Workload: Teachers spend longer administering tests than analysing the results

One in three say their pupils take at least seven tests per year, survey finds

Four in ten teachers say that they are spending more time on administrative tasks linked to pupil assessment than on interpreting and acting on the results of the tests.

An online poll found that 43 per cent of teachers said they spent longer administering assessment than going through the results, prompting concerns that schools were unnecessarily adding to teachers’ workloads by running too many tests.

On average, the teachers in the study said that their pupils took four tests or assessments per year. But 34 per cent said that their pupils took seven or more tests per year and 15 per cent said that their pupils took 10 or more.

Three-quarters of the respondents said that assessment data had highlighted issues that they had not previously been aware of, such as pupils who were coasting in class or had unidentified special educational needs, such as dyslexia.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT heads’ union, said: “Assessment needs to be robust, but it also needs to be insightful. Too often, we sacrifice one for the other.

“While it is good teaching that raises standards, good assessment helps to support better teaching. Data needs to be used to understand students’ needs rather than simply as a crude measure of whole-school performance or a proxy for classroom accountability.”

Daisy Christodoulou, research and development manager at ARK Schools, said: “Spending time ensuring our educational measurements are smart can help us work out what really works in the classroom, and ensure that no pupils are left behind.”

Greg Watson, chief executive of GL Assessment, which carried out the poll of 320 teachers, said: “Too much data is about control not improvement, too much of it is misused and far too much of it is pointless. As a consequence, an awful lot of the benefits of assessment are lost.”

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