Published on: 03 Jan 2017

Talk to the children and tell them that this is nothing to worry about

Top assessment tips for teachers

In our first guest blog of 2017, Alfie Hawes (aged 9) provides an insight into assessment from a child’s eyes. Here, he provides some top tips for teachers as they approach assessment at the start of the new year.

My mum is not a normal teacher (but she does do some ‘crazy’ things like finding unusual and magical ways to get the children interested in what she needs them to learn). By not normal I mean she isn’t like the usual teachers who work in one class in one school. She visits lots of different schools to work with lots of different children and their teachers. Her job is to find out how they best learn things or what is making it difficult for them to learn. This means that she goes to work with lots of bags and boxes that I have to help put in the car. The bags and boxes are full of assessments for maths, reading, spelling, language and lots of other things.

My mum does assessments at work and I have to do assessments too in my school and with the other people that help me. As well as with the teachers at my school, I have completed assessments with my Occupational Therapist, my Physiotherapist and an Educational Psychologist. I don’t mind doing them because they can be made fun and they help me in the long term to get the help that I need and want. However some children do mind doing assessments because they find them really tricky and stressful so, because of that reason they may not want to do assessments, and can find them upsetting. As I have done so many I have five top tips for teachers to make assessments as ‘okay’ as possible for children:

  1. Talk to the children and tell them that this is nothing to worry about and that not only will the assessments help them, they will make you a better teacher. You will be a better teacher because your assessments will help you to know what they need to learn next and how to best teach it. This means that the children will achieve more. That’s a good thing!


  1. It is helpful if the child knows what sort of answer to give or how they should answer the question. Some assessments have a practice item at the start. These are really important to do as it stops the child feeling nervous as they will know what to expect and gives them clues as to what the teacher is looking for.


  1. Do not say that these assessments are not important and it doesn’t matter what score you get. Instead I think that it is more helpful to say that the assessments are important as they will help you to help the child have the best possible future.


  1. Give lots of praise but not for the result. Praise the child’s effort and attitude in the assessment as that will inspire the children to try their best in future assessments.


  1. You should always try to let the children know how they have got on in their assessment. Try to be positive when you do this so the child is not depressed if they haven’t done well and show them what their personal best is. They will then want to beat their own best as it will be a personal achievement.

I hope my top tips have helped you become a better teacher (I bet you are brilliant already) and have also had a positive impact on the children you work with. We children understand that assessments are important and we will always do better in them if we have a smile on our faces.

Alfie Hawes

Age 9

Five tips to help your students to become better learners

The importance of developing children's skills of self-regulation, and shares her strategies for how to do this

The middle child: Analysing data in an EAL context

The importance of maintaining a focus on literacy within the curriculum has never been far away from the government’s agenda and anyone working within education would agree that developing strong literacy skills are key to a student’s success, particularly as external examinations consist of written papers.

Changing behaviour: A big ask?, Dr Glen Williams

With over 20% of teachers considering leaving the profession with worsening student behaviour as a main reason, Dr Glen Williams examines how surveying pupils' attitudes can help improve behaviour in schools

GL Assessment launches the UK’s first digital, adaptive spelling test

GL Assessment has today published a termly, standardised spelling test which is designed to help teachers measure their pupils’ spelling skills against a national benchmark. The first digital, adaptive spelling test of its kind, the New Group Spelling Test is designed for pupils aged 6 – 14 years and is suitable for use on a PC or tablet.