Assessment Companion for Thinking Skills (ACTS)

ACTS for Professional Development

The Assessment Companion for Thinking Skills (ACTS) project is the culmination of a three-year Erasmus+ funded strategic partnership between schools and organisations in the UK, Finland, and Latvia.

The aim of the project was to develop, trial, and disseminate a suite of diagnostic and formative assessment tools to be used by classroom teachers for the assessment of progress in pupils’ thinking. This innovative approach has developed new learning tools, learning and teaching methodologies, and pedagogical approaches that support pupils’ thinking. The aim is that these resources will improve the education of pupils and the training of pre-service and in-service teachers.

The project arises from the expressed need of pre-service and in-service teachers involved in thinking skills projects in three countries, Latvia, Finland, and the UK, and the opportunity to collaborate from our different starting points and common intentions. Changes to national curricula that either incorporate or will incorporate thinking skills are taking place in each of the partner countries.

Prescriptive standards for teacher competency including helping pupils progress in their thinking cover both pre-service and in-service teachers in the UK, Latvia, and Finland. However, few guidelines are available as to how the teachers should go about integrating the teaching of thinking and how they should change their assessment practice to gauge their impact on progress in thinking.

Project Developments

Through this project, the following has been developed:

• A description of thinking skills competencies (what does good thinking look like and sound like?)
• An achievement indicator that signposts competency and progression in thinking skills
• Guidance for progression between competency signposts that support both the teacher and pupils in knowing how to make progress towards the next signpost
• Assessment tools that are generic enough to be applied across disciplines but with subject-specific guidelines and examples
• Guidelines for interpreting assessment results in terms of – ‘How am I doing as a teacher?’ and, ‘What do I need to change?’ as well as, ‘How well are my pupils doing?’

You can find out more about ACTS on the project website.