Comparative judgements – killing off the PiXL approach


I have publicised this link before, but I am only now beginning to realise that the approaches to assessment outlined here by Daisy Christodoulou are a solution, not only for how to assess pupil performance, but also for reducing teacher workload.

Criterion based examinations, while seemingly logical and fair, have turned out to be anything but, for the reasons outlined in the video clip. They have led to fiendishly complicated checklists and progress tracking systems. They have led to dubious teacher judgements as to whether a pupil has met the criteria or not. Worst of all, they have led to an approach to teaching ,which shuns a liberal education in favour of working teachers into the ground with “diagnosis, therapy and testing” and subjecting pupils to a dry diet of ticking off personalised checklists, memorising examination board mark schemes and concentrating on so called success criteria. What is more, this approach conflicts with a growth mindset mentality – if you are only concerned with fulfilling criteria, you are not trying to be the best you can be. Even more damaging, the workload and administration from this approach to teaching and assessment could lead to teachers rejecting examinations entirely.

I am not one of those who would say “abolish examinations”. I think what is needed is a return to norm referencing in all public examinations. That way, education becomes less of a checklist and more about pupils engaging with the content of their subjects. Unfortunately, a generation of teachers and head teachers have become so hooked on “success criteria”, that a lot of persuading would be needed. But I think it could well be the future. Keep going, Daisy!


This entry was posted in Assessment. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Comparative judgements – killing off the PiXL approach

  1. ijstock says:

    Once upon a time, exams were a *retrospective* sample of what pupils had been taught in class. Now they are the purpose of the whole exercise. Actually educating people can go hang. But then we wonder why pupils seem not to have much enthusiasm any more…What worse example to set to young people – in education of all things – than imply it is about nothing more than filling other people’s tick lists.

    I think you’re right, though. The system has now got so hooked on this – or at least those who run it have – that they really do know no other way.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s