Rethinking Assessment for Continuity of Learning

The concept of ‘continuity of learning’ is a key priority for Our Place. To ensure that children living in disadvantage get the best possible start in life, they must have access to high quality early learning services and schools.

If children experiencing disadvantage do not experience continuity of learning or a continuity of approaches to pedagogy and curricula, there is a risk that what they have gained in the early years may be lost when they enter the school system.

The provision of high-quality education needs to involve early learning and schools coming together to support children in their learning journey. While these two systems can achieve great outcomes for children in their own right, there is more to do to ensure children experience consistency and continuity in their learning journey.

Our first continuity of learning publication ‘Towards Continuity of Learning: Rethinking Assessment Pathways from early learning to school’ (Our Place, May 2021) provides a framework, evidence and principles for a continuity of learning approach. It draws attention to the value of organisational, curriculum, pedagogical and assessment continuity that extends from early years settings into the first year of school (birth to 8 years). It presents the evidence that children’s academic outcomes and social-emotional well-being benefit.

Our second and most recent continuity of learning publication ‘Towards Continuity of Learning: Rethinking Assessment’ dives deeper in into the role of assessment as an anchor for continuity of learning. Within this we acknowledge that a ‘Continuity of Learning’ approach to assessment is a key opportunity to: deliver higher learning standards; ensure that learning roadblocks are removed; and, accelerate outcomes for all children.

Within this publication, the following is also documented:

  • What we mean by assessment
  • What assessment for ‘Continuity of Learning’ enables
  • Steps toward implementation – for educators, teachers, policy makers and leaders

We have the opportunity to implement a comprehensive and aligned assessment system across both early learning and school settings. However, implementation requires collaboration as well as shifts in mindset and methods. Good assessment defies boundaries. We need policy makers, leaders, educators and teachers to work together to defy boundaries too. We must draw upon the strengths of both early learning and school settings in order to align assessment in a way that accelerates learning outcomes for all children, in every postcode. And we need to start now.

Download our free publication ‘Towards Continuity of Learning: Rethinking Assessment’ HERE