Half-Term Assessment Advice

With the end of the half-term approaching, many teachers will be looking onward to a form of summative assessment before the October break. In a new school or new role, this can be confusing, so we’ve compiled some advice for conducting your half-term assessments.

Plan Ahead

Get organised. Planning out lessons moving forward is key and you’ll need to be asking yourself these questions:

  • What is the assessment? How much lesson time does it need to be completed?
  • What content and skills does the assessment cover? Have you covered all of the content? If not, what have you got left to deliver?
  • When is there going to be revision?
  • When is it going to be marked?
  • When are students going to receive and respond to feedback?

It is worth looking at your timetable and identifying the number of lessons available before the half-term holiday so that you can establish the aims of each lesson with the above questions in mind.

Time for Revision

If you have time for a revision lesson make sure it is planned. We have observed many lessons not go to plan when the aim was to ‘Make a poster’, ‘Make a mind map’ or just ‘Revise’. Students (especially younger year groups or those just starting their GCSEs) do not necessarily know how to revise efficiently, so be prepared to teach them revision techniques.

Check out these previous blogs for some revision ideas:

Whether you have enough lesson time to devote to revision or not, providing students with Personal Learning Checklists (PLCs) is key for them to ‘know what they need to know’ for the assessment. They provide a good structure for any revision lessons and enable both the students and their parents/guardians to identify key areas for revision and monitor subsequent progress.

Marking and feedback

Now that you know when the assessment is taking place and that you’ve done everything to ensure students will achieve as well as possible – it’s time to think about marking…

  • Look at your calendar again to identify time frames. If there is a data deadline – when?
  • Can some of the marking be done as peer-assessment during lesson time?
  • Think very carefully about spacing out assessments – you don’t want 120 Year 8 tests to mark all at once!
  • Factor in time for recording results as well.
  • Take care of yourself. Don’t spend your entire half-term holiday marking!

Finally, you’ll need to show that your marking of the assessments promotes progress. There’s no point in spending hours marking a test for students to just get a grade back and to put a percentage in your mark book. When are students responding to feedback? How are students improving their grade? Try having a conversation with your colleagues about how assessments are marked and responded to. There may be a way to streamline the process and use self- or peer-assessment to promote student ownership of progress and familiarity with mark schemes.

We love to hear from you so if you would like further advice on the above or have a suggestion for a future topic, please email –training@prosperoteaching.com