When levels were taken away, schools were left at the mercy of large companies claiming to use teacher feedback to generate products. While I'm sure they were tried and tested, many were rushed out in a race for profit against necessity.
Developing systems for assessing reading and maths is easy; write a set of questions and have a program that does something with the data. However, systems for assessing writing are trickier.
With a lot of my posts recently regarding teaching writing, I wanted to develop a system that reflected my ethos.
And today, it's finally ready to share with you, for free!
I found with many purchasable systems, they relied on a very basic, unfounded belief that all children make equal gains at timetabled stop-points within the year. As current teachers, we know that simply isn't true, yet in the business of proving progress, you'd be required the tick the box regardless, in order to make the algorithm give the result you needed on the analysis. I wanted a system that better reflected how children make progress in writing, while also giving leaders what they needed.
Many systems work on a 3 tiered system, likely stemming from the end of Key Stage judgements. Regardless of vocabulary, they mostly work with synonyms of: below, at, above (age expectations), with a number or letter associated. And that's it. That's the bit I had a problem with.
We have all been in the position where you have made an initial judgement on a child's attainment, but when you've come to the next assessment period, progress is abundantly clear, but you're not willing to award the next band yet. So, on paper, they've not got any better?
Don't ask, "But how do you know whether to award them a 4 or a 5?" Use the same part of your brain that decided whether they were at or above, or a 3b or 3a. It takes a few turns, but it always has done.
Below, I have provided an Excel and PDF for every section of the English curriculum.
The PDFs can be used as posters, stuck in books, checklists, record keeping etc.
The Excel documents allow you to record the children's achievement for each objective. You can filter by groups, and it shows an analysis of each term, for easy comparison.
- You can see some specific posts about improving progress in writing HERE, HERE, and HERE (this features almost everything you need!)
- I learnt a tonne by doing this. I'm aware there are some big analysis questions that it might not be able to answer at the click of a single button, but I gained so much knowledge from experimenting with formulas and setups. With all the research that went into making it, it's been a brilliant development exercise for me.
- I am extremely thankful for everyone in my school who has given it a go. Thank you so much for your time and trust. Whether we use it again or not, I'm so grateful for you testing it out for me; I've learnt a lot
- The creation of this has been the prompt of some big revelations to me. I used to be quite fluffy with regards to assessment; why can't we just allow them to get better? However, as I mature in my teaching years, I'm starting to see the necessity of some form of data, some form of universally understood language, which undeniably needs to be numerical. More on that soon...