Friday, 16 March 2012

Assessing students up to age 14 - A better future. Part 3 - Integrating formative (APP) and summative (SATS) assessment

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The biggest efficiency and quality improvements will come when school tracking systems are developed which integrate formative assessment (APP) and summative assessment (SATS).

At present many schools spend a great deal of time recording the details of students progress but they usually only share this data among staff.  Students only receive credit for the grades they achieve in their SATS and other exams and these grades/levels reveal little except whether the students has learnt much this year or not.

However it is now been clearly demonstrated that the landscape of what is now possible has fundamentally changed.  Ian Lynch has a company called The Learning Machine which is licenced by Ofqual to issue criteria based qualifications which they call Ingots.

The Learning Machine have developed qualification which are specified by the criteria students have to achieve.  They have created tracking systems which must be used to record progress.  Schools are responsible for creating their evidence trails and if they subscribe to the system they can then issue as many qualifications as they are able to justify.  They are audited by The Learning Machine once a year.   So far they have specilised in developing qualifications to support emerging ICT systems such as Open Office and to assess and give formal credit for progress to students with learning difficulties.

This is precisely the kind of system which could positively transform assessment for students up to the age of 14.

However this model of accreditation needs to be developed to include:
- online testing and subsequent automatic accreditation for criteria which are easy to test (and ideally to online teachings systems which support students in filling gaps identified) so that teachers can focus on observing those aspects of student progress which are not easy to test.
- links to whole school registration systems to ensure it is easy for teachers to populate fields.
- subsequent links to behavior tracking systems and other student, staff or school tracking and development systems.
- shared access and use for teachers, student and parents.
- transferability between schools, especially from primary schools to secondary schools.
- links to the central database so that detailed data can be used to assess national and school progress by government authorities.

In subsequent blogs on this theme I will explore these points sharing insights into how they can be effectively addressed and the benefits their addressed will bring.

Assessing students up to the age of 14 – A better future  QUICK LINKS


  1. Hi Rebeccca,

    Your link to the Learning machine didnlt get me there. Looks like lots of interesting things are happening in education!

  2. Thanks for you comment Richard. The link is working for me so I don't know how to correct the fault. The direct web address is: if you want to copy and paste this address however this is a web page targeted at clients of the learning machine so I would recommend readers of this blog who are not familiar with this area use the link to 'Ingots' instead.

    I wish this blog could progress faster but other obligations are pulling me away from it. I'll be back as soon as I can create a few minutes.