As well as building on the RAPTA tool, the revised self-assessment tool needed to build on best practice in other sectors and so the initial research phase involved the examination of a wide range of self-assessment frameworks from FE, HE, the school sector and industry. This proved challenging at times – for example the full set of questions used in the BECTA self-assessment tool Generator could not be accessed because they had not been fully archived on the demise of BECTA.
The frameworks fell into three broad categories: Organisational self-assessment, Individual self-assessment and Quality assurance frameworks for E-Learning. They were evaluated by sector and against a set of criteria including suitability for the sector and impact on teaching and learning. There was a continuum in approach – some focussed very much on ‘assessment’ whilst others were very effective in supporting improvement.
In addition, the areas covered by questions were analysed by themes eg. strategic leadership, learner experience, outcomes and progress and by type of question. Although questions from all frameworks covered teaching and learning there was a huge range in the prominence given – some leading on teaching and learning with leadership and management in support and others focussing on strategic and organisational matters first. A bank of questions was also built up which will support the production of the draft revised tool.
In summary we found that a self-assessment tool should:
- Be explicitly linked to how learning technologies support teaching and learning.
- Facilitate access by a range of stakeholders (from practitioners to governors) by being concise and designed to support differing approaches to self-assessment
- Use structured questions on a meaningful cumulative scale
- Model, guide and support good self-assessment practice
- Provide effective support for quality improvement through, for example, providing automatically generated action plans
- Be sustainable for the sector once grant funding has ceased (we found an industry tool and a school sector tool which have developed successful models).