Before teachers are awarded qualified status, they should be tested on how to assess their pupils, says a think tank.

The findings from LKMco reveal that most teachers admit they were not taught when teacher training how to carry out an assessment of their pupils effectively which has led to many suffering with poor confidence in this area.

From their survey, just one in three of 1,000 teachers questioned said they are ‘very confident’ about assessment and one in five said they did not know where to go for help and information should they need it.

One of the report’s co-authors, Will Millard, said the lack of confidence among so many teachers is a ‘deeply worrying’ situation since assessment is a crucial part of a teacher’s job.

Mr Willard said: “The revelation that only a third of teachers feel very confident when undertaking assessment is deeply worrying, though I sympathise fully. Despite having been a teacher, I learned a huge amount undertaking this research and I’ve come to realise that assessment is as important as it is technical.”

Give teachers free access to online training and high quality assessment

Now he’s calling for the Department for Education to create a resource that would give free access to online training and high quality assessment through universities and assessment organisations.

Mr Willard said: “A central assessment bank will give greater access to online and in-person training and make a real difference for classroom practitioners and improve pedagogy and confidence in our schools.”

The report highlights that trainee teachers should ‘pass an assessment test when their training ends before qualifying’.

The report makes clear that such a move would show trainees they can ‘draw appropriate inferences’ from various pieces of evidence.

Schools should ensure their teaching staff do not waste time marking end of term tests and focus instead on a formative process to help understand what their pupils have learned in lessons.

Teachers should not be evaluated on their pupils’ grades

In addition, the report also highlights that teachers should not be evaluated on their pupils’ grades and there should be a ‘complete decoupling’ of test results from a teacher’s formal performance evaluation.

This would, the report writers say, remove ‘unnecessary stress’ that a statutory assessment brings to teachers and pupils.

The report points to a change in assessments which should cover verbal feedback during lessons, comparative assessments to gauge a pupil’s performance against their peers, classroom tests as well as statutory exams and tests.

Loic Menzies, a director of LKMco, said: “I have assessed dozens of teachers over the years and while newly qualified teachers should not be expected to have learned everything after a year training, there is crucial content every qualified teacher should know including key principles of safeguarding, curriculum and assessment.”

More information

The report from LKMco, ‘Testing the Water’, has been published on the Pearson website.