27th July 2021

DBS Assessment: Assess, Reflect, Improve

By Andy Walles (Associate Assistant Headteacher)

We are introducing a new assessment procedure at DBS for the Academic Year 2021-2022. We want to move away from a conventional assessment approach, testing recall and knowledge of a topic that has just finished, towards a more holistic skills-based approach. Through the increased use of synoptic assessment, as championed by Dylan William and Tom Sherrington, we are aiming to bring a more cumulative, building-block approach to subjects for our students. We want our students to be able to link different parts of different topics, or even subjects, with ease. This is an approach that is a regular feature in IB exams, and some aspects of IGCSE exams. Allowing students to access synoptic, skills-based learning through our assessments, will improve their abilities at creating these links.

This will allow us to move away from assessing students at the end of terms in big blocks of exams and further move away from assessing students just to get a grade to put on a report. It will allow us to focus on increasing enjoyment and engagement with a subject as a whole, assessing the students’ capabilities accurately, across a range of topic areas at once. With our new progression maps, teacher feedback and skills-based learning, our students will be able to reflect on their ability within key skills in each subject, and know exactly the level at which they are working, and how to move onto the next level and beyond.

It is an exciting time for our students and our teachers, as we focus on a holistic view of our wide-ranging subjects. We are eagerly anticipating the improvements we are expecting from this movement.