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Innovate Issue 3, December 2012

the teaching and learning magazine for Oakgrove School

Assessment and


Welcome to the third edition of our teaching and learning magazine! In the two previous editions, we explored independent 6th form learning and literacy across the curriculum. This time, Innovate covers the work started this term on Assessment for Learning, pace and progress across the curriculum.

The aim of this edition is to act solodation of the fantastic ideas from across the school, ered in one place for future

as a conteaching all gathreference.

So, we start this issue with a look at progress and how we can engage students in thinking about how they are developing in their learning. After that, Alan Nicholl introduces the development of Assessment for Learning, outlining key principles in his usual witty way!

We then move on to looking at how students are being encouraged to get involved in the feedback process across the school with articles from Jennie Long, Danielle Silvey, Rebecca Clark, Emma Cox, Megan Levitt and Dan Spencer.

Finally, there are some really valuable resources that cover differentiation, self-assessment and pace. These have been contributed by Anita Braithwaite, Elizabeth Lockwood, Claire Sadler, Alan Nicholl, Emily Smith and Jonathan Tarrant.

I am very grateful to all those who have taken the time to contribute to this edition and we hope that you enjoy reading all the articles!


In the spotlight Students review their progress

Regular reflection on how far students are progressing is key to demonstrating the impact of our teaching and also encourages students to become more independent in engaging with their own learning. In order to clearly demonstrate this, we could use a ‘progress check’ to monitor how far students feel they have progressed through an activity/lesson/unit. Draw a continuum line that leads to the ‘brilliant outcome’ they are heading towards in their learning journey - see example on adjacent page. This can also be used part way through a lesson for students to independently choose their next activity, in order to address key areas identified as needing improvement.

The learning journey: progress Navigating the learning journey can be fraught with pit falls. Clear signposts and directions are often helpful when trying to demonstrate the progress of our students! Here is are some ideas that might help to facilitate this... Use mini plenaries where the students judge how close they are to the learning obejective by plotting their position along the line... At the start of the activity/lesson/unit, students decide where they are along the line. After the activity/lesson/unit they then mark where they are now, to demonstrate what progress they have made in the lesson towards the outcome. I understand and can explain how the sequence of edits can create different meanings for audiences, backing up my ideas

Start of the lesson

Learning by the end of the lesson I can analyse how editing is used to engage the audience by using specific examples and explaining the effects on the audience

‘Check point’ By Claire Sadler Students write somethi something they have learned, something they already knew and something they would like help with and then tick, colour or draw hair on the smiley face which best represents how they are feeling about the topic. Teachers then make a comment that is personal to each student’s needs. The ‘Check point’ allows students to reflect on their learning. It demonstrates that students are making progress, building on prior knowledge and promotes a dialogue between the student and teacher as it provides the opportunity to ask for the help. Lastly it is a tool to inform planning as misconceptions and difficult areas will be highlighted. Most recently there have been successes in Science where it has been used at the end of a particularly tricky lesson, on a fortnightly basis to aid marking as well as informing the planning of a revision lesson.

We don’t need no education Alan Nicholl explores the world of Assessment for Learning When thinking about Assessment for Learning (AFL) as, I’m sure, we all do in our more reflective moments, we probably think it all began with the publication of Inside the Black Box – Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment (1998) by Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam. But what if it didn’t? What if Roger Waters, with his lyrics from The Wall (see headline), had stumbled upon one of the key tenets of AFL? I.e. the need for more open questions which give students the opportunity to consider ideas before reaching their own conclusions. Rather than merely being a middle aged, middle class prog-rocker bleating on about alienation and the ‘dark sarcasm’ of teachers, was Roger Waters actually a visionary figure in the development of the theory of assessment? The answer to that question is clearly a resounding ‘No’, but I thought it might add a frisson of excitement to what otherwise promises to be a fairly tedious article. However, given that you’ve read this far, you might as well read on. Anyway, many of the ideas associated with AFL did actually begin with the publication of Inside the Black Box – Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment (1998) by Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam. The key ideas outlined in this pamphlet were: • Feedback to any pupil should be about the particular qualities of his or her work, with advice on what he or she can do to improve, and should avoid comparisons with other pupils. • For formative assessment to be productive, pupils should be trained in self-assessment so that they can understand the main purposes of their learning and thereby grasp what they need to do to achieve. • The dialogue between pupils and a teacher should be thoughtful, reflective, focused to evoke and explore understanding, and conducted so that all pu-

pils have an opportunity to think and to express their ideas. • Tests and homework exercises can be an invaluable guide to learning, but the exercises must be clear and relevant to learning aims. The feedback on them should give each pupil guidance on how to improve, and each must be given opportunity and help to work at the improvement. Although there was a general acceptance of Black and Wiliam’s ideas, their work was largely theoretical and did not offer practical suggestions on the implementation of AFL. In 1999, the Assessment Reform Group (ARG), published a further pamphlet Assessment for Learning: Beyond the Black Box which, as Phil Beadle put it, was a “....bridge between the research and its implementation in schools.” In cinema terms, it could be seen as the Godfather 2 of AFL pamphlets rather than say, the Die Hard 2. (Younger readers struggling with this fairly ridiculous allusion will have to look at Wikipedia or ask an elderly colleague for an explanation.) The conclusions the authors of Assessment for Learning: Beyond the Black Box arrived at, were: • Assessment for learning should be a central focus of the Government’s programme for raising standards. • A range of examples should be published, showing how assessment for learning can be integrated into classroom practice and into the planning of schemes of work, across age groups and across subjects.

• Classroom assessments and their role in teaching and learning should be given greater prominence in initial teacher training and continuing professional development. • Development by schools and local authorities of assessment for learning as a means of raising standards should be supported by Government-led funding such as the DfEE’s Standards Fund. • Greater recognition should be given by school inspectors, who should be supported with appropriate training and a revised inspection framework, to practices within classrooms and across schools which are effective in using assessment to support learning. • A programme of evaluation should be established to feed directly back into this series of initiatives and to monitor their development.

Fast forward nine years and everything on the AFL front seemed to be going swimmingly when the then government produced its Assessment for Learning Strategy in 2008. In his foreword, Jim Knight, the Minister of State for Schools and 14–19 Learners, wrote: “The Children’s Plan set out our aim of a world-class education system for all, and personalised teaching and learning are at the heart of making this aim a reality. We know what a difference it makes to pupils’ learning when they and their teachers have a really good understanding of where pupils are in their learning, where they need to go next and how best to get there – which is what assessment for learning is all about. Many schools are already seeing the benefits of using assessment for learning practices and resources, but I want all schools to have access to high-quality training and support so that assessment for learning can be embedded in all classrooms. That is why the Government has invested £150 million over the next three years for continuing professional development for teachers in assessment for learning. I am very pleased to introduce this strategy, which outlines how schools can make use of the resources available to them, and I look forward to seeing the results.” This seemed to be a clear statement of support for AFL but, sadly for those of you who like a happy

ending, the government’s strategy was not without its critics. In her 2009 paper, given the rather catchy and appealingly alliterative title, “The misrepresentation of Assessment for Learning – and the woeful waste of a wonderful opportunity.”, Sue Swaffield of the University of Cambridge describes herself as “...disappointed, angry, and fearful....” after perusing the government’s strategy. Among her many criticisms of the government’s strategy is what she refers to as the “tyranny of targets” which lead to a “limited view of learning”. In Swafford’s view, the AFL idea of assessing “where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go, and how to get there” has been re-interpreted as meaning, “at what level is the student, what is the next in the sequence and which learning objectives need to be targeted?”. Indeed, in her rather apocalyptic conclusion, Swafford offers the view that, “....teachers’ professional lives will be impoverished, and the biggest and ultimate losers will be students....”, if AFL is not properly implemented. Yikes! More recently (July 2012) , Swafford’s apprehension has been echoed in a TES article, “Assessment for Learning has fallen prey to gimmicks, says critic”, which quotes Professor Bill Boyle’s concerns about the patchy implementation of AFL due to “misunderstandings about AFL”, and the way “national tests straitjacketed schools.” In conclusion, though the implementation of AFL has not been without difficulty, I’m sure that under the auspices of Michael Gove, with his penchant for research based policy, its future is assured. Regardless, let’s all make Oakgrove a bastion of AFL and remember that, as another visionary, WB Yeats, once wrote, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” After reading this article please go to the test on the following page. I expect everyone to get 9 out of 10, or at the very least achieve an above average score. All publications referred to in this article, and some even more fascinating ones, are available in the TELL folder in the T-Drive.

Involving students in the feedback process Jennie Long and Danielle Silvey explain how they engage students in the marking and feedback process After marking student’s books I wanted to check that they were taking on board the advice and the comments they were given, I found this to be essential for year 10 students who needed to be taking on the advice to improve their exam technique. I created a marking feedback sheet which the students had to stick into their books after I had marked them. Their homework for that week was to complete the feedback sheet. The first part of the sheet involved them having to comment on what they felt they were doing well in lessons, I felt it was important to start with a positive as the students had been working incredibly hard in lessons with the new exam skills they were learning. The students then had to go back and re-read my comments and set themselves two general targets which they would work on until I marked their books again. I would read their targets and then decide whether they had been met or not. The next task involved the students setting targets that were specific to exam questions and skills.

This meant the students had to read over their exam answers and really think about the type of questions they were struggling with and then set themselves a target that would help improve their answers.

After reading the feedback sheets in the student’s books, it was clear that they had read my comments carefully and set themselves some very productive targets. The fact that the students had to decide what they would be working on over the next few lessons gave them some real focus and they felt this would help them improve their answers. Several of the students had also gone back and answered some of the questions I had posed when I marked their books so there was a running dialogue between us. I plan to use the marking feedback several times during the year so that the students can set themselves useful targets that they can work towards each time I mark their books.

Rebecca Clark, Emma Cox and Megan Levitt showcase the work going on with marking in the Maths department... Some of the Maths department have been trying out ideas to get students to engage in the marking process a little more. Our aim is to try to make sure that students are making progress because of our marking, and ideally to show this fairly instantly!

activity. In these students’ books I write and annotate another example so that they have a starting point. I also check up on them during the time set aside for the starter to ensure they are making progress with the questions.

• Becca’s marking stamp… this is very straight forward! I simply created a stamp (although it could just be written) that looks a bit like this: H/W * G S N U. Date: Last target achieved? Yes / No. New target:

Starter B is for students who got all questions correct or who made a silly mistake rather than a conceptual error. This is designed to extend them in some way.

When I mark, I just circle the AfL code, date it and set a new target based on the homework they have just completed. I usually include a question or two with the target to show progress from the homework – this could either be something that they haven’t done well, or a challenge question to move them on to the next stage of thinking. The next lesson, I build time into the start of the session for students to do two things. Firstly, they look back at their previous target and decide whether they have achieved it or not and circle yes or no as appropriate. I am working on getting them to write a comment here too! Secondly, they have a go at any questions I have given them as part of their next target. I have tried this with both my KS3 and my KS4 classes. It has been more successful with some than others but I would think that it’s the sort of thing that students can be ’trained’ to do regularly and use well! • Emma’s targeted starter… this helps me to direct my attention at the start of the next lesson and allows all students to engage with the starter activity: I mark students work * G S N U as usual then on the basis of their work, ask them to complete either Starter A or Starter B in the next lesson. Starter A is for students who showed misconceptions on the homework and is designed to be a reinforcement

This means that students can have another go at topics that they find difficult and I know who I need to focus my attention on in those first few minutes.

Megan’s colour coded follow up…

I print MyMaths homework results (could be adapted for most homeworks) onto a sticker along with a description of what the students have achieved in that particular homework. I then give them a colour coded next step. The students write down their ‘next step’ at the beginning of a lesson which includes one or two questions to attempt straight away to see whether they can already meet that particular target. I have used this with Years 7 through to 10 and have found it to be more successful with some groups than others but it motivates a lot of students as they want to be able to meet a target straight away.

Collaborative peer assessment to further progress Picture 1

Picture 2

Picture 3

Written by Dan Spencer In order to help the students’ progress and for me to be a better teacher I have adapted an idea by a colleague, that not only helps me to plan more effective lessons, but also allows the students to reflect on their skills. Within teaching, reflection is key; although I previously considered myself to be a good reflective practitioner, I have since realised that my analysis of teaching and learning practices is more long term (unit by unit), rather than short term (lesson by lesson). By having the students involved in their own learning and reflecting more frequently in the short term, I have been able to gauge and influence students progression more effectively. In order to facilitate my students’ learning, understanding and development, I decided to introduce some reflective logs into each lesson. These reflective logs included basic questions which I could use to find out what students had learnt in the lesson (how much they had progressed) and how they thought they had learnt it. This enabled me to establish how my students learned best, which in turn helped me to develop lesson ideas for the future, to help facilitate their learning. (picture 1) An important question that featured in the reflective log asked students how they thought their learning might have been improved; this not only provided me with a snap shot of what the students needed help with, or wanted covered in the next lesson, but also enabled me to devise specific activities and tasks that could help them to develop both their understanding and knowledge, as well as making more measurable progress in future lessons. A good example of the reflective log can be seen in a lesson where we looked at the greenhouse effect. The objective for the lesson was for students to be able to produce a diagram of the greenhouse effect, including annotations and explanations as to how the effect works. Students were also required to use a variety of geographical vocabulary. This objective was met by all students in the lesson and, by assessing their understanding through a plenary activity, I felt they had made good progress. However, upon consulting their reflective logs it became clear that although most students had indeed under

stood the lesson content, meeting the objective whilst enjoying their lesson, sixty per cent of the group felt that their learning and progress would have been improved by the inclusion of a practice exam question (pictures 2/3). Students explained through their logs that such an exam question could have potentially helped them to see exactly how they should use their new knowledge and information under exam conditions and constraints. I thought this was fantastic, as it showed me that the students were facilitating their own learning and showing self-progression and development.

An obvious benefit of the reflective logs is that not only can they be used as a plenary exercise, but the information obtained from them is extremely valuable in a number of ways. For example, using the information I obtained from the student reflective logs, I was able to create a starter activity for the next lesson based around a practice exam question, accompanied by a simple mark scheme. I implemented this in the lesson by having a brief discussion about the worked covered in the previous lesson, before setting the students off on their starter. I also suggested that the pupils peer assess each other’s work, marking the exam responses in conjunction with the simple mark scheme. I was very pleased with the results of this exercise, as a high percentage of pupils (over 65%) achieved full marks. Not only were students able to demonstrate their knowledge and progression, but they were also able to practise exam technique, understanding exactly what is required of them under such conditions. The students are now comfortable in using reflective logs in lessons as it allows them to have an input into, and influence over, their own learning. The information they provide allows me to facilitate their progress, whilst enabling them to see that we are working collaboratively together towards a shared goal. Ultimately, students are left with a greater sense of responsibility towards, and control over, their own learning experience.

Pace, progress and differentiation

Jonathan Tarrant uses this ‘Secret Sentence’ activity to create a fast-paced start to lessons...

B4 Diffusion All Must

Loop Activity

Proof Activity

Learning Activity

Learning Objectives

 Diffusion is the movement of molecules  The effect of diffusion is that molecules move from areas of high concentra on to areas of lower concentra on

Take the lid off a bottle of Lavender Oil. How long does it take before you can smell the oil? ASTHMATICS BEWARE I can draw a cartoon showing diffusion of molecules - with added information to explain why the scent molecules are moving

Practise mastering the key terms for diffusion by doing the Diffusion Quizlet on the VLE

Most Should

Some Could

 Diffusion is affected by: o Temperature o Concentra on o Solid, Liquid, Gas o Thickness of diffusion path

 Explain how the rate of diffusion is increased by: o shorter distance o concentra on gradient o greater surface area

Tea Bag Experiment

Use the diffusion bead model

I can draw/ describe the ‘tea molecule’ movement - with added information to explain why the tea spread faster in the hot water than in the cold water

Answer questions 1 – 4 on the Diffusion & Osmosis Colour coded sheet

Put a drop of Olbas Oil in the bottom a test tube. In another test tube put a drop of Olbas oil then cover it with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Now sniff both tubes carefully, what do you notice?

Extend Bead model to investigate different ways of maintaining a steep concentration gradient

Upwardly Mobile Grid by Elizabeth Lockwood I can’t take credit for this; it comes from The Teacher’s Toolkit by Paul Ginnis. I have adapted the format to suit my lessons. When individuals or groups are working independently I use a grid to keep a track of content and pace in the lesson. Alternatively I give each student a copy and they can decide how they negotiate their way through the activities, including the proof activities. When I initially tried out this grid I was concerned that Foundation paper students might find it demotivating. However, they seem to be quite pleased to see that they can select to omit work and still achieve enough for their C. I find the grid really useful for streamlining my planning: which parts of the specification am I going to cover in the lesson; what activities are we going to use to cover these requirements and what equipment I need to order in advance. The students find it useful to know what they need to be able to do to ‘achieve closure’ on a particular topic. They like the security of knowing they have covered the content in the depth required and can move on to something new.


Level 9 A*

COMPREHENSION Level 8 A Level 7 C Level 6 D Level 5


Compare the reac ons of phenol and benzene Explain why phenol is more reac ve than benzene. Explain why benzene needs a halogen carrier to aid bromina on. Calculate the mass of product produced.

Jan 06 Q4 (c)

/8 Jun 07 Q2 (b) /8 Jun02 Q2 (b) (iii) /3 Jan 06 Q4 (b) /4

Predict the products of reac ons.

Jan 06 Q4 (a) Jun 02 Q2(b) E (ii) /3 Level 4 Describe the Jun 02 Q2(b) reac on between (i) U benzene and bromine. /3 Level 3 Write the Jun 02 Q2(a) i equa on for and ii U the reac on of bromine with benzene and give /3 condi ons. Level 2 Outline the Jun 07 Q 2(a) prac cal (iii) U prepara on of /5 an amine from phenol. Level 1 List the reagents Jun 07 Q 2(a) needed to create (i) and (ii) U deriva ves of phenol. /3 START I CAN CHECK IT I NEED TO

Anita Braithwaite uses Bloom’s Taxonomy to break down exam skills and provide students with a progress ladder. This example focuses on the reactions of phenol and benzene.

Emily Smith uses ‘Extension and Hint cards’ to hand out to students in order to support independent approaches to tasks and differentiate learning.


Issue 3: assessment and progress

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