At my local primary school, we've been using a new primary assessment tool to assess children's work. The system, called TAP Assess, has given the children more ownership over their learning in the six months that its been in place. Not only does it allow teachers to assess children's achievement and progress, but it also allows children to assess too, against the 2014 primary curriculum. Furthermore, the children can also set their own targets for literacy and maths, and receive certificate rewards when they hit certain milestones.

TAP Assess is a cloud based assessment tool for both teachers and pupils - this is great because it means that the staff, children and parents can access it at home too. It was created for teachers by teachers to make assessment simple and accurate, and to involve pupils in their own assessment. We were chosen as a trial school for the system and have been really impressed how it has focused the children's learning.

Dashboard

Above is the dashboard that teachers see when logging in. It shows the percentage of pupils who have either met or have partially met the learning objective for each year group across the school for the current cohort.

Teacher Assessment

Formative assessment is made by teachers either during the lesson, whilst marking or following a formal assessment. Teachers choose the group of children that they are working with, the year group objectives that they are working to and the subject.

They then simply click on the objective and a dialogue box appears as follows:

The teacher clicks on each child (or selects a group) to say whether they have achieved the objective or partially achieved it. Assessment can also be done individually, for a particular child:

Pupils can be assessed at home or school and entered directly into the cloud based service. Assessment can be done on a tablet device, a laptop or a desktop. I choose to assess in the lesson, identifying immediately where each child is at, as the assessment data is updated in real time.

Pupil Assessment

At the same time, pupils assess their own learning. They indicate how secure they are with a particular learning objective by using the same cloud based service as the teachers. They look at the objectives and determine whether they are secure (green), working towards (orange) or need help (red) with the objective. They see the teacher's assessment of them as the bar colour and their own assessment as a star.

Also, when pupils log in they are presented with a dashboard. Pupils are awarded stars when both they and the teacher think they are secure with a learning objective. Pupils accumulate stars during the year and the totals are visible in their dashboards along with how many they need to collect before achieving all of the year group objectives. Their targets are taken from the objectives that the children have flagged as red and they are visible for them to see whenever they log in. This has meant we don't have to stick targets in books which is great!

There is also an option to run a pupil leaderboard for the core subjects. We don't currently use this but are thinking of implementing it in the future.

Pupils are automatically rewarded with certificates when they hit certain milestones (bronze for 25% of year group targets, silver 50%, gold 75% and platinum for 100%). We let the children print the certificates out when they've achieved them at school which they're always excited about. Our school also made the decision to give a prize for the first child to receive a platinum certificate. So there are many incentives in place with the system.

The children go on TAP Assess for around 10 minutes a day to reflect on their learning for the day. We find this works best for us as its fresh in their minds. Some teachers put the learning objectives that we've covered during the day on a whiteboard for the children to see clearly - some guide the children through it.

Reporting

Reporting is in place for pupil achievement against current year group objectives. The first report shows a snapshot of a year group against literacy or maths objectives. (The coloured dots next to each child identify SEN, EAL, free school meal, pupil premium and ethnicity respectively.)

The next report shows objectives achieved by a particular year group. By clicking on an objective, you can see which children need extra work and these children become the focus group for the next lesson. As a teacher, I find this one of the most powerful things about the system as it identifies, for each lesson, who I need to focus on.

As we've only been running this system for less than a year, we don't have reporting for pupil progress through the school year. I believe that this is something that the developers are working on. (Just in case you're wondering, they've given permission to use the screen shots as they're from a demo school.)

Summing up

The children and staff (and parents) have really taken to TAP Assess. Its straightforward to use and identifies exactly where each child is with their learning. Children's achievement can be viewed anywhere by anyone with the correct priviledges, including SLT, staff, pupils and importantly parents. I found that parent's evening consultations focused on individual targets as the parents had already been keeping track of their children's progress at home. The system has changed the way that learning is perceived by the children and the level of transparency that it provides can only be a good thing.


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Gary Hall Gary Hall is based in East Yorkshire, England, and has a background in education, marketing and technology. This site is a collection of ideas and resources on these topics.