Synoptic tasks: success criteria, self/peer assessment and clear feedback
Level-Assessed or Grade-Assessed Tasks are synoptic, open-ended assessment
tasks that allow learners to express their knowledge and understanding on
Accompanying each task is a grade or level ladder (rubric) that provides
guidance and prompts that allow learners to tackle the task, as well as
formatively assess it and identify improvement targets that they should
Since 2005, such formative assessment tasks have been widely used in the teaching of Science in
the UK, stemming from pioneering work by Andrew Grevatt at Uckfield Community College, and
independently developed at KS3 by the Gloustershire LEA Science team.
I have co-authored a number of suites of paper and digital formative assessment tasks for KS3
and KS4 science, available through Badger Publishing.
Level Assessed-Tasks: Pedagogic Elements
A ‘Level Assessed’ or ‘Grade Assessed’ task is designed to encompass many of Hattie and
Marzano’s large effect size strategies:
Challenging, specific goals
Active learning through the development of constructs
Feedback generating- to the learner and to the teacher
Peer and self assessment
Generation of targets for improvement
The challenge in writing your own formative assessment tasks then is linked to finding an
engaging topic area, using your national curriculum or exam specification to decide on success
criteria linked to the context of your task, and the creation of a differentiated level or grade
ladder to guide self assessment.
Click on the links below to download the elements from an example Level Assessed Task written
to assess understanding for a strand of the UK’s KS3 Science curriculum.
It’s not the resource but the teacher...
The use of formative assessment tasks relies on them
being delivered to learners within a clear pedagogic structure-
they are not just worksheets.
Click on the image to the right to read part of the introduction
from the KS3 APP science suite of resources that details an
effective use of formative assessment tasks.
When done badly, a formative assessment task is given as
an after-thought- a last-minute homework with little or no
discussion about how the task should be approached, and
no modelling of methods and the likely challenges that
the learner will face.
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So... examine the evidence
So... adopt evidence-based methods
So... enhance learning