assessment data and examples, participants gained practical tools for improving the accuracy of internal predictions and enhancing overall assessment practices within their departments.

“We’ve already invested time in creating robust assessment calendars and frameworks based on the training delivered,” said Daniel.

“We have also considered concepts such as the ‘forgetting curve’ and looked at how approaching differentiation by removing assessment barriers for all (instead of just on an individual level) in the classroom will make a substantial difference to our students. Fundamentally, as teachers all the information we collect from our students should not be about creating additional demands, but to further inform great teaching."

Developing the skills to meet future challenges

“As a school, we are looking to do more work with The Assessment Network in the future. I think the training delivered by James was exceptional and the feedback has been outstanding across the board.

Image of James Beadle presenting

Improving our assessment practice has become the foci for our entire staff this year, and an ongoing collaboration with Cambridge will be important to achieve this goal. With the massive challenges that education has faced during and off the back of COVID-19, It’s something we want to enhance in every area moving forward. Strategically, we know by creating better assessment literacy in all our stakeholders we will build a more robust school structure for the future ahead.”

Wellington College International Shanghai remains committed to building on the foundation established through its partnership with The Assessment Network.

I was hugely impressed by the overall package offered by the bespoke solutions team at The Assessment Network and couldn’t recommend them highly enough. James crafted the training to fit our overall assessment strategy and used leading Cambridge knowledge in combination with years of relevant teaching expertise to deliver exactly what we needed at the highest possible standard.”

Daniel Eldred, Deputy Head of Senior School at Wellington College International Shanghai

“In the future, a session reminiscent of the parent’s talk on assessment literacy, but catered to our students is something we’re very keen on pursuing. This along with other CPD opportunities offered by Cambridge (such as The Postgraduate Advanced Certificate in Educational Studies: Educational Assessment) will continue to improve our school-wide approach to assessment.

If you’re interested in exploring the training offered by The Assessment Network you can view their bespoke solutions.

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