One of the key actions outlined in Education in Wales: Our national mission, Action plan 2017–21 (2017) is to develop a coherent Assessment and Evaluation Framework which fully supports the realisation of the four purposes of the curriculum. The framework, which will be set out in legislation and statutory guidance, will be made up of two elements:
- assessment arrangements for Wales – which will set out the new assessment arrangements and explain what schools should consider when planning and undertaking assessment
- evaluation and improvement arrangements for Wales – which will set out the new accountability arrangements and which aim to enable the realisation of the new curriculum.
In achieving this, the framework will clearly distinguish between those activities whose place lies in learning and teaching and those that will contribute to self‑evaluation, external accountability and national monitoring.
Key to developing both elements is changing the current situation where learner assessment information is seen as high-stakes as a result of its use for accountability purposes. One of the fundamental principles of the new framework is that it should have a positive impact on both learning and teaching within an educational system which places learner progression at the centre. As such, while schools may look to use teacher assessment to inform their own self-evaluation, assessment information will not be used for accountability purposes. The Welsh Government may still gather assessment information, but this will only be to inform policy at the national level.
The assessment arrangements and the evaluation and improvement arrangements, which make up the Assessment and Evaluation Framework, will be published in January 2020 and, subject to the legislative process, will come in to effect in September 2022.
Assessment is integral to supporting learning and teaching. It is how we recognise and support progress for all of our learners – by identifying their strengths, achievements, areas for improvement and, importantly, their next steps.
Our proposals for assessment outline high-level principles and provide a broad direction at a national level, while ensuring flexibility for settings and schools to plan and undertake assessment appropriately to support their curricula at a local level.
The proposals outlined in the assessment proposals document, along with your feedback, will form the basis of statutory guidance which will support schools in putting the new assessment arrangements into practice. Schools will have to have regard to this when developing and delivering assessment in the new curriculum. Detailed support and guidance, including professional learning opportunities, will also be made available in order to support their implementation.
These proposals have been developed in response to recommendations 35 to 53 made in Successful Futures: Independent Review of Curriculum and Assessment Arrangements in Wales (2015) which directly relate to assessment.
For assessment of learners with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), please see the Routes for Learning Routemap.
Evaluation and improvement arrangements
We are developing new evaluation and improvement arrangements to replace parts of the current education accountability system. These new arrangements will help bring about the cultural change needed to support the implementation and realisation of the new curriculum.
At the heart of the new arrangements is robust and continuous self-evaluation for all tiers of the education system, along with professional dialogue to support learning and improvement, embed collaboration, build trust, drive self-improvement, and raise standards for all our learners.
The arrangements are based on the following four key principles. They will be:
- fair – they will promote equity, inclusion, choice, individual pathways to learning and never losing sight of the learner
- coherent – allowing each part of the system to work together without overlapping, with clear roles and responsibilities
- proportionate – ensuring that the implementation of the new arrangements and process is manageable and makes a difference; they will be underpinned by the principle of subsidiarity, allowing responsibility for accountability for schools to be local, led by self-aware schools
- transparent – recognising the breadth of learning experience across schools and the value added by teachers in class.
We published our draft proposals for evaluation and improvement arrangements in February 2019 as the starting point for discussion and development. More information will be made available over 2019 as we develop the arrangements further.