Once your evidence has been collected and checked it will be sent to an ICT Mark assessor. The first job that the assessor has is to go through and check your evidence to see if there is sufficient detail to plan a visit and if there are any areas that are a cause for concern. A cause for concern may arise if there is insufficient evidence or commentary or if the evidence/commentary indicates an inconsistency with the ICT Mark threshold level. Often the assessor will ask you to provide copies of key documents to look at before the visit. This will enable the assessor to prepare for the visit and understand the context of the school more quickly on the day of the visit.
Once this check has taken place, the assessor will contact you to begin arrangements for the assessment visit.Visits are normally planned to take a half day and both the date and the timing will be a matter for negotiation between the assessor and the school.
In the time available the assessor will probably choose to concentrate attention on two or three Elements from your evidence although the assessor will need to be satisfied that the school’s self evaluation is accurate in all Elements- this is a major focus of all visits.
The assessor will most likely offer a draft agenda for the visit and this can be adjusted to fit in with the school day. A possible draft agenda could be something like this:
9.30 Arrive, introduction to the context of the school by head teacher and senior leadership team
9.45 Tour of school with senior leadership team
10.15 Review of evidence supporting the commentary with lead person for ICT
10.45 Interview with selected subject leaders
11.05 Break and pause for reflection
11.15 Interview with classroom teachers and others (e.g. Network manager, TAs, parents, governors, and community leaders where appropriate)
11.45 Interview with selected pupils (accompanied)
12.20 Consideration of recommendation for award
12.30 Feedback to senior leadership team
A tour of the school will usually be an early item on the agenda; this will be a casual tour and not a formal inspection or lesson observation. The assessor will hope to see the school working as normal and will welcome the chance to engage with and chat to pupils as the tour progresses.
The remainder of the visit will be characterised as ‘professional dialogue’. The assessor will hope to meet and chat to a wide range of people representing the whole school community. Typically this will include the head teachers, the senior leadership team, subject leaders, classroom teachers and assistants, parents, governors and pupils. The assessor will be appreciative of a space to work where these conversations can take place; all conversations with pupils should be accompanied by a member of the school staff.
The assessor will not want to spend a long time looking at documentary evidence although there could well be a place for sharing some items that exemplify the points under discussion. Likewise there could be times when the assessor may ask to view pupils’ work or other resources on the school network.
It is likely that the assessor will timetable a short break half way through the visit to review the evidence so far. This will allow the assessor to ask for additional evidence if there are uncertainties from what has been seen so far. The overall tenor of the visit is more akin to ‘celebration’ rather than ‘inspection’. The assessor will hope to see the school working well and showing off some of the excellent ICT that will be part of everyday school life.
Towards the end of the visit the assessor will have a little time for reflection before meeting with the headteacher and others to feedback about the visit. They will identify some of the strengths of the schools and also areas where future development seems most appropriate. Often these areas will already be well known to the school but the assessor will likely have broad experience of how other schools work and may well have useful guidance to offer.
The assessor will not be able to give a pass/still developing verdict at the end of the visit, but they will be able to say what their recommendation will be. Their next job will be to write a report based on the visit- this will be sent to Naace who are the awarding body. Within about ten working days of the visit the outcome should be confirmed and Naace will be in touch to let you know the outcome. You will get a copy of the assessor’s report and a link to further details of certificates, badges and plaques. This link will also ask you for your feedback about the whole process including what you thought about the assessment visit. If you have not been successful in receiving the award the assessor’s report will be a key document in planning your next steps as it will identify specifically which areas did not meet the threshold standards with some ideas about what they consider to be the priorities for the future.
If you have queries about the process please contact your assessor or the ICT Mark office (firstname.lastname@example.org).