Putting pupils at the heart of assessment. Children’s rights in practice.
This poster presents the outcomes of the TLRP project Consulting Pupils on the Assessment of their Learning. This project examined pupils’ participation in their own assessment from a children’s rights perspective. It demonstrated that when genuine opportunities for participating in and understanding assessment are presented, pupils engage in their learning and focus on their own progress. When policy makers use child-centred methods to consult children directly, children show the motivation and capacity to be involved in decision-making. CPAL enshrined these principles within its own design and processes. KS2 and KS3 pupils advised on ethical informed consent and some of the research methods. They co-researched and co-interpreted aspects of the data. In addition to traditional survey methods, the project developed creative methods for use with pupils and teachers which incorporated E-consultation, focus groups, drawings, and pupils’ digital recordings. The project was designed to take account of the policy context in Northern Ireland, with its focus on pupil profiles and assessment for learning. Findings: (1) Children can be consulted directly by policy-makers on educational issues such as assessment policy and practice.; (2) When teachers’ beliefs and their assessment for learning (AfL) practices come together, pupils benefit; (3) Teachers and parents are generally supportive of children’s rights; and (4) Children can be involved as co-researchers in mainstream research projects in ways that enhance the inquiry and enshrine children’s right. Implications: (1) Methods should be inclusive and adults should listen and respond to children’s views; (2) Teachers need support to create participative classroom cultures based on genuine AfL; (3) There are opportunities for increased awareness of how to apply and evaluate children’s rights in practice; and (4). This takes time and careful negotiation. We need a better understanding of the implications of engaging children more democratically in research.