Opportunities, challenges and questions: continual assessment in Year 9


By Karl Cain and Christina Neal , published 23rd August 2009

Our means of assessment might pose a problem. History teachers regularly set specific targets, with implicit or explicit reference to National Curriculum Levels, which are designed to move our pupils on and make them better historians. How, though, are we to prevent them from achieving their targets in a rather mechanistic way, ticking the boxes of progress although genuine understanding has passed them by? Karl Cain and Christina Neal have a  suggestion which dovetails with the ‘assessment for learning' agenda. They build in time within their enquiries to allow their students to use assessment as a tool for moving themselves and their classmates forwards. By building assessment into their classroom, Cain and Neal have created an environment in which students constantly use their own and their peers' judgments to improve their historical understanding, and the quality of their work. All that - and hardly a Level in sight.

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