Research with The Centre for Education and Youth
Why Making Waves?
Workload in schools has spiralled out of control and this is pushing teachers out of the profession at an unprecedented rate. Teachers do not feel confident about their assessment expertise and this can stand in the way of them exercising their professional autonomy. However, pockets of innovation are springing up in response to these two challenges and our previous research (Test the Water) showed that professionals were developing new approaches that could give rise to a better future for assessment. The Making Waves Project was designed to answer these questions in a consultative, deliberative manner through partnership with the sector.
Ineffective assessment methods come with an opportunity cost – while teachers are executing ineffective methods they cannot be executing effective ones. And we know from
our research that teachers do not feel confident about their assessment expertise. This can stand in the way of them exercising their professional autonomy. Only one third of classroom teachers feel 'very confident' when it comes to assessment and only one in five know where to find information on assessment.
Teachers need to be trained and supported to engage in ‘responsible innovation’ and Making Waves provides four key recommendations will help guide this process:
1. Prepare for innovation
2. Be explicit about what purpose assessment is serving in this instance
3. Identify the best level at which to innovate
4. Strike the right balance between fidelity and flexibility, particularly when making decisions about evaluating an initiative.
Understanding and deploying effective assessment practices is a critical part of teacher professionalism. To improve student outcomes and to retain motivated
teachers, they need to be supported with vital knowledge about assessment.