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The Independent Commission on Assessment in Primary Education (ICAPE)

We are pleased to share that School of Education colleagues Dr Rachel Marks and Dr Marlon Lee Moncrieffe have joined The Independent Commission on Assessment in Primary Education (ICAPE), a new independent commission group that has been formed to review assessment in primary schools and propose a new approach.

Launched at the beginning of SATS week, and as year 6 pupils become the first children in England to sit tests under strict exam conditions since 2019, ICAPE will take evidence from a range of people with expertise in the way primary children are assessed and school performance is measured.

Dr Marlon Lee Moncrieffe Dr Marlon Lee Moncrieffe said “I agreed to join the commission because I can contribute valuable insights on curriculum planning and assessment, gained by my primary school leadership experiences as Head of Maths, Head of English, Head of Physical Education, and as Assistant Headteacher”.

“I will support the commission in generating a dynamic report which speaks to much-needed policy reforms, enabling teachers to enact a future curriculum that is genuinely inclusive to all learners”.

The commission aims to produce an authoritative and ground-breaking contribution to the debate about the assessment system in primary schools. The commission will seek to make clear recommendations to practitioners and policy-makers alike.

The commission will meet to:

  • Review the key issues for assessment in primary schools from the perspectives of educators and external stakeholders.
  • Evaluate how well research evidence links to current policies and practices for assessment in primary schools.
  • Recommend principles for improving assessment in primary schools and offer examples of practice that reflects these principles.

The commission will produce an interim report this summer and a final report in October 2022.

Dr Rachel Marks Dr Rachel Mark’s commented, “I accepted the invitation to join ICAPE because I’ve had long-standing concerns about primary assessment, particularly, but not limited to, statutory assessment and the practices that surround it”.

“My previous research engaged with the really detrimental and iniquitous impacts of labeling children by level. The new assessment regime brought in in 2014 had the potential to address this, but I worry that this labeling has just gone ‘underground’ and we still have some very problematic discourses at play in talking about children and attainment differences”.

“The new times tables check, which starts this year and tests all children in Year 4 (8 – 9 year-olds) on their times tables, at speed, up to 12 x 12, has re-surfaced many of my concerns”.

“ICAPE will allow me the platform to engage with these issues and try to bring about real, rather than surface-level, change”.

Find out more at:

Christina Camm • May 12, 2022

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