Balance is a primary-school formative assessment tool used in the classroom during lessons by teachers to capture the progress of learning for each child, using a scale of one to nine
Liverpool education and health software specialist Angel Solutions has signed up 18 primary schools in Liverpool city region to its ‘Balance’ in-lesson assessment product.
Balance is a primary-school formative assessment tool used in the classroom during lessons by teachers to capture the progress of learning for each child, using a scale of one to nine.
One means a child hasn’t understood the lesson and nine means the child has acquired the knowledge. According to Angel Solutions, which is based at Liverpool Science Park, the software cuts teachers’ workloads as it can be used instead of the traditional marking of books.
Valuable assessment information is then gathered and intuitive and simple analysis shows exactly where children are in their learning journey – tracking a depth understanding and self-improvement, not marks.
The firm says Balance will prove invaluable in the context of changes to the Ofsted framework, due for 2019. They include a promise to make school inspection reports more accessible to parents because they are its “most important education stakeholders”.
It is are also shifting the focus from exam results to assessing the quality of learning. Previous Ofsted inspections have focused on outcomes and exam results, which places “too much weight on test and exam results” and lacked emphasis on the curriculum and learning journeys of children.
Tom Wallace, co-founder of Balance, said: “With Balance, teachers use the clear, progressive and flexible curriculum to know exactly where to focus their teaching. Learning is discussed and reflected upon using a ‘learning wheel’ judgements one to nine, or secure. Children are firmly placed at the heart of learning, discussing how they could constantly improve.”
Schools using Balance can also attend regular ‘hub’ days where they get access to the latest educational research and share best practice with their teaching colleagues. They are led by Mr Wallace who is also a former deputy headteacher.
Adam Vasco, a teacher at St Vincent De Paul Catholic Primary in Liverpool, added: “The Balance Hubs have become an integral part of school improvement. Too often schools partners and networks were based on nothing other than geographical similarities.
“However, the Balance hubs ensure that like-minded schools can share their expertise, advice and support each other on our journeys in ensuring that our children have the finest education possible and that we as educators can work smarter, focusing on the areas that matter.”