Balance is different to other Assessment Tools you may have seen before…
Balance is formative and flexible(not summative and rigid!)
Although many traditional systems look purely at summative assessment, research indicates that “it is high quality formative assessment that goes to the heart of good teaching” (John McIntosh, Chair of the Commission on Assessment without levels).
The NAHT – Redressing the Balance (2017) report agrees that “we should continue to focus on improving the effectiveness of day-to-day assessment across all schools”.
The Balance system is flexible. You can use it on a daily, weekly, monthly or termly basis to track the level of understanding your pupils have about each objective within the curriculum.
Many of our schools use Balance on a regular basis to ensure they have the most effective, accurate data. The more regular your Balance assessments, the more rich and valuable your learning data becomes! You can use it as often as you like to build up an in-depth picture of each child's learning journey.
We have worked with educational specialists to break the curriculum down into objectives. The aim of this is to easily identify small steps of progress and any gaps in learning, rather than using the broad statements in the National Curriculum where pupils may only understand part of what’s being asked of them.
Balance uses an intuitive 'learning wheel' to help teachers quickly record their pupils' depth of understanding against curriculum objectives at any time using a 1-9 scale with the option to ‘secure’ an objective if a child shows an in-depth understanding.
Balance makes learning personal, using non-linear progress lines
Balance recognises that each pupil's learning journey is different and not all pupils make the same level of progress, so there is the option to customise trend lines.
In addition, our default trend line is not linear, because we know that progress doesn’t work that way! (e.g. During December the expected level of progress may not be as high because of interruptions such as holidays, school plays, etc.)
“Learning is personal. It’s personal, or nothing” — Sir Ken Robinson
Exclusive to Balance customers, we have a pack of Assessment for Learning (AfL) resources, which are provided along with initial training, to help shape and inform your marking policy.
Balance includes simple, clear and accurate analysis
We know that some systems out there show you lots of different ways of seeing the same information, but we have focused on keeping the analysis simple and powerful. There's no need to run off complex spreadsheets or spend hours digging out the details you need — Balance hands you all the analysis you need using easy-to-understand, interactive charts.
An added benefit of the way Balance's analysis works is that you can print off individual pupil analysis at any time and share an up-to-date picture with parents, so they have a clear understanding of their child’s progress.
Balance’s clear analysis also means that everything is easy to find for both class teachers and senior leaders.
For the last few years, inspection focus has largely been on outcomes for Maths and Literacy. Ofsted are now acutely aware of how much foundation subjects are falling by the wayside.
Unlike other assessment systems, Balance presents a way for teachers to plan cross-curricular lessons. This means that progress towards the Science curriculum can be assessed alongside the progress with the Maths curriculum, or English writing with the History curriculum.
And, because we focus on making the curriculum more manageable for teachers and pupils by breaking it down into key learning objectives, gaps in learning can easily be highlighted. In other words, teachers are able to see gaps across all curriculum areas in one central place.