Assessing Pupils Progress And Marking Writing English Language Essay

‘Students are non good at cognizing how much they are larning, frequently because we as instructors do non state them in an appropriate manner ‘ . ( Black & A ; William et Al, 2003: 45 )

Appraisal in secondary instruction has been the cause of much contention in recent times, peculiarly within our current political context and a new revised course of study expected in 2013 ( Hargreaves, 2005 ; Brown 2005 ) . Arguments associated with assessment scope from what methods do we utilize to maintain path of the students ‘ acquisition and their advancement through the course of study. This assignment will concentrate upon the kernel of appraisal – the assorted signifiers and their positive and negative facets severally ; besides, more specifically, on the subject of Assessing Pupil Progress ( APP ) that has presently been introduced across schooling by QCDA. It is of import to farther high spot the extent of the ignorantness and Southern Cross of current instruction, with the cognition that QCDA has been ruled out.

Appraisal has been defined as the activities used to get information about the cognition and accomplishments of pupil ( Marsh, 2006 ) . However, the term is much more complex than this. There are four chief types of appraisal or intents of assessment including: summative, formative, diagnostic and appraising. It has been formative and summational appraisal though, that have made for much argument and conversation within instruction in these recent old ages. Within this dynamic societal environment, theoreticians have been taking their places on the metaphorical battleground of appraisal with respects the strengths and failings of formative and summational appraisal ( Weeden, et al 2002 ) . The relevancy of the introductory quote pivots around whether the intent of appraisal is merely to enter academic public presentation ( summational ) , or to advance acquisition and inform the scholar of stairss to be taken in order to better ( formative ) . Possibly appraisal is encompassed?

Summational appraisal has been described as:

‘..the procedure of summing up or look intoing what has been learned at the terminal of a peculiar phase of acquisition, whether this is a faculty or a G.C.S.E. class – appraisal ‘of ‘ larning ‘ . ( Weeden et al, 2002: 13 )

Strictly talking, this includes the external and internal testing and recording of classs, Markss or certifications. Brown ( 2005 ) recognises that summational appraisal has besides claimed an aim and dependable standing by many of those involved in the assessment kingdom of instruction. First, parents require accessible and comprehensive feedback in the signifier of study cards, so as to maintain them informed as to the accomplishments of their kids. Second, it has historically been seen an built-in and necessary portion of the choice procedure of pupils. Employers and institutes of farther and higher instruction have found it an easy and dependable usher that aids the choice of relevant and capable campaigners ( Harlen, 2006 ) . There is besides the sense of equity involved as each pupil is subjected to the same test, in the same hall and at the same clip. Such certifications are a widely recognizable signifier of appraisal that leaves room for small confusion as to the accomplishments of and differentiations between viing campaigners.

Summational appraisal besides takes a assortment of signifiers, peculiarly terminal of subject trials, terminal of twelvemonth tests and in G.C.S.E. and A – Degree. SATs trial, now abolished, were besides a method of measuring on whole, pupil acquisition at KS3. With respects G.C.S.E. and A-Level, ways of appraisal include coursework, multiple pick, comprehension, external test and viva voces, in footings of modern linguistic communications. This offers pupils a scope of mediums through which to show their acquisition, cognition and apprehension at that minute in clip. Black ( 1999 ) argues that this assortment reduces the prejudice that might be associated with curtailing students to a individual signifier of summational appraisal, such as exam-based merely or coursework-based merely. This attack acknowledges that persons may execute better in some contexts than in others and aims to understate any prejudice that could originate from this.

In add-on, the publication of conference tabular arraies and the competition between schools that ensues can be a positive incentive for schools to raise their criterions and reevaluate their schemes. Two theoreticians justly assert that the summational appraisal of larning utilizing standardized trials, can supply an indicant of a school ‘s current effectivity in run intoing the acquisition demands of its students ( Elwood, 2006 ; Weeden, 2002 ) . This suggests that the schools can so travel frontward to rectify the state of affairs consequently on the footing of the predating consequences.

Weeden ( 2002 ) besides recognises mark puting for both the school and the single students as a cardinal intent and advantage of summational appraisal.[ 1 ]Hargreaves supports and extends this theory. She claims, through the usage of a instance survey, that assessment as measuring can besides be used for larning or to heighten acquisition and non merely for mensurating on the topographic point public presentations ( Hargreaves, 2005 ) . However, many critics earnestly question how dependable a individual scaling system really is ( Cohen et al, 2005 ; Bourdillon et Al, 2002 ; Black and Wiliam et Al, 2006 ; Brown 2005 ; Stobart, 2006 ) . The primary statement is that a class does non place what has really and specifically been achieved or learned. It merely measures public presentation. In contrast to Weeden and Hargreaves above, the house critics of summational appraisal are concerned that a class does non inform pupils of how they can better their work and later their acquisition. In short, it does non explicitly exemplify what students have really achieved ( Black and William et Al, 2003 ; Brown 2005 ; Harlen, 2006 ) .

Besides, many critics claim that the force per unit area to accomplish the top classs becomes transmitted to students who finally come to fear failure and feel pressured to win. This attack to appraisal can besides impede motive, assurance and regard as it divides categories and labels students every bit high or low winners ( Weeden, 2002 ) .

On the other manus, formative appraisal merely truly began to do moving ridges in instruction subsequent to the Assessment Reform Group establishing the Black and Wiliam review booklet, ‘Inside the Black Box ‘ ( Gardner, 2006 ; Bourdillon, 2002 ) . It was made widely expressed, as it was believed instructors were non taking the necessary stairss to guarantee consciousness of the phases that their students were at with their acquisition. Subsequently in recent old ages, there has been a displacement off from summational towards formative appraisal ( Brown 2005 ) as a scheme taking towards bettering larning through appraisal. The Revised Curriculum places great accent on appraisal for larning ( CCEA, 2003 ) , whereby appraisal is seen as a procedure instead than measuring.

Elwood ( 2006: 218 ) provides a great definition of formative appraisal:

‘Formative appraisal refers to patronize, synergistic appraisals of pupil advancement and understanding to place larning demands and adjust learning suitably. ‘

It might be assumed that all signifiers of appraisal should suitably be incorporated together in order to circulate how much pupils are larning or have learned, but as this essay aims to demo, many theoreticians believe that this is non the instance. This essay, in the first portion, will discourse appraisal and its signifiers, and as antecedently mentioned APP.

Here, the advantages of formative over summational appraisal are clear. It is much more ‘interactive ‘ as it involves pupils in the appraisal and acquisition procedure through activities such as ego and peer appraisal. It besides focuses on ‘progress ‘ through appraisal, non simply the measurement of public presentation. She claims that this attack will assist instructors run into the larning demands of their students more efficaciously and hence ‘adjust learning suitably ‘ . The of import word here is ‘appropriately ‘ . As antecedently discussed, summational appraisal fails to inform future be aftering suitably or accurately. Elwood is non entirely in her theory. Black and Wiliam et Al ( 2003 ) and Marsh ( 2006 ) besides submit that formative appraisal such as feedback, ego and peer appraisal, sharing lesson aims and unfastened oppugning significantly AIDSs accurate frontward planning of activities that will better and reenforce acquisition. Students are encouraged to put marks for themselves and demo grounds of holding reached them during future activities. In this manner, students are cognizant of what they are larning and how, instead than blindly following the restricted but progressive undertakings of a fixed strategy of work. They later take a more active function in and control of their appraisal and acquisition ( Harlen, 2006 ) .

Hargreaves ( 2005 ) and Gardner ( 2006 ) besides observe the addition in intrinsic motive and self-pride that arises from this attack to assessment. This is in great contrast to the lessening in self-esteem that Cohen et Al ( 2005 ) associates with summational appraisal. He claims that students are de-motivated and demoralised by the chasing of classs instead than the betterment of acquisition.

Unlike summational appraisal, many critics believe that appraisal for larning can greatly profit and raise the criterions of low winners ( Weeden, 2002 ; Black 1999 ; Marsh, 2006 ) . This is about surely because kids are given the chance to reflect on their ain acquisition, puting marks and ends and being more actively engaged in undertakings. This coincides with Vygotsky ‘s acquisition theory, whereby the instructor acts as the ‘supporter instead than manager of larning ‘ in order that pupils go more independent scholars ( Black, 1999: 125 ) .

However, one of the most common expostulations to assessment for acquisition is that there is a batch of confusion environing what it is and how to implement it ( Elwood, 2006 ; Weeden, 2002 ; Hargreaves, 2005 ) . This is likely due to Stobart ‘s statement that ‘the extent of bing cognition and apprehension of [ appraisal for larning ] aˆ¦is still in its early phases ‘ ( Stobart, 2006: 203 ) .Therefore, in comparing to the longer history and research invested in summational appraisal, formative appraisal does non look to hold such an extended research footing from which to turn out its success or steer its integrating in instruction.

Measuring Pupil Progress or “ APP ” was foremost piloted in 2007 due to anxiousnesss from QCDA over the KS3 national trials. The system was designed as a manner of back uping instructors in doing effectual judgements whilst taging students on their work and a manner of formalizing that work. Initially named “ Monitoring Pupil Progress ” , taking educationists across the state gathered to build a method of assisting instructors diagnose the strengths and failings of student ‘s work. In these introductory old ages of APP, it could be said that it was a method of formative appraisal, non summational as it is used now. John Green, one of the chief developers of the initial pilot strategy, states himself that APP ‘was non mean to be an over-riding factor ‘ in appraisal.

However, with the abolition of national KS3 trials, APP was ranked up by authorities due to the force per unit area of necessitating a replacing to measuring student larning across the state. The motion began at KS2, with degrees being used to find the strengths and failings of students and to help effectual passage to the appropriate secondary schools. APP concerned the usage of A3 standard grids ab initio in 2008, and were so condensed down into A4 signifier with some overlapping. In kernel, instructors were able to track and click off each student ‘s advancement at each degree and was a manner of back uping taging. QCDA stated that APP was supposed to work on the virtue that local schools were to do usage of the system to compare taging with the usage of trying to guarantee that their criterions of taging were on the same par. Suddenly, people thought it was such a good thought, that APP could be used for every student. Most standards were shown and understood by the students instructors had in their category. Soon students were self-assessing their ain work and designation of each student ‘s phases and marks in larning were facilitated. Students were besides provided with a booklet with sampled work collated throughout the twelvemonth, and a grid demoing what standard they had met at a specific phase. These booklets were so passed up the primary old ages to inform new coachs of the degrees of each student.

As mentioned, with the stoping of KS3 SAT trials in 2007, a replacing needed to be standardised, and it was to be APP. Appraisal focal points were all set for reading, composing, speech production and listening in English. However, the focuses/criteria that were set back in 2007 were get downing to be used in a proficient and systematic manner with every piece of pupil work that was to be summatively assessed. QCDA stated that APP was the new method to be used and standardization within secondary English sections began to take topographic point. In the school that I am presently placed, the section has a specifically appointed co-ordinator of APP, and she ensures that staff are understood in the processs of taging and that that marker is on an agreed and consistent degree through regular meetings. All students in Key Stage 3 are marked utilizing the appraisal focal points and is the overarching manner of informing Ofsted and other educational bureaus of the school ‘s national public presentation and attainment. She besides makes mass sums of brochures embedded with APP focal points and it appears it is the overruling factor within all things English.

Eight appraisal focal points ( AFs ) are formulated for measuring reading and authorship. The focal points for reading are:

AF1 – usage a scope of schemes, including accurate decryption of text, to read for intending

AF2 – understand, describe, select or recover information, events or thoughts from texts and usage citation and mention to text

AF3 – deduce, infer or interpret information, events or thoughts from texts

AF4 – identify and remark on the construction and administration of texts, including grammatical and presentational characteristics at text degree

AF5 – explain and remark on authors ‘ usage of linguistic communication, including grammatical and literary characteristics at word and sentence degree

AF6 – identify and remark on authors ‘ intents and point of views, and the overall consequence of the text on the reader

AF7 – relate texts to their societal, cultural and historical traditions

The standard above is an illustration of standards that is shared with all pupils after they have completed a piece of work that has been assessed. Each student ‘s APP grid is therefore highlighted with the standards that have met and their marks for the hereafter stated on the pronounced work. The rating degree is so placed upon the work, determined from the standards grid, and that class is entered into the school ‘s SIMS system. These classs are so used for study devising and puting marks for the terminal of the twelvemonth, Internet Explorer. A student in one of my categories is sitting at a 3b in his autobiography piece and his mark is a 4a.

The appraisal pieces that I marked were concerned with chiefly reading, but besides how they communicated their apprehension and illation of the novel to the page. The subject was associated with character, utilizing Bradley Chalkers from Louis Sachar ‘s There ‘s a Boy in the Girls ‘ Bathroom. The category in inquiry, was a low ability Year 7 category with an overall bulk of high degree 2/low 3. The students were provided with a photocopy of Chapter 10, and the inquiry they had to finish was, “ how does the author show the reader that Bradley still finds school hard but is get downing to do friends? ” The appraisal standards associating to this inquiry were:

AF2 – understand, describe, select or recover information, events or thoughts from texts and usage citation and mention to text

AF4 – identify and remark on the construction and administration of texts, including grammatical and presentational characteristics at text degree

AF5 – explain and remark on authors ‘ usage of linguistic communication, including grammatical and literary characteristics at word and sentence degree

AF6 – identify and remark on authors ‘ intents and point of views, and the overall consequence of the text on the reader


The chief jobs that the instructors have informed me with APP, is that it is a clinical and holistic attack has been adopted to taging and that the standards that is specified, is merely seting in black and white, elements that have ever been looked for when taging a piece of work. There is besides the restraint of clip, with instructors being instructed to execute a summational APP appraisal every half-term in the school twelvemonth, when they are already good cognizant of the students ‘ acquisition development themselves based on the work that has been completed in the twelvemonth. The linguistic communication used within the standards and that is shared with the pupils has besides been viewed is besides deemed as being excessively complex and hard to understand for larning to come on. Many schools have besides been instructed that they are non allowed to alter the complexness of the phrasing and pick of vocabulary in the standards, which is thwarting as the kids can non grok to the full what is being asked of them in a piece of work.

Much talk has besides centred on whether APP and AFL ( Assessment for Learning ) go manus in manus or lock horns as methods of appraisal. In the comprehensive that I am presently in, it appears APP has been co-opted with AFL. For illustration, before an appraisal is to take topographic point, the instructor will portion with the category, what they will be specifically assessed upon. Forms of peer-assessment besides support APP, with the students in control of the marker and acquisition of their work – what they have achieved in relation to the standards and what their marks are to be. There are besides jobs in the standardization of APP, I feel, preponderantly with the sum of appraisals that are made within the twelvemonth. It can be rather frustrating when a student produces a great piece of work but so another piece that is non up to that criterion is the 1 that they produce as their appraisal. Besides, AFL centres on the thought that using classs to a student ‘s work is counterproductive to their acquisition and self-pride, and from what I have seen in the school that I am placed, the APP degrees are still what the students are transfixed with when they get their work back, non the positive remarks written. I believe APP works best when a choice of work is looked upon with the appraisal focuses, and from that choice, it can be decided if that student has met the focal points. Summational appraisals can besides work, merely if they are mensurable of the twelvemonth ‘s work and attainment. Therefore, I feel APP should be used as a manner to assist and back up instructors and their continual appraisal of acquisition, but that the over-dependence of its usage is ensuing in mass sums of paper work for each student and the authorities demand to set in topographic point a more consistent and clear construction for schools. Possibly the return of a national trial at the terminal of each twelvemonth would assist accomplish this? This could, in idea, deter APP being used as summational agencies and more formatively, with the instructor ‘s pronounced work back uping as a commentary to the grade/level achieved in the summational trial.


The scrutiny of critical reading and personal experience in this essay, has demonstrated that both formative and summational appraisal have their advantages and restrictions within secondary instruction. As stated in the debut, the pick of either appraisal for larning or appraisal of acquisition, finally depends upon the intent of appraisal, a point that Weeden ( 2002 ) agrees with besides. In my personal sentiment, formative and summational appraisal should stay as separate classs to either support and extend or to mensurate larning. However, in pattern both can be used for the greater benefit and in support of one another. This is a point that threads through much of the literature behind this argument ( Black and Wiliam et Al, 2003 ; Hargreaves, 2005 ; Harlen, 2006 ) . Formative and summational appraisal therefore should be seen as co-dependent, two sides of the same spectrum, or as Harlen phrases it, portion of a ‘dimension ‘ instead than a ‘dichotomy ‘ ( Harlen, 2006:113 ) . For illustration, a formative attack can be used within the schoolroom throughout the academic twelvemonth to heighten advancement in larning. When implemented efficaciously, this in bend could raise the criterions of the terminal of twelvemonth summational test. Other critics have discussed the ‘formative usage of summational appraisal ‘ ( Harlen, 2006: 107 ) in footings of students prosecuting in peer appraisal of one another ‘s coursework bill of exchange. This was a pattern implemented during my first teaching experience and it did better person apprehension of what the summational appraisal required. In decision, hence, it is more realistic to see both attacks working together and see assessment taking ‘aˆ¦a assortment of signifiers so that different acquisition manners are catered for ‘ ( Weeden, 2002: 66 ) to better overall acquisition for the benefit of kids.

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