Training designed to improve teacher assessment quality should adopt a long-term, sustained approach and use guidance from the Teacher Development Trust’s ‘Developing Great Teaching’ report to inform its construction. It is highly unlikely that a few CPD sessions on assessment during school INSET days are going to address successfully the challenges of improving teacher assessment quality. Developing a shared understanding of assessment is one first step to improving the quality of teacher assessment in school. An outline programme of CPD could take the following structure: 

  • The components of great assessment
  • A common language of assessment in school 
  • Formative uses of assessment
  • Shared understanding of the meaning and purpose of different assessments including validity and reliability
  • Training in the consistent application of the school's assessment and marking policy
  • Standardisation & Moderation

Schools may want to read the blogs, links and references at the end of this guide to devise their own programme of CPD on assessment. Alternatively, a number of organisations are listed which can help guide you through the process of improving assessment in your school.


One way of increasing the reliability of any assessment is to have those marking it take part in a moderation process. While this can be a time-consuming activity, the act of reviewing as a group (within- and between-subjects and year groups) how the school’s assessment and monitoring policy is enacted is important.

Some primary and secondary schools are beginning to cluster together to form local moderation groups. When good knowledge and understanding of great assessment are used in such a forum, there is great potential to improve the reliability of assessments used in schools.


Having an agreed approach to testing helps to increase the reliability of assessments. There should be agreement about the purposes of particular assessments, the symbols and language used in feedback on assessments, and the uses to which assessment data will be put.


Historically, teachers have had very little opportunity to develop skills in designing and using assessment effectively. How will you ensure teachers in your school have the appropriate training and support to improve assessment?