The final report from the Commission on Assessment without Levels has endorsed the approach embodied by the NCETM’s recently published free materials to help teachers assess pupils’ mastery of mathematical concepts.
The commission, consisting of headteachers, teachers and other education experts, was asked by the Department for Education (DfE) to make recommendations on how schools and teachers should approach the task of ongoing assessment now that levels have been removed from the national curriculum.
Prominent in a long report is a section extolling the concept of teaching for mastery, and noting that assessment methods aligned with such teaching are already taking root in mathematics lessons in some schools.
The Commission, which took evidence from the NCETM’s Director for Primary, Debbie Morgan, included this paragraph at the end of the section on mastery:
In mathematics lessons, teachers can assess mastery through formative questions that focus on the different aspects of the concept being assessed. The questions can be used to uncover a pupil’s reasoning behind the answers. It can sometimes be helpful for teachers to focus on the wrong answers, which can be used to explore the concept in greater depth and to identify and address any misconceptions.
The NCETM’s assessment materials, written by Debbie Morgan and a small team of teachers and experts, working through the Maths Hubs programme, help teachers follow exactly this approach.
Split into six separate sections, one for each primary Year Group, the materials consist of questions, tasks and activities mapped against key national curriculum topics.