The Vision: The success of students, teachers and education systems is judged through broadly based assessment and accountability measures.
The effect of National Curriculum reform (certainly in England) has seen assessment of learning prioritised over assessment for learning. A better balance between the two is required, with multiple measures of student and school/college performance to relieve the pressure of high-stakes assessment and to help ensure reliable and valid data.
A focus on ‘teaching to the test’ results in a narrow curriculum that impoverishes young people’s breadth and balance of learning.
Schools are under pressure to achieve the highest possible rankings in published league tables. This leads to teachers ‘drilling’ their students in the essential subject content required for a pass.
There should be a reduced focus from governments and inspectorates on high stakes accountability measures based on testing. Instead there should be more coherent methods to assess performance of students.
Teachers should have an increased role in assessing student achievement in public qualifications. The health of the school and college systems should be judged through a wider set of measures.
The Royal Society is gathering evidence on the impact of experimental science on pupils’ outcomes.
The Royal Society works to support Ofqual and awarding bodies to monitor reforms of qualifications.
The Wellcome Trust, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the Royal Society have funded two projects to explore how best to assess students’ experimental science skills.