Why assess learners at all? Well one of the main reasons behind carrying out assessments is to identify the amount of progress that learners have made within a given period of time. However, we can only make those judgements when we know the learners starting position to begin with. Therefore, it is important to begin the academic period with a baseline test. There are several tools that already exist, including ones produced by NAACE/TLM, Hodder and Progression Pathways. Refer to the Further Guidance section for a list of options; but remember it is important to choose a model that meets the needs of your learners and your school best. When deciding on your model, you may want to take the following into account:

  • Focus on continuous learning and assessment

  • Accept that your assessment tools may need to accommodate learners providing evidence using a range of methods

  • Use the data provided from the assessments to inform future planning and progress of computing and computational thinking.

We all know that learners respond positively to rewards. However, in life after levels what’s the best way to report assessment results? There is no hard and fast rule for this. It is up to you to use your expertise to research the existing tools available and speak to you colleagues about what will work best for your school environment. The NAACE/TLM, Mozilla Digital Badges and Progression Pathways tools all provide opportunities for reporting and rewarding learners. You may wish to adopt one of these measures or customise and design your own. Whatever you choose to do, the important thing to remember is that it must work effectively to meet the needs of your learners. During school inspections OfSTED have recognised that schools will still be working towards the full implementation of their preferred approach. They will expect to see the school’s journey towards this.

Assessment in KS3 will be used to inform appropriate routes through KS4. KS4 has its own set of issues because there is choice whereas KS1 to KS3 is mandatory for learners. The KS4 programme of study is a lot less comprehensively specified and while there appears to have been some confusion over its requirements it is worth nothing that it does not say that all learners have to do GCSE Computer Science. However, the implication is that if they don’t, there should be some elements in the rest of their learning that supports, reinforces or builds on what they have learnt in the KS3 Programmes of Study. This causes an immediate problem because not all learners take the same subjects. Refer to the ‘Planning’ section for further guidance on Key Stage 4 provision.