APP in history: where are we now? Some key questions answered

The whole area of assessment in foundations subjects is problematic. Without any form of standardised national curriculum levels, we have to work out systems for ourselves. It is important that these are practical and easy to implement. I suggest that we look at two sources. One is the performance of pupils on a limited number of assessment tasks (See Tasks section) and the other is their general progress. Are they writing more relevant answers? Are they backing up what they say with evidence? Are they using more subject-specific vocabulary and temporal markers, such as dates or period descriptions?

The closest we got to a simple system was the proposed introduction of APP a few years ago. It ended up dead in the water but I include my comments on it below as they still reflect my views on assessment.

Q1. What is APP? An old idea with a new name?

A1. It is badged as the new national approach to assessment that equips teachers to:

• make periodic judgements on pupils’ progress,
• fine tune their understanding of learners’ needs, and
• tailor their planning and teaching accordingly

Comment: I would not call that ‘new’, would you? Aren’t we

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