Why is #TestingTheWater important?
In the summer 2016, Pearson conducted a survey of teachers’ and parents’ attitudes towards assessment and testing, which revealed widespread support for a cross-sector debate to address some of the challenges relating to this area.
Teachers and school leaders said assessment was the second most pressing concern facing education, behind workload, although we know workload is affected by assessment. For parents, only funding cuts to schools were a bigger issue.
As the country’s largest awarding body, this issue is incredibly important, and Pearson partnered with think-and-action-tank LKMco to help facilitate this debate and find solutions. In December 2016 we launched an in-depth consultation with teachers, school leaders, experts and parents to better understand concerns about assessment and identify ways of addressing them.
This work has progressed in two phases:
- Phase 1 ran between December 2016 and May 2017, and involved focus groups and an online consultation, which enabled us to speak to and hear from hundreds of teachers, school leaders, parents, governors and young people across the country. This led to the publication of our Interim Report in May 2017, which presented an overview of main challenges facing assessment.
- Phase 2 tackled the challenges from phase 1 head on, drawing on: a national poll of over 1,000 teachers in England; domestic and international case studies; a literature review, and; a series of think pieces from leading global experts in assessment. The report outlines how we can ensure assessment is positioned so that it underpins, rather than undermines, great teaching and learning.
Building on her contribution to LKMco and Pearson's #TestingTheWater research, Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, argued in the TES that assessment for learning must be separated from accountability measures: “It is time assessment became a tool rather than a distraction.”
LKMco is an education and youth development ‘think and action tank’ LKMco. We believe society has a duty to ensure children and young people receive the support they need in order to make a fulfilling transition to adulthood. We work towards this vision by helping education and youth organisations develop, evaluate and improve their work with young people. We then carry out academic and policy research and advocacy that is grounded in our experience.