S2&6: Summative assessment (end of unit)

Today, the children completed a Maths assessment at the end of a two-week unit on multiplication and division. This was a unit which I had planned and taught entirely by myself, so I was very nervous as to how the children would do, and whether they would be able to evidence their progress to the expected standard as a result of my teaching (S2 – Be accountable for pupils attainment, progress and outcomes).

I had previously had a chance to see how the children had performed in a maths test last term, and over the course of the last few weeks here at my second school, I felt that I had been able to get to know the children well and had a good idea of their confidence and capabilities in maths before I started to teach them. (S2 – Has a good understanding of the pupils’ capabilities and their prior knowledge and uses this to ensure expected progress)

Over the course of the last 2 weeks of teaching this unit, I have been able to observe their progress through formative assessment and was confident that they were at least making some progress in motivation and applying themselves to their work (S2 – Encourages pupils to take a responsible and conscientious attitude to their own work and study).  I had definitely observed real progress from some pupils in particular  in their understanding of the methods we had been practicing. However, I still questioned the value of my own judgements, and I was concerned that in the test, they would struggle to apply the techniques that we had been learning in the classroom to a ‘cold’ situation without adult support.

Nonetheless I was really pleased with most of their results, with 70% of the children scoring at least 75% or higher, and 90% scoring 50% or above. This was beyond what I had expected of them, as some of the questions were in line with or more challenging than the problems we had encountered as a class.  I was really proud of how well they did, even though looking at the mistakes they made, I know some of the children could have done even better! (S2 – Be accountable for pupils attainment, progress and outcomes). This was an enormous boost to my own confidence that I have what it takes to succeed in this course, and as a teacher.

I made time the next day to discuss their results with each child individually, and guide them to reflect on how well they did and what they could do to improve (S2 – Is able to guide pupils to reflect on the progress they have made and their emerging needs). This led to some interesting realisations, such as coming to know which pupils were not checking their answers carefully, which misconceptions children were having, and who just found the very idea of taking a test extremely nerve-wracking. This will be very useful in informing my planning for the next unit.

This experience has shown me that despite my own lack of confidence in this area,  I can be accountable for pupil progress and outcomes, and help motivate and inspire them to achieve these (S2 – Is accountable for pupils’ attainment, progress and outcomes). I needn’t doubt myself so much that I can achieve this, and focus instead on guaranteeing that I do.

However, I wish that I had thought to find an opportunity to observe how these children handle being put in test conditions prior to conducting this assessment. This would have highlighted several issues from some of the underperforming pupils where I do not feel they have shown the best they are capable of (as demonstrated from formative assessments of their written work and in-class conversations).  Knowing their individual needs in this area better could have better helped me to encourage and support them within the bounds of the assessment (S2 -Has a good understanding of the pupils’ capabilities and their prior knowledge and uses this to ensure expected progress). For example, I could have reminded and encouraged some children in particular to check and re-check their answers until the end of the time limit, or modelled this more effectively before the start of the assessment. I also could have found ways to diffuse the pressure on some of the children that the word ‘test’ can invoke, as this may have knocked the confidence of some children before the test even began, limiting their potential to succeed; I didn’t need to assess their ability to work in test conditions at this time!

Finally,  it is also worth considering the value of the assessments I have made. After a few days reflecting on these results I have given thought to how well the test I conducted gives evidence for and links up with the relevant objectives for multiplication and division from the National Curriculum.

According to the NC:

Pupils should be taught to:


  • Recall and use multiplication and division facts for the 3, 4 and 8 multiplication tables
  • Write and calculate mathematical statements for multiplication and division using the multiplication tables that they know, including for two-digit numbers times one-digit numbers, using mental and progressing to formal written methods  
  • Solve problems, including missing number problems, involving multiplication and division, including positive integer scaling problems and correspondence problems in which n objects are connected to m objects.’


I feel that although an argument could be made for them to be making progress towards these objectives,  but I have come to realise that I still don’t know enough about assessment to make this judgement effectively. I don’t know enough about how to judge whether these objectives have been met. Just having a certain test score doesn’t mean that these children are at the expected standard, although it may contribute towards this. I have instead simply show that most of them have succeeded in MY unit and MY objectives, and not how these link with the national curriculum. (S6 – Knows and understands how to assess the relevant subject and curriculum areas, including statutory assessment requirements)

I hope with more experience I will be able to make these connections, and understand how the assessments I am doing can be used to show pupil progress is being made to the expected standard. (S2 – Can assess pupils’ achievement and plan and teach lessons that enable pupils, including those who are disabled and those who have special educational needs, to make at least expected progress.)

Focused next steps:

On return to main school placement, seek mentor advice for how to plan assessment opportunities into my medium term planning. (S6) This will in turn help me to ensure and prove that my pupils are making expected progress (S2).

Look up the national guidelines for assessment and reflect on my findings. (S6)