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Raising Standards Introduction


Assessment and inspection have vital roles in raising and maintaining standards of achievement in schools. Methods of assessment must be appropriate to different types of learning if they are to encourage and not inhibit the creative and cultural development of young people. In this section we discuss the need for assessment and identify a number of difficulties in current approaches. We argue that there is a need to restore a proper balance between different types of attainment target, and between the different forms of assessment that are needed. On this basis we make proposals for the development of assessment methods, and for related development in the national framework for school inspection.

The Need for Assessment 198.

Our consultations have revealed many concerns about the effects of current processes of national assessment on creative and cultural education. Assessment is the process of judging pupilsÕ progress and attainment. Reliable and systematic assessment is essential in all areas of the curriculum, to improve the quality of teaching and learning and to raise standards of achievement. This is as true of childrenÕs creative and cultural education as for all other areas of education. But how assessment is done must take account of what is being assessed. For many people, this is where the problem lies. As they see it, education is increasingly dominated by methods and criteria of assessment which, at best, take little account of creative teaching and learning, and which, at worst, militate directly against them.


The problem for creative and cultural education is not the need for assessment, but the nature of it. In principle, assessment should support children's learning and report on their achievements. In practice, the process of assessment itself can determine the priorities of education in general. Our consultations suggest four related problems: first, a growing emphasis on summative assessment; second, the related emphasis on measurable outcomes; third, the difficulties of assessing creativity; fourth, the growing pressures of national assessment on teachers and schools. Each of these need to be addressed if national assessment is to support rather than inhibit creative and cultural education.

The present assessment arrangements need to be scrutinised to determine the extent to which they support the teaching of science as a creative and imaginative activity. There is a growing body of evidence, for example, that the teacher-conducted assessment of Ôscientific investigationsÕ at Key Stage 4 reduces science to little more than an algorithmic variable-handling exercise.

Raising Standards

NACCCE report

Professor Edgar Jenkins


ken robinson et al 1999_all our futures  
ken robinson et al 1999_all our futures  

All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education Report to the Secretary of State for Education and Employment the Secretary of State for...