Cutting some slack

My name is Jane and I’m an assessment geek. This year we have been reaping the rewards of having put together a ‘life after levels’ system last year, that we are really happy with. One thing I have been really chuffed with is the way that I have seen the assessment itself having a positive effect on student outcomes (ie their music). I mean I’ve talked about the assessment tail wagging the dog before, but not normally in a good way!

I may well write more about how the assessment has gone this year another time. What I wanted to add today was something about not assessing. Having spent the whole year assessing absolutely everything – albeit with a user-friendly system that has a positive impact on the students and the way they work – now it’s time to stop. 

Our exams are finished and the reports are (or just about to be) written. So, what the hell, we’re going to just do some music without giving a monkey’s chuck for the consequences. Some of what we are doing is new stuff that I’m trying out for next year’s schemes of work. Some of it is just fun. But what the hell. We are being musical and learning is happening – there are just no explicit learning objectives, or success criteria other than the fact that we all know a half-decent performance when we hear one. And we are all enjoying it and getting something from it. 

So, we’re having a holiday from assessing the backside off everything that moves. Teaching – without the teaching  stuff – all that ephemera (not just the assessment) that lessons are “supposed” to have. I’m really enjoying it – it feels like a holiday. 

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