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P3.1 Teaching, Monitoring and Assessment


Assessment is in many respects central to the curriculum and tests and examinations provide valuable motivation for many learners as well as guidance for teachers as to how the curriculum is being interpreted. It is important that assessment is used to support the learning processes (Assessment for learning), to inform and engage pupils and their parents. This article provides ideas relating assessment to answer questions such as: Why do we assess? What is assessment? Who is it for? How do monitoring and assessment support teaching and learning? and How is a school assessment policy interpreted within the science department? A substantial number of downloads is provided that give access to materials used in some institutions for ITT courses.

The standards focus is on Q11-13 but the importance of the whole range of standards in relation to 'assessment for learning' must be recognised.

Keywords: Assessment, Learning, Tests, Examinations, Formative, Summative.


1.0 Assessment and Standards
2.0 Purposes of Assessment
3.0 Training Resources

1.0 Assessment and Standards

The standards detailed below are those taken from the 2002 version - in the 2007 version the wording provides less detail (Q11-13) and thus encourages more professional autonomy and responsibility. However the earlier version is still helpful for interpretation and reflection.

There is a common sense understanding of assessment which equates it with ‘tests’. It is important that any training curriculum moves beyond this to explore the educational aspirations of monitoring and assessment as well as some of its pitfalls. An example of the latter is a potential tendency for assessment accountability to drive and determine the curriculum experiences by students.

Section 3.2 of the Standards contained in Qualifying to Teach (DfES/TTA 2002) is entitled Monitoring and Assessment. However, assessment and its associated activities are of such central importance to the learning process that they are present as a thread running through a number of other Standards. Relevant subsections, therefore, include:

S1.4 Communication with parents and carers

  • Those awarded Qualified Teacher Status must understand and uphold the professional code of the General Teaching Council for England by demonstrating that they can communicate sensitively and effectively with parents and carers, recognising their roles in pupils’ learning, and their rights, responsibilities and interests in this.

S3.1.1 Setting objectives

  • Those awarded Qualified Teacher Status must demonstrate that they set challenging teaching and learning objectives which are relevant to all pupils in their classes. They base these on their knowledge of:
  • The pupils
  • Evidence of their past and current achievement
  • The expected standards for pupils of the relevant age range
  • The range and content of work relevant to pupils in that age range

S3.1.2 Planning lesson

  • Those awarded Qualified Teacher Status must demonstrate that they use these teaching and learning objectives to plan lessons, and sequences of lessons, showing how they will assess pupils’ learning. They take account of and support pupils’ varying needs so that girls and boys, from all ethnic groups, can make good progress.

S3.2.1 Assessment strategies 

  • Those awarded Qualified Teacher Status must demonstrate that they make appropriate use of a range of monitoring and assessment strategies to evaluate pupils’ progress towards planned learning objectives, and use this information to improve their own planning and teaching.

S3.2.2 Assessment to support learning

  • Those awarded Qualified Teacher Status must demonstrate that they monitor and assess as they teach, giving immediate and constructive feedback to support pupils as they learn. They involve pupils in reflecting on, evaluating and improving their own performance.

S3.2.3 Assessment against national frameworks

  • Those awarded Qualified Teacher Status must demonstrate that they are able to assess pupils’ progress accurately using, as relevant, the early learning goals, National Curriculum level descriptions, criteria from national qualifications, the requirements of Awarding Bodies, National Curriculum and Foundation Stage assessment frameworks or objectives from the national strategies. They may have guidance from an experienced teacher where appropriate.

S3.2.4 Meeting pupils’ needs

  • Those awarded Qualified Teacher Status must demonstrate that they identify and support more able pupils, those who are working below age-related expectations, those who are failing to achieve their potential in learning, and those who experience behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. They may have guidance from an experienced teacher where appropriate.

S3.2.5 English as an additional language (EAL)

  • Those awarded Qualified Teacher Status must demonstrate that with the help of an experienced teacher, they can identify the levels of attainment of pupils learning English as an additional language. They begin to analyse the language demands and learning activities in order to provide cognitive challenge as well as language support.

S3.2.6 Recording progress

  • Those awarded Qualified Teacher Status must demonstrate that they record pupils’ progress and achievements systematically to provide evidence of the range of their work, progress and attainment over time. They use this to help pupils review their own progress and to inform planning.

S3.2.7 Reporting to parents and others

  • Those awarded Qualified Teacher Status must demonstrate that they are able to use records as a basis for reporting on pupils’ attainment and progress orally and in writing, concisely, informatively and accurately for parents, carers, other professionals and pupils

The scope of the individual standard and the likely evidence relevant to meeting the various Standards can be read in the Qualifying to Teach Handbook of Guidance which is available online.

2.0 Purposes of Assessment

The Association for Science Education’s policy document on assessment states that it:‘sees three major purposes of assessment:

  • To support and improve teaching and learning directly
  • To improve the performance of teachers and institutions
  • To promote lifelong learning through qualifications and to provide information to the wider community

This encapsulates the two main functions associated with the term assessment - the summative and formative, the latter now often referred to as assessment for learning. Very often assessment is narrowly conceptualised as the outcomes of exams or end of unit tests. Trainees need to be challenged early on to move them past this position, assessment needs to be built into the lesson plan cycle and should inform the evaluative process of that cycle. However, this is not to diminish the summative aspects of assessment and trainees should also be exposed to requirements of formal examinations.

Trainees also need to be able to make judgements, with guidance against national frameworks. There are a number of ways in which this may be built into a training programme. For example, the website National Curriculum in Action ‘uses pupils' work and case study materials to show what the National Curriculum in science looks like in practice.’ examples provided include:

  • Pupils' accounts of classroom activities
  • Pupils' responses to structured tasks and questions
  • Accounts of open-ended investigations and fieldwork
  • Completed test items.

3.0 Training Resources

There are a number of training resources that have been produced as part of the Key Stage 3 Strategy. The Assessment for Learning units are generic ‘to support whole-school training and lead to more subject-focused development work in individual departments.’ However, they may be of use when planning sessions for trainees.

The units available, in PDF format, from the Department of Education: Assessment for Learning include:

  • Assessment for learning in everyday lessons
  • SEN - Assessment for learning in everyday lessons
  • The formative use of summative assessments
  • Objective led lessons
  • Developing objective led lessons in specific subjects
  • Oral feedback
  • Developing oral feedback in specific subjects
  • Written feedback
  • Developing written feedback in specific subjects
  • Peer and self-assessment
  • Developing peer and self-assessment in specific subjects
  • Curricular target setting
  • Developing curricular target setting in specific subjects

Key points for discussion during training sessions should include:

  • Why do we assess?
  • What is assessment?
  • Who is it for?
  • How does monitoring and assessment within the school support teaching and learning?
  • How is the school policy interpreted within science?

Example of training sessions can be seen here in download P3.0_3.0a and download P3.0_3.0c. Examples of stand alone tasks that a trainee might be asked to do in order to gather evidence against the Standards are given here in download P3.0_3.0b.

In addition to the references and resources mentioned in the session plans above there are a number of other texts which cover monitoring and assessment in science a review of a few of these can be found here download P3.0_3.0d.

Additional Downloads

This section authored by: Neil Herrington, University of East London August 2005

Published: 23 Sep 2005, Last Updated: 28 Mar 2008