KS3 Coordinator's use of Create A Test

11 February 2014
As teachers, we have to respond rapidly to the changes in the educational environment. When changes are made to the way students are assessed, it is incredibly important that those students are not adversely affected by the changes. This means responsive action by Heads of Department and Key Stage Coordinator across the country.

Ofsted’s focus is, as it should be, on the progress that students make, not just in an observed lesson, but over time. This necessitates a focus, on our parts, on the objective, reliable measurement of students’ attainment, through the most accurate summative assessment possible. Formative use of assessment is also an essential part of outstanding practice.

As a KS3 Coordinator for Mathematics, I am responsible for creating those assessments. This year, we made the decision to move from National Curriculum Levels to GCSE grades for years seven and eight. This meant revamping our assessments for those year groups, to more accurately assess our students against GCSE criteria.

It isn’t acceptable to test students on topics they haven’t covered in class, or to spend six lessons teaching a topic then fail to give them the chance to demonstrate their understanding in a test. As such, I set about looking for a way to create assessments that link perfectly to our Scheme of Work. We give formal summative assessments three times a year, and base our data reporting and set changes on these assessments. We use four different tests per year group, per assessment cycle, generally one calculator and one non-calculator paper. This meant that I had to create 48 perfectly graded tests, covering exactly and only the topics taught. The solution was createatest. Since first signing up to the site, I have worked closely with the team to help them create a bank of graded, high quality questions on every topic from the Maths curriculum. It has been quite a task and is still ongoing, but alongside the regenerating questions and the questions you build yourselves, they have helped to streamline the process of test creation.

As the tests I’ve created are rolled out, one of the main benefits we’ve noticed is that having noticed some minor errors on my part with the Autumn tests, the process of altering the questions has been very smooth. I’ve added extra questions for next year, as the top sets were completing the assessments too quickly. Since the site allows me to add and remove questions in seconds, with formatting and mark schemes automatically updated, what was once an onerous task has become much simpler.

It is my hope that the tests I’m creating with the help of Create A Test will form the basis of our assessments for years to come. Now that we have the foundations in place, we’ll be able to respond to changes in grading and curriculum, ensuring that our assessment is as cutting edge as possible. This should allow my department to assess more accurately and therefore do their jobs even better.

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