Our Assessment Innovation Fund pilot with the Centre for Education & Youth (CfEY) and Big Education | NCFE

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Our Assessment Innovation Fund pilots: The Centre for Education & Youth (CfEY) and Big Education

Shaping the future of learning and assessment

We’re on a mission to break boundaries in assessment with an investment fund to support and pilot new ideas on the future of assessment.

The Centre for Education & Youth (CfEY) and Big Education

CfEY is a think and action tank for education and youth and Big Education is a multi-academy trust of three schools and a network of 500 other schools.

Both seek to re-imagine education with a focus on better serving the needs of the most disadvantaged children and young people. 

The Primary Extended Project Award: Final summary 

This pilot focussed on the creation of a rigorous, flexible and scalable assessment instrument for ten and eleven-year-olds that any primary school across the UK (and possibly beyond) could use to support the development and recognition of a wide set of learning dispositions that extend beyond what the national curriculum and SATs currently value. 

The concept of the Primary Extended Project Award (PEPA) aims to contribute to addressing three problems in the way that primary pupils are currently assessed:  

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  • Overemphasis on summative assessment directly linked to school performance measures. 
  • A strong focus on literacy and numeracy, which limits pupils’ opportunities to develop wider dispositions, undertake in-depth learning, and identify and pursue individual talents and passions. 
  • Limited opportunities for school to collaborate and offer pupils the chance to develop based on feedback from outside their classrooms.  

The PEPA was co-designed by CfEY, Big Education and a group of primary teachers and leaders. Big Education’s iteration of the ‘double diamond’ design thinking approach was used, allowing groups to think creatively in response to the brief via a process of divergent and convergent thinking. Over two face-to-face workshops, participants discussed possible approaches to the PEPA, gathered feedback from a wide range of colleagues and overcame operational issues for delivery of the new programme. 

One participant of the workshops commented: "There was a clear structure to the day, it was very practical and engaging with focused tasks and desired outcomes to work towards." Another added: "Talking about how [the PEPA] will look for a pupil with SEND was useful." 

The PEPA curriculum will be delivered in this format: 
Autumn Term Year 5
  • An introduction to the PEPA Teaching of relevant skills
Spring Term Year 5
  • Further teaching of skills
  • Pupils explore some completed examples of PEPAs
  • Pupils agree success criteria
  • Pupils identify an appropriate enquiry question
  • Pupils plan and begin working on their own mini PEPA
Summer Term Year 5
  • Teaching around dispositions
  • Term ends with the presentation and assessment of the mini PEPA
  • Pupils use feedback to set targets for the full PEPA in Year 6
Autumn Term Year 6
  • Pupils identify an appropriate enquiry question and the project outcome they will produce
  • Pupils map prior knowledge, to identify what they need to know, and write a research plan 
  • Pupils are connected with an expert mentor
  • Pupils set targets for skills and dispositions
  • Further teaching around gaps in skills and dispositions
Spring Term Year 6
  • Direct teaching about the visual presentation of the PEPA Project Record
  • Pupils continue to work on their project with the support of their expert mentor
Summer Term Year 6
  • Pupils continue to work on their project and prepare for their presentation
  • Term ends with pupils' presentation and assessment of the PEPA by peers, parents and expert mentors
  • Pupils are given the opportunity to create a Year 7 entry profile, with the PEPA forming one section of the profile

The assessment of the PEPA will develop a shared language for pupils, teachers and parents around the skills and dispositions of research, presentation, imagination, inquisitiveness and persistence. Assessment will be carried out by the class teacher as well as pupils, mentors and parents, and will be supported by moderation and professional development activities. An online project record can be used by each pupil to support gathering of evidence, sharing of feedback and reflection on the work. 

Next steps for the programme 

CfEY and Big Education are now looking to prototype elements of the programme with a small number of year 6 pupils ahead of a large-scale impact pilot that will measure the effectiveness of the PEPA to improve the skills and dispositions of participants. 

Find out more about upcoming application phases and how to apply

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