Primary Education: Assessing and Planning Learning

Primary Education: Assessing and Planning Learning

Primary Education: Assessing and Planning Learning

Primary Education: Assessing and Planning Learning


This book draws together recently published and specially commissioned articles to explore some of the issues at the heart of assessing and planning learning in primary schools.


The approach of the millennium is providing the teaching profession with the somewhat artificial, but nevertheless powerful stimulus to consider and create agendas for the future within primary education; these include agendas for curriculum and assessment.

Around the world, education systems are placing greater emphasis on the redefinition of the school curriculum for primary-aged children. As the curriculum is redefined to reflect and to foster change in the wider social and economic context in which primary schools exist, teachers are faced with how to plan the total learning environment, and how to assess children’s learning within it. Policy-level changes have been introduced in many countries. Some are represented to a degree in this book: mainly Australia, Canada, the uk, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States, with some reference to others.

Many aspects of the policy development in each country have become part of public discourse, although in each country different aspects have been perceived as significant. For example, in England and Wales there has been public debate about appropriate uses of outcomes of summative assessment; and questions raised about the extent to which publication of raw assessment outcomes tell us anything about the quality of a school. the debate includes attempts to define what makes a school ‘effective’, and has raised questions both within and without the teaching profession, and in education more generally, of how to define quality. Teachers, policy-makers, parents, governors, business people and members of the wider community are all engaged in the continuous debate about how ‘standards’ of achievement are defined, and how to ‘raise’ them.

On the other hand, to take another example, in Spain the reforms in curriculum and assessment have led to discussions within the profession only, without wider public debate. the issues which are most pressing are first how to relate teachers’ initial teacher training (currently undertaken by universities, and involving a transmission model of teaching, learning and assessment) to the demands of the reformed curriculum and its assessment. Teachers are not well prepared in their initial training for the demands of a new, politically imposed curriculum which has at its core a constructivist

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