Assessment Proformas Summary

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Sutton Coldfield College
Supported Experiment Proposal

Assessment Proformas


The Black and Wiliam review 1998 (ask me for details) suggested that the way teachers give feedback to their students is one of the most important things they do. Best Practice involves giving students ‘medal and a mission feedback’ against very clear criteria. A ‘medal’ for what they have done satisfactorily, and a ‘mission’ for how to get better.
Assessment Proformas are one way of doing this.
If you want to do it differently to this proposal – that’s fine of course! But do let me know your approach so I can pass your ideas on to others.

Action Research Project

Generic Skills

Geoff Petty

Learning Development Manager

Why use Assessment Proformas?

Think of the skill of writing a good essay or assignment. This is a very difficult skill but it may not get the teaching time it deserves because it is not ‘on the syllabus’. Every stubject has crucial skills like this one, such as evaluating a poem, or assessing a customer’s needs. Self-Assessment and teacher feedback proformas help students and teachers to develop such skills.

Devising an Assessment Proforma

Use assessment profromas only for crucial skills that students find difficult, but often have to use. Suppose for example that a History teacher decides to devise an assessment profroma for writing an essay. She reads Examiners Reports, and finds that marks are given for:

  • relating each argument in the essay to the essay question

  • giving arguments both ‘for’ and ‘against’

  • giving evidence, examples or illustrations for each argument cited

  • prioritising the arguments for and against, and evaluating them.

  • drawing a justified conclusion

  • etc.

She decides to try and teach these skills directly, but also to use them as the basis for essay planning proformas, for self-assessment proformas, and for a teacher’s assessment proforma. See the examples below.




Teacher assessment

Did you relate each of your arguments to the essay question?

Did you give arguments both ‘for’ and ‘against’?

Did you give enough evidence, examples, and illustrations for each of your arguments?

Did you prioritise the arguments for and against, and evaluate them?

Did you draw a justified conclusion related directly to the essay title?

Improvements needed for this essay

Targets for the next essay

This approach can be used for any skill in any subject.

Some examinations are structured so that each year they repeatedly require very specific skills such as precis, comprehension, critique of experimental design etc. These skills can be developed in the same way.

It is important to recognise the following points when using proformas.

  1. Teach the criteria. They don’t work by magic! ---you have to Teach students what the criteria only summarise.

This takes time. Try asking the students to devise the criteria:

    1. Ask students ‘what criteria would you suggest for an excellent assignment?’

    2. Get students to discuss this in small groups.

    3. Get feedback from the groups and write up the good ideas on the board or OHP

    4. Add your own thoughts to make up for any deficiencies in the student’s ideas

    5. Devise criteria from this exercise and use them to produce an assessment proforma. In this way the profroma is ‘ours’ and is fully understood by students.

  1. Set targets. Self assessment or teacher assessment using a profroma should lead to target setting. For example if a student or teacher assesses that a student’s proof reading is poor, then proof reading should become a target for the next piece of work.

One way of doing this is to leave a space for personal targets, and for teacher comment on these targets at the top Please send an e-mail to Geoff Petty asking for the ‘learning loops’ diagrams.

Corrections and improvements to the piece of work can be another outcome of the use of assessment proformas.

  1. Use medal and mission feedback. See the Action Research Proposal on Effective Reinforcement for Motivation for more detail, but the best feedback is ‘medal and mission’. That is, it contains a ‘medal’ for what is done well, and a ‘mission’ for how to get better. Its hard to do but…….

The ‘medal’ should be:

    1. Task centred not ego centred, that is, focussed on the task rather than the student’s ability: ‘all the spelling is correct’ not ‘you are a good speller’

    2. Student referenced, not norm referenced. That is, praise should be given for what is a reasonable achievement for that student, not for what would be good for an average student in that class.

    3. Specific, not vague. That is, it should be clear exactly what is being praised. E.g. ‘all the key points were included’, not ‘good work’.

    4. Sincere. That is, the student should think you really meant it, and so it should not consist entirely of often repeated phrases, or appear as if you are just trying to make the student feel better.

The ‘mission’ should be:

Forward looking and positivethat is focussed on how to do it better next time, or how to improve the work, rather than on what was wrong with it. (It will then sound like advice rather than criticism.)

In the form of a target that can be check up on.

Opportunities for Development:

General Comments:

ssessment Proformas can be very simple like those on this page or more complex like those that follow.

Student comment on the extent to which the assessment criteria were met:

Teacher comment:

Main strengths were:

Working for improvement. Next time…

Minimum Predicted Grade:

Actual grade for previous assignment:

Target grade for this assignment:



Teacher comments

1. Read the question or consider the title very carefully. Re-read this often throughout the writing process.

2. Order material logically (mind maps or rough plans are vital)

3. Keep to the point, and make your points as clearly, concisely and as persuasively as possible.

4. State your opinions with care providing a justification, and thinking for yourself.

5. Represent the opinions of others fairly and accurately.

6. Have a strong opening which sets out the scope of the essay

7. Have a strong ending which summarises your key points

8. Include a bibliography.

Strengths and general comments

Improvements for this piece of work:

Targets for next piece of work:

Assessment of Writing Skills

Please think about each skill carefully and assess how well you think you do. Then score each one as follows

Red: Needs improving

Amber: Average/okay

Green: good.

Self Assessment





Teacher Assessment


Using sentences

Using paragraphs

Using verbs

Proof reading

Using capital letters

Using full stops and commas



Appropriate style

Answered the question

Good conclusion

Targets for next written assignment:

Vocational Skills – Care

Self-assessment of key criteria for written work
Below is a list of some of the most important skills needed when completing any written tasks. These skills will help you achieve your Care Modules and will also help you in the future whenever you need to find out information for yourself and present it well.
Please think about each skill carefully and assess how well you think you do. Then score each one as follows
Red: Needs improving

Amber: Average/okay

Green: good.





Neat writing

Correct spelling

Using paragraphs

Using only relevant information

Writing in your own words

Using the library

Using computers and the internet

Keeping a record of sources of information eg. books, internet sites, etc.

Finding pictures, articles, leaflets, etc to add interest to your work

Handing work in on time

Which of these skills do you need to improve most?

How are you going to do this?

The above forms can be copied pasted and then changed to meet your own needs. There follow some planning proformas. These are used by students as they prepare an essay, report, or other piece of work. Again I have taken essay writing as the example, but you could use the same strategy to develop any skill.

Write the question here:

For the key Instruction words:

How far’ ‘How successfully’

To what extent’ ‘Assess’

Discuss’ ‘Do you agree’

Yes/agree arguments



No/disagree arguments

Priority order

Now choose a two-part

or simultaneous approach
Are there enough links

between the ‘yes’ and ‘no’

arguments to allow a

simultaneous approach
Now find

examples/evidence to back

up each of your arguments

(History essay-planning proforma copied from a form by Solihull Sixth Form College. See:, choose Development Projects, then choose Solihull college to see the full report.)


  • Key ‘instruction’ words?

  • Therefore type of question?

  • Any terms/names/dates need explaining?


First sentence of first paragraph

(Have you made your key point?)

Development/explanation of point?

Evidence to support your argument?




Check: Have you referred back to the question/linked the point explicitly to the question?

Link to next paragraph/point?

First sentence of second paragraph

Have you made your key point?

Development/explanation of the point?

Evidence to support your argument?




Check: Have you referred back to the question/linked the point explicitly to the question?

Link to next paragraph point?

(History essay-planning proforma copied from a form by Solihull Sixth Form College. See:, choose Development Projects, then choose Solihull college to see the full report.)

The next two forms work as a pair. The first describes the process, the next is a self assessment form for students to check whether they are using the process effectively. Again the same approach could be used for other skills.
It is important to teach students the process described of course, it is not enough simply to hand out the paperwork.

Report writing process: Help Sheet

GNVQ Health and Social Care team

Read think and plan

Read the assignment brief or title and make sure you understand it thoroughly. Re-read it often. What will it include? Where could you find information?

When must you hand it in? Plan the report writing process.

Research and brainstorm

Gather information relevant to the topic


Library; CD Rom; internet; visits; ask people; etc Re-read the assignment brief!

Check relevance

Check your information for relevance. Reread the assignment brief.

Plan the report

Make a mind-map or series of headings based on your classification stage. Make notes of what you want to say. Make sure you do all the tasks or questions.

Write the report, then leave it for day or so

Proof-read the report making changes where necessary

Present the report (one time!)
se this process for all reports in all units. When you can use this process well, write your report without this helpsheet, but still using the process.


Use an ordered set of headings or mindmaps to sort your information into groups. E.g:

The categories you use will depend on the report title, so re-read it before you start classifying.

Draw conclusions and get evidence

What do you want your report to say? For example, what are the strengths and weaknesses of what you have been investigating?

  • Summarise your main conclusions

  • Get evidence for each of your conclusions

Self Assessment:

Health and Social Care: Report writing process



Self-assessment: including what you found most difficult

Read think and plan

Did you read the assignment often.

Did you Plan the report writing process?

Did you leave yourself time to do a good job?

Research and brainstorm

Did you gather enough relevant information using relevant sources such as the Library; CD Rom; internet; visits; asking people; etc?

Check relevance

Did you re-read the assignement and check your information for relevance?


Did you find an appropriate and logical way to group your material and ideas? E.g.

  • topics and sub-topics,

  • strengths and weaknesses;

  • arguments for, and against etc,

Draw conclusions and get evidence

Did you:

  • Summarise your main conclusions

  • Get evidence for each of your conclusions

Plan the report

Did you plan your report by making a mind-map or series of headings?

Did you note key points under these headings?

Proof-read the report

Did you leave the report after writing it and then proof read, and make changes?

Present the report

Did you present your report on time?

Learning points and action plan:

The Content Trap




includes both content and skills
e.g. teaching time is set aside for generic skills (not just at induction)

Could be up to 20% of teaching time.

Exam or other assessmentrequires both knowledge of content and skills

Teaching and learning

set by scheme of work.
E.g. Class time is set aside to teach Generic skills

Exam or other assessmen requires both knowledge of content and skills

Generic skills are identified

E.g. assignment or essay writing; evaluating a case study or experiment etc; subject specific reasoning skills; learning to learn etc.






Syllabus content

teaching and learning

(set by scheme of work)




defined by content

Syllabus content


Bad Practice: The above is the extreme case of exclusively didactic teaching. All teaching is fact based, and at the bottom of Bloom’s Taxonomy. In practice teachers usually develop both skills and content. However, the proportion of teaching time spent on skills is often very low because there “isn’t enough time” i.e. content is seen as primary and skills secondary.

Best Practice. The teaching and learning involves the delivery of content, and the development of generic skills including high order thinking skills. Generic skills can only be developed by:

  • using student-centred teaching methods

  • instruction in, and corrected practice of the use of these skills

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