Some questions about NAR

What could we learn from NAR? What aspects of NAR development could help me with assessment? How is NAR being used? Norman Emerson, LTS Acting Programme Director, Assessment, addresses some of the questions that have been asked about National Assessment Resource (NAR).

3 thoughts on “Some questions about NAR”

  1. Norman, you suggest teachers ‘spend a bit of time’ working on the NAR and assessment materials. We are already trying to spend the time developing the curriculum with very little to go on – the E & Os are so vague.
    This has become a journey where we get into the bus with the kids without knowing exactly where we are supposed to take them – we’re just expected to know when we get there. This is never more evident than when assessment is discussed with groups of teachers and they struggle to respond because they are unsure of what is meant by the experiences and outcomes.

    Where’s the ‘National’ in the ‘Resource’ if we are all trying to develop our own assessment criteria? Furthermore, where’s the ‘Resource’?

    The whole ‘NAR’ you speak of sounds like the emperor’s new clothes.

  2. Our department has been involved in developing the NAR and our learners have benefitted enormously from it. The fact that the Es and Os are not prescriptive can only be a positive thing for practitioners who want to design a syllabus that can be adapted flexibly according to learners’ needs. We certainly don’t want a curriculum that is handed down to us. Getting involved with the NAR is a great CPD opportunity that has allowed us to increase our knowledge of pedagogy and reconsider what makes a robust and meaningful assessment process. The learners we have put through this process have an increased awareness and responsibility for their own learning. As practitioners we learned that a more holistic approach to assessment expands the opportunities for increased depth and challenge. We found that when assessment is an integral part of learning and teaching, meaningful and individualised feedback is much more effective than a mark out of ten. Our work on the NAR is as much about trial and error as every learning situation can be: it is a process of learning through doing. It has taught us that we should have confidence in our professional judgment as no one knows our pupils better than we do and we don’t need a series of tests to find that out. Ewan why don’t you get involved with a NAR project? It would really help you focus on what makes robust assessment and would give you the time and the support to create something really stimulating for your learners. It would also help you get to grips with the Es and Os, as a department we really feel we have a much better understanding of these now.

  3. I entirely agree with the Modern Language Practitioner. CfE is all about teacher autonomy and moving from a teacher-led towards a child-centred approach to learning, teaching and assessment. Teachers need to work with children to find out what they want to learn, not just what teachers insist on teaching.
    I, too, have been involved in developing a NAR exemplar and working with primary children in modern languages. The children have been engaged and enthused throughout this project and the level of French writing produced has been impressive.
    The pupils have created their own range of evidence and enjoyed self, peer and group assessment techniques.
    My colleague and I have learned a great deal working on the NAR exemplar and it has been a positive experience which we have taken back to share with staff in school.

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