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Assessing English and Maths – less work, more value

16 July 2020

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Jonathan Kay, Head of English and Maths, Tyne Coast College and Consultant

In his AoC Learning Week webinar, Jonathan offered lots of ideas and tools to use to help you to save time carrying out assessments for English and maths and how to provide valuable feedback to students. We have captured some of his main points below.

What do we need to avoid when assessing work?

  • Endless marking
  • Marking and giving everything a score
  • Traditional assessment
  • High pressure assessment
  • Non-specific irregular feedback

What should good assessment look like?

  • Bespoke to the setting
  • Regular
  • Low stakes – students must be allowed to fail
  • Short and focused
  • Simply shared and analysed
  • Consistency is king
  • It is about using tools to help you

Jonathan shared with us his approach to using quizzes in classes. He mentioned that low stakes quizzes should be done at the start of the lessons. They should be around 5 – 10 minutes long, assess a range of topics, be non-competitive amongst the students and not be an assessment. At the end of the term and after several quizzes they form an amazing revision tool for students to use.

You can track their quiz results and add in a piece of paper at the end of their workbook with some commentary. Students update it at the end of the lesson, linking it to areas that they need to improve.

How can we make feedback more effective?

  • Consistency is king and should be of high quality, regular and timetabled
  • Use of vocabulary needs to reflect the needs of the student
  • Share the load by getting the students involved
  • Create a culture in the class where failure is safe
  • Use a collaboration of tools to support you

Jonathan shared some tools that we can look to use to improve the feedback we give students. These include:

  • Smart marking for everyone to use
  • Using pre-printed marking templates in English and Maths
  • Simplifying and focusing your feedback by not writing too much. Ask students questions
  • Use peer and self-marking
  • Have a feedback policy and use a range of these tools and approaches within a timetable

To watch Jonathan’s full webinar click here.

Jonathan is one of AoC’s in-house trainers. Contact us by emailing if you would like to arrange a chat about how he can support your team’s training requirements.