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.
My systems works on the simple idea that you can reward children for the smaller steps in progress that they make. By awarding points 0 through 10, you can always credit the children for their inevitable progress, and the overall judgement is based on what percentage of the skills (at whatever level of capability) they are completing successfully.
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.
What does that mean?
Believing in 'process over performance' means that you're going to put the needs of the learners as a higher priority. Allow me to illustrate; when I first came in to teaching, I would sit for hours with all the learning objectives I needed to teach, and the number of weeks I had to teach them. Then, with the 'Week Commencing' date, I would map in any key dates or observations and build the objectives around them. We'd find ourselves tailoring lessons for the sake of our own performance, rather than creating a sensible order of learning for the children - a process.
It's madness to think that we would sacrifice the next logical step in the learning process, the very key to making progress, for the sake of how this, as a lesson, might appear. We would try and cram the steps we know to be necessary, into what little time available, so that we could appear to be at the point required for the observer - forgetting that by skimming all the previous steps in the process, learners were left unstable for the lesson being observed!
In this business, there is no time to waste to appease the assumed beliefs of others. Take your class, look at what they need, and teach it to them in a way they understand; promote a sensible learning process, above the tricky mind-games of proving your own performance. It takes bravery, but the progress will speak for itself.
Follow these links for examples of how Process Over Performance will benefit:
...Foundation Subjects - Coming Soon!
In thinking this through today, my brain has raced with a list of Process Over Performance strategies which I'll share another time - once I've translated them from a no-doubt garbled mess.
Welcome to Part Two of AskMrN! Gone are the days where teachers are believed to sleep in the cupboards - our kids had some fresher burning questions. If you missed Part One, catch up here!