Incerts is a unique hybrid of social mission, education strategy and technical expertise.
Formally constituted as a non-profit organisation, we are subject to regulation to ensure we meet social goals and serve the education community. We have two social goals:
- to improve learning and achievement in schools
- to reduce teachers' non-teaching workload
We have three strategies to meet these goals which is enabled by our technical expertise.
The Final Nail in the Coffin of Testing
It's still quite common to track the academic progress of pupils through primary school purely by administering standardised tests, such as previous SATs papers, perhaps annually. Such tests provide teachers with levels for each child, usually for Reading, Writing, Maths and Science, and by comparing results year-on-year it may be possible to identify in advance which of the pupils are likely to reach national standards at age 11.
Tests do not cover every subject of the curriculum, and being brief they do not cover any subject comprehensively. The levels they produce are quite "broad", which can corrupt the results. With annual testing it can take a long time for a problem to be identified, and test levels alone will not identify the problem very precisely.
Assessments made by teachers, who know their pupils and interact with them daily, can be broader, more detailed, more frequent, more accurate and more useful. Incerts is a system that assists teachers in recording skill-by-skill assessments across all National Curriculum subjects, continuously. As well as giving a level like a test, the system identifies specific strengths and weaknesses in each child's learning, and it gives this information clearly enough and early enough for teachers and school leaders to make good use of it. Assessment for the purpose of guiding teaching is known as formative assessment, and addressing each child's specific skills and needs is part of personalised learning.
We have received dozens of unsolicited reports from headteachers telling us that Incerts has supported them in improving assessment in their school, and thereby in improving standards. When a school that uses Incerts is inspected by Ofsted/Estyn, who strongly advocate formative assessment and personalised learning, the inspection teams are invariably impressed. There is absolutely no doubt that Incerts can contribute to substantial improvements in learning and standards in a primary school, and we can provide references from many headteachers to support that claim. Several schools have thanked us for helping them move from Special Measures status towards Good and Outstanding.
The social benefits of improved educational outcomes for children are many and obvious. Personalised learning and formative assessment also support the professional development of teachers and greater engagement with education among pupils. The DCSF and all the major educational agencies are all pushing schools in the same direction, and Incerts is providing them with a state-of-the art software system to help them get there.