Assessment Exercising professional judgment
The introduction of the National Curriculum has unfortunately blurred the distinction between assessment and record-keeping. Much of the political debate about these two important processes has sought to underemphasise, even to undermine the teacher’s professional role. Assessment has been recast, especially by politicians, primarily as record-keeping. This has made it possible to marginalise the role of the teacher in the assessment process. Instead of assessment being seen as the exercising of professional judgment, what has been promoted are ‘scientific’ claims about the objectivity and ‘appropriateness’ of SATs results. There is a danger that assessment will be seen only as recordkeeping. In such a climate, teacher assessment, both in its dayto-day, formative and informal roles, and in its more formal, summative, end of year and end of Key Stage role, is in danger of becoming the collection of numbers and the writing of reports. Thus one important aspect of teachers’ professionalism is in danger of being marginalised. Instead of assessment as a professional responsibility, attempts have been made to recast assessment as mainly a bureaucratic process. It has been redefined by politicians in order to associate it with a supposed end-point of education, of assessing children’s achievement.