Dr Black Box or How I learned to stop worrying and love assessment`


By Mark Cottingham , published 23rd August 2009

Drawing upon experimental work in different history departments, Mark Cottingham explores ‘assessment for learning' principles in practice. He raises the problem of a clash between these approaches and the progression model inherent in the National Curriculum Attainment Target, and, crucially, the way in which history departments are expected to use (or abuse) it by senior managers. Parallel systems are therefore emerging in some schools. He concludes with practical suggestions about how teachers might temporarily accommodate the demands of managers, whilst continuing to assess with attention to more valid, complex and flexible progression models and sensitivity to learning needs. He challenges history teachers ‘to make this system so effective that the NC Level Description can eventually be restricted to its intended role of summative assessment at the end of Key Stage 3'.

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