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Standardised assessment – Plugging KS3 gaps with Hodder Education

Standardised assessment products from Hodder

Explore how standardised assessment can be an effective tool for secondary schools to measure student progress, provide valuable insights and tailor learning interventions

Identifying gaps in students’ knowledge and understanding is one of the most important aspects of the teaching, learning and assessment cycle.

But finding out what students know, what they don’t know, and what they partly know is also one of the most challenging parts of the job.

The purpose of assessment is not only to judge progress but also to secure and boost progress. There is never really an end point in learning; it’s an ongoing process.

Standardised assessment

The most obvious way of measuring progress is through testing. While there are only limited options available to secondary schools today, standardised assessments remain among the most efficient and effective tools for judging levels of student knowledge, ability, and achievement.

Standardised asssessment can have multiple learning benefits and provides a more reliable comparison of test outcomes than non-standardised alternatives. This allows schools to track progress in an objective way.

They offer teachers valuable insights and demonstrate opportunities to both build upon academic successes and tackle weaknesses head-on to promote lasting learning.

“Standardised asssessment can have multiple learning benefits”

But how do you get the bigger picture beyond your own gates and ascertain how a student, or group of students, is performing in relation to those in other schools?

Put to the test

With the release of new editions of its Access Mathematics Tests (AMT) and Access Reading Tests (ART), Hodder Education has things covered.

AMT and ART are standardised assessment progress tests. They are standardised against over 15,000 tests from the 2023/24 academic year.

Use them to identify gaps in KS3 students’ knowledge in reading or mathematics against a national average.

These wide-ranging and flexible assessments provide invaluable diagnostic information about learners’ maths and reading ability.

They help identify where students place among their peers and show who is performing well below or above their age-group average. They offer a view of both current skills and hidden potential.

“These wide-ranging and flexible assessments provide invaluable diagnostic information”

Both are holistic, carefully constructed and cleverly differentiated between students taking the tests, letting you know what skills and knowledge individuals need to develop.

This then enables you to tailor and customise your lesson plans to suit pupils’ unique needs.

Hodder recommends using AMT and ART to understand the needs of 11-year-old students when they start secondary school and then at the end of the year, with focused classroom interventions in between. Repeat this process in students’ second and third years.

The tests are more than just checkpoints – they provide intelligence for shaping further learning opportunities. This means they act as catalysts for active assessment and proactively preparing students for the rest of the year.

Tried and trusted standardised assessment

The rationale is simple: using AMT and ART helps teachers gather an array of diagnostic data and insights into student attainment and offers a panoramic view of individual strengths and weaknesses.

This helps establish a strong picture of areas of difficulty and potential misconceptions. Left unchecked, these may have a detrimental effect on learning.

The tests themselves are high-quality. You can completely trust the content as experts with a deep and extensive knowledge of assessment and teaching have written them. Hodder has thoroughly researched, carefully considered and extensively tried and tested them.

The tests aren’t tied to a specific curriculum either. This means that whatever and wherever you teach, you can accurately gauge a learner’s reading age and mathematical ability.

Strategic support

Informed by the data the tests provide, teachers can craft and create learning interventions in maths and reading that are tailored for maximum impact and focus on upgrading and refining knowledge and understanding.

Alongside ART and AMT, you also get access to Hodder Education’s free online value-added reporting tool. This allows you to:

  • bulk upload results
  • analyse at individual, group, year and school levels
  • enter paper tests into online marksheets or get instant reports when using auto-marked, online and interactive tests
  • download reports as PDFs that you can share with teachers
  • perform gap analysis to identify strand-specific learning gaps

What classroom interventions you make next are the ones that will matter the most. Get these right, and students will make rapid progress and grow in confidence.

Hodder Education provides access to optional tailor-made learning interventions, written by experts, that provide targeted lesson plans and learning sequences for strategic use.

With one click, you can download resources that ensure areas of weakness are identified and addressed and gaps in knowledge are plugged.

The intervention activities also come with outstanding teacher guidance and supporting documents. These will save you time and help you manage your workload far more effectively, opening opportunities for valuable learning conversations with students and parents.

Students are retested with a parallel form at the end of the year to identify progress. The new editions of these tests include three sets of parallel forms to accurately measure learners across pupils’ entire school career between the ages of 10 and 14.

“The intervention activities also come with outstanding teacher guidance and supporting documents”

Grand designs

That’s not all. AMT and ART additionally help schools evaluate how effective their existing curriculum and teaching approaches are and make any necessary adjustments or enhancements to help further improve learning experiences.

Assessment design should go hand in hand with curriculum design. This ensures that subject content and teaching strategies are fit for purpose to meet the needs of all students and facilitate real progress and achievement.

AMT and ART are rigorous, valid, and reliable tests that will help you make sound decisions on learning paths to meet the needs of individuals and create a successful learning experience for every student in terms of access and participation.

Standardised assessment in secondary schools has a special importance as a teaching tool and can improve students’ learning and showcase their potential when applied judiciously as part of an active assessment programme.

“AMT and ART are rigorous, valid, and reliable tests”

Both AMT and ART offer a valuable metric for learning, help pinpoint areas for improvement and help schools evaluate progress.

Find out more about Access Reading Test and Access Mathematics Test.


More reasons to choose AMT & ART

  • Assess, identify and intervene
  • Provide quantifiable measures and an accurate baseline
  • Screen new cohorts
  • Provide question-level analysis
  • Confidently measure student performance against thousands of learners nationally
  • Reliably predict performance using data that’s been collected from thousands of students during the 2023/24 academic year
  • Compare standards between schools
  • Reveal gaps between groups
  • Corroborate teacher assessment and support teacher judgements
  • Powerful progress measure
  • Reliable and solid test practice
  • Identify areas that may be limiting a learner’s overall success
  • Pinpoint learning gaps against a national average, enabling teachers to better plan their lessons
  • Meaningful, high-quality and transforming interventions
  • Focused and engaging content designed to plug knowledge gaps
  • Accurately track progress and sustain momentum
  • Measure the impact of subsequent targeted interventions
  • Correctly identify student ability and potential
  • Track the impact of your interventions
  • Save time and boost productivity
  • Consolidate, foster and promote lasting learning
  • Demonstrate progress at KS3 to visitors
  • Provide parents with valuable individual feedback
  • Use alongside regular in-class formative assessment
  • Inform future teaching and learning

Written by John Dabell

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