A need for change
Teachers often lack the assessment expertise they need to feel confident tailoring assessment practices to their students’ needs. This is the focus of a report from the Centre for Education and Youth and Pearson UK, published 1 December 2020. Making Waves: Building a better future for assessment aims to cast a light on what schools and teachers need to do to tackle the big challenges around assessment and provides a set of recommendations to help guide this process.
The publication of Making Waves is both timely and instructional. We hope that it highlights a need for change and investment in teachers to become empowered assessment professionals and we look forward to seeing action being implemented.
A shared understanding of assessment
Cambridge Assessment Network, like many, have welcomed the recommendations within the report and believe that this is an acknowledgment of teachers’ need to gain a greater understanding of assessment to support learning. A shared understanding of assessment is crucial to the education system alongside pedagogy and teaching.
This need is particularly pertinent at a time when teachers are being asked to make critical judgements of their students (ones which determine life changing opportunities) and challenged to find new ways to assess. Making Waves acknowledges that teachers need to feel confident and empowered with respect to their assessment practice. Both this report and our own research has shown that where teaching professionals have good assessment knowledge it leads to better learner outcomes, reduces workload pressures, enables innovation and supports sound decision making.
Cambridge Assessment Network's mission
Sharing assessment knowledge and expertise has long been at the core of Cambridge Assessment Network’s mission. We believe that knowledge of key assessment concepts such as validity, reliability, fairness and impact contribute significantly to the empowerment of teachers and other practitioners to make good decisions in their teaching. All too often this knowledge has been gained by ad-hoc arrangements, brief introductions at initial teacher training and possibly through involvement with examinations boards (by writing or marking exams).
We also believe assessment is a professional discipline and expertise in it should be recognised – something which is offered by the Assessment Network through CPD accreditation and a higher education qualification with Cambridge University.
Our professional framework and associated standards also support the idea of assessment as a professional discipline, and is something that underpins all our assessment learning initiatives.
How can we support you?
In response to the report, we would like to ask teachers, and other assessment professionals ‘What can the Assessment Network do to support you?’. Our aim is to bring together assessment professionals from around the world to share knowledge and best practice learning. We would like to know how we can best facilitate this through a membership scheme for assessment practitioners. If you would be happy to provide us with some insight, please complete our short questionnaire and as a thank you we will be sharing a short, informative webinar on the principles of assessment.
Find out more about Cambridge Assessment Network