Assess Like a Consultant Doctor: Chapter 8 preview from Wholesome Leadership

As part of this series of short posts to introduce my book, Wholesome Leadership, today I’m sharing a preview of Chapter 8:  ‘Assessing Like a Consultant Doctor’.

Wholesome Leadership is now on sale for pre-order and will be published around the 22nd of May 2018. You can read some of the early reviews or find out how to order here – 

This chapter sits in the second section of the book which is focused on the ‘head’ of leadership, part of the H4 Leadership Model which captures the heart, head, hands and health of school leaders. It follows on from previous posts I’ve written including Chapter 6 – ‘Strategic School Improvement & Research’ and Chapter 7 – Healthy Accountability‘.

H4 Leadership Model: ‘The Heart, Head, Hands & Health of School Leadership…

Assessment has become a primary culprit in the ongoing challenges of teacher wellbeing, recruitment and retention. Workload in this area has spiralled out of control – particularly in areas such as marking, data inputting and evidence gathering. Alongside this, a lack of clarity around national assessment since the removal of levels and increased accountability pressure on schools to achieve in performance tables have combined to create the perfect storm.

Within the chapter, I share some of the challenges that are faced by schools in this area, suggest 10 steps to ‘sorting out summative assessment’ and talk about how we can reduce workload through revising approaches to marking and feedback. The analogy of a ‘consultant doctor’ is used to suggest how we can use assessment in a more manageable and meaningful way within schools.

Assessing like a consultant doctor

One of the perks of having a child with a disability and a complicated medical history is that you get to see the expertise of consultant doctors up close.  I have immense respect for everyone in the medical profession, but some of the specialists who have worked with Freddie have been class acts. One of the things that strikes me about these doctors is how they look beyond the obvious and avoid drawing quick conclusions. Rather than making decisions based on limited information, the most skilled and experienced doctors will examine a range of information about a patient as part of their assessment, including blood tests, scans, examinations in clinic, patient history and referrals from other medical professionals. Similarly, the most effective teachers and leaders understand the limitations of any particular test or assessment and can use their experience and expertise to interpret them wisely. And just as careful and intelligent consideration of patient information can lead to an accurate diagnosis and the prescription of helpful treatment, meaningful assessment can lead to greater understanding of gaps in learning and effective tailored teaching and intervention.

Within the chapter, I interview Daisy Christodoulou (Director of No More Marking and author of Making Good Progress and the 7 Myths of Education‘.  who kindly gives up time to offer her expertise about the challenges that remain in schools to adapt to a life without assessment levels.

Here is a summary of the chapter in one page…

Wholesome Leadership is now on sale for pre-order and will be published around the 22nd of May 2018. You can read some of the early reviews or find out how to order here – !

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