Daniel Pyatt Case Study

D PyattIn my role as Assistant Headteacher, I'm responsible for Teaching, Learning and Technologies and work closely with our DHT to quality Assure Curriculum and Assessment. Our school is a Secondary & Sixth form with approximately 1550 on role. In 2022 we began a significant piece of work on evaluating our whole school assessment and progress model. Following a life after levels reform we had a system using the bands; Beginning, Approaching, Secure, and Exceeding, which we felt was no longer optimal or fit for purpose. We found the insights the data was able to provide of a limited value and hence this created strategic challenges about how best to use the data to inform our actions from a whole school level down to a class teacher level. Of course, the reality was that we knew these challenges were the result of issues of validity and reliability. Having put together a broad series of proposals to radically redesign our structure one key element would be to introduce a layer of QA specific to assessment. This would be facilitated through our own internal team of lead assessors who would help pioneer and promote a more critical conversation around assessment throughout our schools and develop the expertise of staff. This is where the Lead Assessor Support Programme came in for us.
As part of an outward-looking approach to improvement, we wanted to provide some high-quality external CPD for our new Lead assessors team and we felt the Lead Assessor Support Programme would be a great fit so that every member of our team (9 Lead Assessors + 2 Curriculum Leads) would have the same shared understanding of the key principles and ideas we could then disseminate to departments and teachers. We then supplemented this further with our own internal CPD and QA process to establish this new role at Streetly. The flexibility of the course with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous elements was appealing as we knew our team would be fitting in training and work as Lead assessors in addition to their already demanding and varied roles. In selecting candidates for the role we offered the Lead Assessor role as a development opportunity and so required staff to apply (of course by completing an assessment) and in return for their support and time working with other colleagues we would provide the training opportunities offered by the CIEA.
Even early on in the course as detailed discussions around validity and the validity chain were taking place, staff were able to apply that learning to new assessments in design as part of our broader assessment reform and changes to our progress model. For perhaps the first time there was also a cultural shift from "data analysis" following our larger summative assessment windows to "assessment analysis" and really considering the methodology and efficacy of the assessments used. This naturally leads to quick and agile changes being made to implement on the next role of assessments and so on. Now when I reflect on the progress of departments across the centre many have moved rapidly through 2,3 maybe even 4 evolutions of their assessments to improve and refine them for all stakeholders.

The great advantage of completing the course as a team was we could continue and enrich the conversations triggered through the course content in the corridors and meetings on site. Diversity was important amongst our team in terms of the disciplines and subjects represented. The nature of the course enabled each member to apply their learning appropriately in their own context and subject which could then be further shared to the full breadth of subjects across the curriculum.

I would recommend the course as an excellent vehicle to enrich understanding of assessment theory. To hear and learn about the broad range of ways the principles of assessment are applied by many Chartered educational assessors to meet their needs across the sector is of excellent value.