“I would recommend Assessment Essentials to every teacher!”
In this post, we chat to Nikki Booth, Assessment Advisor at Wolgarston High School, about his experiences working through our Assessment Essentials course.
Nikki Booth, Assessment Advisor at Wolgarston High School, has taken a particular interest in educational assessment ever since the removal of National Curriculum Levels in 2015. With schools being advised to create their own assessment procedures, this was a great opportunity to find out what great assessment practice could look like. That said, because levels had provided the framework for what schools had done for so long, it was tough to know where to start.
During a Twitter search, Nikki came across Evidence Based Education’s Assessment Essentials course, and felt this programme of training may provide some of the answers he sought.
WHY EVIDENCE BASED EDUCATION?
When we asked Nikki why EBE – and Assessment Essentials in particular – met his needs, he particularly cited our approach. He appreciated our understanding of the pressures faced by busy teachers and school leaders, and the fact that we structure our teacher professional development programmes around this, rather than trying to reshape school timetables and plans to fit our training:
I had spent a long time looking at other training providers, however they all seemed too complicated and time-consuming. What I needed was a course specifically designed with the busy teacher in mind.
Once he had made the decision to sign up to Assessment Essentials, we then wanted to hear a little bit about Nikki’s experience of the course. How did he find the content and platform? What were the most helpful aspects?
I found the Assessment Essentials experience extremely positive. The course clearly broke down key up-to-date assessment literature in a way that can be easily understood. Furthermore, it was presented in such a way that it presented the key aspects, rather than having to read a full research paper! Some of the topics I found interesting included: using retrieval practice for regular assessment, validity and reliability and, even more importantly, how assessment can be used for effective impact on a day-to-day basis.
For me, the ability to develop my own understanding of assessment in short bite-sized chunks, over ten weeks, was exactly what I was looking for! The content was highly manageable, even alongside my busy workload (I ringfenced an hour on a Saturday morning), and I particularly enjoyed hearing the views of a wide range of different respected experts in the field – even when there were differences in their opinions. This meant that I had to reflect on my own views and decide where I stood in the discussion.
In addition to developing my understanding, I also valued having ‘collaborative conversations’ (recommended throughout the course) which meant that I could talk about the important issues raised with my colleagues. This meant that, although I was doing my own professional development, it was also an opportunity for it be become socialised and disseminated. This had a real impact on me, particularly when other colleagues were asking me about what I had found out from another week of ‘study’.
And, perhaps most importantly, how has it begun to change his practice back in school?
There is no doubt that signing up to Assessment Essentials has had a positive impact on my day-to-day teaching. I believe that I am making better assessment-related decisions in my lessons and has since resulted in me taking a lead role in assessment in my school. In short, I would recommend this course to every teacher!