Assessment Redefined: Dedicate some Time

It all starts as a PGCE student, where you are trained into believing that every lesson must be packed full of information to tick every box if you don’t stick to the Scheme of Learning exactly lesson by lesson you are not fulfilling your role as a teacher. As you become more experienced you start to realise that if the pupils are not learning, what’s the point in teaching them the content.

I have the freedom within my classroom to experiment with different approaches to learning and something that we have developed within the Art Department is the use of Dedicated Improvement Reflection Time (D.I.R.T). Having watched ‘Austin’s Butterfly’ I was intrigued to see the impact this would have within my classroom. As I work in a 1:1 iPad School, I looked at different ways that the pupils could record their progress effectively, within DT the pupils use Google Slides as digital portfolios, due to their success this was the approach that was taken.


The Process

Throughout Key Stage 3 (pupils aged 11-14) pupils complete three controlled assessments across the academic year. They are allocated an hour to draw an image, they have to complete this task in silence, as they would an exam. This is against the usual learning environment that I create within the art classroom, however, it has proven effective as pupils’ approach the activity with a different mindset. The quality of work has improved across the board and it has provided us with a better insight into pupils’ true ability in the subject area.

After the initial hour, pupils are given feedback from myself or a peer. They are also introduced to a learning journey, where they can track their own progress and continually evaluate the stage that they are at and what they need to do next. Before any changes are made, pupils photograph their initial outcome using their iPads and record this within their digital portfolios. After every lesson that has been allocated to the assessment, pupils capture their work through photography.


Pupils have been more engaged with the learning process, and there is less emphasis on the outcome and more on the process that they go through to create their work. Pupils have shown an increased understanding of the subject, they have also developed resilience when receiving feedback and are continually looking for ways to develop their work. In addition to this, the subject has gained more value, a lot of pupils struggle with the idea of drawing as they believe they are not able to, this approach helps them to see how they have improved and that with continued practice, their drawing skills will get better. It is important to allocate time, there are classes that require more than others, by dedicating time for reflection it allows pupils to engage on a deeper level within the subject.

Examples of work

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Within my Apple Book, it is possible to find out more about this approach and how to implement it within your classroom, as well as other approaches to assessment using technology. You can Download the Apple Book here:



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