RETHINKING

ASSESSMENT

A movement to value the strengths of every child

THE AIM OF RETHINKING ASSESSMENT IS

To make the argument for change through case studies, analysis, evidence and thoughtful blogs.

To provide workable solutions, practical ideas and approaches to make assessment fairer, broader and more equitable.

A TIME FOR CHANGE

Now is the time to make real change – to design an assessment system that helps every young person to thrive. Momentum is building. Join us to help make it happen.

OUR EXAM SYSTEM IS A MESS. NOW IS THE TIME TO RESHAPE IT.

Exams have a stranglehold on our entire education system. They dominate what is taught, how it is taught, and lived experience of every child, parent and teacher in the country.

Many young people find the way our exam system works increasingly stressful and not a true reflection of what they can do or are good at. The arms race for grades is brutal, and the notion of ‘raising standards’ redundant; the GCSE system necessitates that the bottom third fail. 

Headteachers feel that high stakes exams distort priorities and stops them from providing a well rounded education for their pupils. 

Our assessment system is not giving universities, colleges or employers the kind of information they want, or evidencing the kinds of dispositions and capabilities which help young people to succeed at school and in life. 

Across the globe there are well-established school systems which provide working examples of meaningful, balanced and rigorous alternatives to exam-only assessment. Momentum for change is growing!

A BLUEPRINT FOR CHANGE

Read and share our blueprint for assessment change and see how schools, parents, employers and universities can all join the movement.

WHAT IF? 

The assessment system recognised the full range of every young person’s strengths

What if every child compiled their own digital learner profile and took it with them after they left school.

Assessment supported the pathways of ALL students whether going to university, college or employment

Schools were judged on the quality and range of their education offer not just a narrow set of exam results

We learned from the best assessment practices in the UK and across the world to reduce the exam burden, combining selected and meaningful tests with a range of other assessment methods

Assessment supported rather than penalised the most disadvantaged and vulnerable

WHAT'S HAPPENING? 

CHANGE IS COMING

There are regularly important reports and commissions which make the case for rethinking assessment. Here are a few of the most significant.

Pearson’s report into the Future of Assessment in England

Following the unique impact of the pandemic on exams, many questions have been asked of our assessment system, not least around fairness and equity for 14–19-year-olds.  A new report by learning company Pearson recommends adapting the types of assessments and considering alternatives to GCSEs.  It also suggests adapting Ebacc and Progress 8 measures to allow schools to provide a more tailored, high-quality curriculum.  The report calls for greater diversity and representation in the curriculum that reflects young people’s lives.

Times Education Commission

The Times Education Commission interim report outlined a wealth of evidence for secondary and higher education reform. Particularly from the business community finding that “Almost three quarters of companies believe their profitability and productivity would rise by at least 25 per cent if new recruits were better prepared for employment.” Ongoing skills gaps were also highlighted – one in four businesses reported that the majority of their roles required advanced digital skills and 92% of businesses said that having basic digital skills was important for employees.

The Independent Commission on Assessment in Primary Education (ICAPE)

ICAPE is an independent commission which will propose a new approach to assessment in primary schools in England. The members of the commission include teachers, headteachers and researchers, working in partnership. The commission will take evidence from a range of people with expertise and interest in assessment, curriculum and pedagogy in primary schools.  Their aim is to recommend key principles for improving assessment in primary schools and offer examples of practice that reflect these.  ICAPE brings together, teachers, headteachers and researchers.

The Independent Assessment Commission

The NEU formed the Independent Assessment Commission (IAC) with organisations representing students, parents, business and universities. The consensus voice of all those involved in the IAC – including politicians from all political parties – has made a clear case for change. Education and assessment bodies are using the Commission’s report findings to further champion a new era of equitable, reliable assessment and qualification.

Labour Council of Skills Advisors’ Report

Led by Lord David Blunkett, the report Learning and skills for economic recovery, social cohesion and a more equal Britain (Oct 2022) looks at education and skills delivery across FE, including apprenticeships, alongside childcare provision and a call to reform and modernise the curriculum. In particular, it suggests introducing multimodal assessments so that young people’s progress is no longer measured solely through written exams.

The House of Lords Youth Unemployment Committee

The report Skills for Every Young Person was published by the Committee and makes recommendations on youth unemployment, education and skills. The report focuses on these key areas and also makes wider recommendations about apprenticeships, careers guidance and inequality in the labour market.

Join us and be part of the change