School Improvement: Question of the Month: September

Are levels of challenge based on accurate assessments by teachers of the needs and abilities of their pupils and pupil groups?

The quality and use of teachers’ own assessments and internal school test results must be at the centre when monitoring the quality of teaching by leaders. The professional knowledge used by so many teachers when matching the planned tasks and activities appropriately to the skills and abilities of pupils is a source of satisfaction as they experience the regular progress made by them. Matching levels of challenge to ensure this progress has many integrated elements, particularly when planning individual lessons or a series of lessons.    

This question also has links with our newsletter this month and is at the core of good and better teaching. While the needs of different groups is quite rightly the focus for teachers when planning, often the best assessment of successful challenges during lessons is during the lesson itself. The ability to monitor the success of assessment starts during the introduction to the planned lesson and continues during the observations of learning. Here are some other thoughts around aspects of this question to stimulate debate:

  • Are teachers able to regularly share their assessments with subject or phase leaders?
  • How do leaders assess the level of challenge in different classrooms?
  • Does your school recognise a need for balancing challenge and the opportunity to consolidate success?
  • Does you school promote the appropriate analysis of test results to identify particular skills over time?
  • Are there strategies to support teachers to develop their skills, knowledge and use of their assessments and tests?
  • How do leaders know the level of challenge in different subjects?

While I have been privileged to see many exciting and successful examples of levels of challenge being adapted during lessons, the confidence and ability to use and adapt planning during learning, needs to be seen as a strength, by both leaders and teachers themselves.

John Croghan M.Ed. BA. Cert.Ed.

If you would like to speak to John please email john.croghan@evaluate-ed.com.

Content Development and Monitoring

John Croghan M.Ed. BA. CertEd. has over 50 years of experience in education, as a teacher, leading learning in classrooms from EYFS to Y11, as well as a leader and primary headteacher.  He enjoyed his role supporting Every Child Matters in schools and has advised and supported schools across the West Midlands, as well as leading OFSTED inspections.   He is currently a school consultant, mentor, and governor. 

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