The importance of meaningful assessment

Patrick Mainprize

Patrick Mainprize, Education Lead at EducationCity, a leading teaching, learning and assessment resource, ideal for children aged 3-12 years. Its engaging and interactive activities are aligned to all major curricula, and cover English, Mathematics, Science, Computing, French, Spanish and English as an additional language. It can be accessed anytime, anywhere on interactive whiteboards, desktop computers, laptops and tablets. Its time-saving teaching resources let school staff plan in advance, give students differentiated support and assess progress.

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The current education system in England has found itself under increasing scrutiny for the one-size-fits-all nature it has adopted, with many believing the focus on rigid testing is having a detrimental effect on students’ wellbeing and progress in schools. This has culminated in Ofsted shifting its focus on assessment in the new inspection framework to introduce a more personalised, balanced and inclusive approach that prioritises ‘intent, implementation and impact’. 

This is a positive step towards meaningful assessment; a concept that strives for assessments that focus on the student developing academically and gaining real skills. This is different to learning to recite set content and allows teachers to effectively assess whether their students are improving and if not, where the areas for improvement lie. 

What is ‘Intent, Implementation and Impact’?

Intent focuses on the aims of education. Ofsted wishes to move away from creating a ‘conveyor belt’ style education where tests form the key purpose. Instead, they emphasise the importance of asking ‘what do we want to achieve?’. Schools must therefore demonstrate a varied curriculum that displays their commitment to providing an enriching educational programme that will benefit learners academically; not simply teach students how to pass the next test.

Implementation aims to expand this by ensuring that the curriculum is providing the broader content required. This means providing just as much focus on other subjects, as it does for core ones, and offering a wider curriculum that focuses on overall enrichment; requiring focus on the process of learning rather than just the outcomes. 

Finally, impact considers how effective these new methods are at engaging young people in learning by assessing whether they have developed their knowledge and skills, and whether they are interested in their studies, creating a far more holistic approach than previously.


How can we achieve this?

As with the delivery of most educational approaches, its success relies upon teachers being at the helm when deciding what form of assessment is right for their class. By incorporating a blend of formative, summative and unit assessments, and by employing a more personalised approach, teachers can track areas students need to work on and set tasks accordingly.  

This can, of course, be difficult, especially given the stretching workloads many teachers already face. However, by utilising online resources such as EducationCity, which now provides over 90 Assessments across English, maths and science, which are automatically marked, generate corrections and revision pathways for each child based on their specific answers, pressure can be alleviated. Teachers can decide which assessments are right for their class, set them accordingly and use the curriculum-correlated content within the revision pathways to address the areas that students need to develop.

Education is about setting young people up with the very best start to life and a vital part of this is meaningful assessment; stepping away from the one-size-fits-all model will ensure each student can achieve their very best. 

For more information or to take a free trial for your school, please visit

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