Measuring concepts and constructs at Meols Cop High School 

One example of a redesigned assessment policy is Meols Cop High School in Southport. They focused on measuring the concepts and skills needed to master the new national curriculum. Instead of grades, teachers at Meols Cop High School now use arrows, accompanied by a code for what went well and a code for ‘even better if’. 


Students follow a routine when getting their work back: they refer to a skills sheet in their book to look at the codes used and comprehend the areas for improvement.

By using this new system, one benefit is that the time taken to mark a class set of work has reduced; the school estimates that a set of Year 11 English essays can be marked in an hour. Moreover, while students were initially resistant, they have become used to the new approach, and the demotivation of lower-attaining students has reduced dramatically. While not necessarily the primary concerns of improving teacher assessment, these ‘support factors’ are very important considerations. 


Marking is used to track strengths and weaknesses in skills needed for success at GCSE; this happens not just within classes, but across year groups and the whole school. Data from assessments are then recorded using tracking sheets such as that seen below, and subsequently to inform planning.


Meols Cop offers one way of rethinking assessment, but there are many alternative models. A focus for EEF's forthcoming Research School network will be to collect examples of promising and innovative approaches to assessment. 


Different models of measuring impact

Breaking down assessment in this way has allowed Meols Cop to place a strong emphasis on diagnostic assessment.