Assessment overload

A pressing concern in modern teaching is assessments. Teachers are being asked to assess more and more. Politicians seem to believe that the answer to the challenges in education lies in assessment data – and that more data means more meaning.

Slowly, over the years, the demand for more assessment data has crept in to take over teachers’ lives. Increasing amounts of time in the classroom are being spent on assessment rather than learning, and then there’s the marking and correction, data entry, feedback and reporting to follow. Teachers are finding their evenings and weekends consumed by the assessment process.

Smarter assessment workshop

The IEU wants to promote successful work/life balances for all of its teacher members. We’ve listened to our teacher members’ concerns and commissioned a new workshop to be written by Glen Pearsall.

The aim of the workshop is to help teachers and school executive re-evaluate the ways in which they are assessing students. Promoting a quality rather than quantity approach to assessment data as well as correction, feedback and reporting is integral to containing the impact of these things on teachers’ personal time. It also reduces work time spent on assessment, allowing more time for planning and quality learning.

The workshops focus on fast, formative strategies for providing feedback and assessing student performance. Participants explore:

quick grading strategies for providing effective feedback

ways to reduce time spent on correction

effective questioning techniques for deeper inquiry

practical formative assessment activities and games

student centred feedback cycles, including selfcorrection, and

enhancing students’ ability to act on feedback.

The strategies are research based, drawing on the work of Patrick Griffin, Dylan Wiliam, Robert J Marzano and John Hattie, as well as Glen’s own research. All of the techniques have been road tested in Australian schools with students and teachers.

In Semester 1, the Union is offering the course in Canberra, Castle Hill, Liverpool, Newcastle and Ultimo. See inside back cover for dates and how to register, or visit

Amy Cotton
Professional Officer
Glen Pearsall
Glen previously ran NSW IEU workshops on student behaviour and classroom managements in 2014, which our members evaluated highly. He was a leading teacher at Eltham High School and a Board member with the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority. He is the author of several books (Literature for Life and Work Right, Classroom Dynamics, And Gladly Teach, and The Top Ten Strategic Questions for Teachers). Glen works as an education consultant throughout Australia, specialising in engagement, assessment and workload reduction strategies for teachers.