Archive for the ‘assessment’ tag
“I’ve just spent a cheerful hours of my time writing a program on my computer that will tell me instantly what the volume of the mound was. It’s a very neat and sexy program with all sorts of pop-up menus and things, and the advantage of doing it the way I have is that on any future occasion on which I need to know the volume of a megapode nest, given its basic dimensions, my computer will give the answer in less than a second, which is a wonderful saving of time. The downside, I suppose, is that I cannot conceive of any further occasion that I am likely to need to know the volume of a megapode nest,… ” (Douglas Adams – Last chance to see, p.37)
The current focus in school is on marking. To be fair this has probably always been my weakest area and it would true to say I’m still not quite operating at quite the standard the school is expecting in this regard.
Having never been one who is simply able to do something because I’ve been told to, I’ve spent a bit of time thinking about how and what I mark in order both to fulfil the requirements of the policy, and to do as effective a job of providing feedback as I can.
I’ve developed some marking stickers for KS4 which allow me to give some feedback on the state of their exercise books every three weeks in a quick and effective way, and we’ve adapted them for KS3 as well (although I’m not teaching that this year). They’re designed to be printed straight onto A4 sticker sheets from Staples, but I’m sure they can be easily adapted for other brands!
Then, inspired by this post from Headguruteacher Tom Sherrington, I’ve designed a feedback sheet for KS5. It contains a judgement on where the essay sits in the Solo taxonomy, a tick list of the things I’m looking for in an essay, a space for WWW and EBI, and most importantly a space for students to respond to a particular comment. That might be to write an introduction or conclusions, or rewrite a paragraph or replan the whole thing in a different order (or anything else I think will be beneficial)
They’re all available from the resources page of my site, or you can download them directly below. All files are Word Documents
There’s a growing buzz at the moment around digital badges, and I’m going to try and put down my thoughts, specifically on the following:
- Why I was initially so negative, and why I now think I was wrong
- One possible vision for the delivery of ICT embedding student choice and badges.
I first came across the idea of digital badges (specifically the Mozilla Open Badges project) from Doug Belshaw. Initially I was so dismissive of the idea I didn’t even bother following the links. I think my initial scepticism came from the following:
- All the previous attempts I’ve seen at providing some kind of accreditation for ‘extra curricular’ activities have been deeply flawed and had little student buy-in
- I’m not a ‘gamer’. Never have been. Don’t have the skills required, or the patience / curiosity needed to aquire them. This is also true of jogsaw puzzles. It just seems to me there’s a more productive use of my time. While I accept that there is much to be learned from the ideas around ‘gamifiying’ the curriculum I’m probably going to need more persuading than most
- A growing concern that any ‘badges’ or rewards system (such as my school’s merit system) is at most ineffective and at worst damaging, through the value it places on extrinsic rewards (read Carol Dweck and others for a demolition of this)
- I haven’t yet found the opening for badges in either my use of Edmodo, or in something like Classdojo (Caveat – this says more about me than either of the tools, I know many teachers making great use of both)
Doug’s initial blog post of one possible idea didn’t help dispell any of these concerns, however a few weeks ago I decided to follow some links from this post and ended up completing the Badges 101 quiz. Anyone watching may well have seen the lightbulb going on over my head. This had the potential to be powerful stuff indeed.
If you haven’t registered and completed badges 101 yet, I really would urge you to stop at this point and go and do it. It’ll take you no more than 5 minutes and the rest of this post might make more sense. Then come back.
Right, let’s go on.
This idea, combined with the more student centred approach I’ve been trying to develop in my ICT teaching over the last few years (my current moto: Get out of the way) has lead me to imagine a new way of delivering ICT at KS3. I’m sure there any many problems with this, but this is intended as an initial sketch.
Before we get on to this, much of the talk on twitter at the moment is around the idea of replacing ‘ICT’ with ‘Digital Studies’ in England and the great work going on in re imaging what this might look like. This suggestion is not (yet) part of those ideas for two reasons:
1. In Wales we still have the ICT NC which needs to be followed
2. The posts I’ve read on digital studies are still quite teacher centred – the teacher decides what topic is to be followed when and how. I’m looking at the possibilities offered by the technology to do something a little more student centred.
That said, I would urge you to have a look at the digital studies wiki and some of the great blog posts coming out from those involved in developing the idea. You can follow the #digitalstudies hashtag on Twitter to look out for these.
To me, there are two main problems with the current ICT curriculum.
The first is that students are coming in to us with a huge range of existing skills and experience and this is getting wider year on year. This is making traditional ‘teacher led’ lessons virtually impossible. We’ve moved towards a more open, problem solving approach recently, but I still feel there is work to be done providing support for weaker students and letting those at top really fly.
Secondly, in some cases, the work students are doing outside the class that is far more advanced that the work we’re doing in class. I’d like some way for that to be noted and accredited.
So, what would the new system look like?
KS3 would have access to a series of self contained ‘challenges’ based around software, tools, websites etc. Each would be hosted (probably on Moodle) with all the materials needed (either in the form of videos, text instructions or links) along with a forum to provide community support.
Some of these would be compulsory, others would be optional. Some would be quite prescriptive, others would be more open. Some would be traditional ‘ICT’ tasks, others would be more ‘computing’ based, others could open up some of the issues around digital literacies and digital society. Challenges would be of a range of difficulties, and students would be free to start at which ever point they felt appropriate. They could move straight to the assessment task at the end, or complete a series of warm up activities if they needed.
The successful completion of a challenge would earn a badge. Until the Open Badges framework was ready these could be awarded either in Edmodo or using a Moodle plugin
Much of the content would come from existing ICT resources, it would just need to be repackaged. Others could be developed over time, some even by other students as tasks for advanced badges. All content should be able to be packaged up and shared with other schools.
What’s missing / what could go wrong
This is just an early sketch. The number and nature of the tasks would need to be developed with the ICT dept
One of the really nice ideas in some of the digital studies development work is the idea of a bportfolio – a student blog that would allow them to record their thoughts on longer, more pbl style projects. While this isn’t here, one idea could be that a number of the final projects would be published online as part of the task. Students could use a Google Site for this.
With students working on different tasks, the role of teacher would need to redefined. There is the potential for a heavy marking load – although some badges could be created to be automarked.
We’d need to consider how homework would work and be monitored.
We can’t (currently) add modules to our school moodle (which is managed by the LEA). This would potentially mean students working across three platforms – Moodle to access materials, Edmodo to submit and get their badges and Google Sites to publish some of their work.
Badges are explicitly NOT linked to NC levels. This is part because we now longer use them to mark work for students. However, tasks can be matched back to help teachers track progress.
Whatever happens, I would like to see the following kept
- The principle of student choice
- Projects at a variety of depth and length, the completion of which earn badges
- Students at all years in KS3 get access to the same ‘menu’ of choices.
- Students supporting each other through a community behind each task
Those students who fly through this could move on to advanced badges. This could include creation of other tasks or perhaps these could become digital leaders.
So, what do you think? What have I missed? What other opportunities are there to make this even better? What else could go wrong I haven’t thought about? I’d appreciate your comments below!
That seems to be drawing a growing number of people into ever increasingly sophisticed rubrics – breaking down responses and drawing up ladders that show students where they are and what their next target is. And I can see the attraction in that. I’ve tried it myself over the years, and it seems to be one of the ideas that has resurfaced in the recent National Curriculum Review in England
But I can’t quite square that with my growing belief that learning should be student centred, and the fact that my lessons are increasingly open for students to go an explore and make discoveries. Maybe I’m just not a good enough teacher yet, but I don’t know how to make an achievement ladder for that, and I’m not sure it wouldn’t get in the way. After all, a student who has mastered getting information from a simple source now needs to apply those skills to a trickier source, but I’m not sure how to level that, or turn it into a grid.
It was with this in mind I came across this quote that I’d bookmarked a little while ago:
The mistake I was making was seeing feedback as something teachers provided to students—they typically did not, although they made claims that they did it all the time, and most of the feedback they did provide was social and behavioral. It was only when I discovered that feedback was most powerful when it is from the student to the teacher that I started to understand it better. When teachers seek, or at least are open to, feedback from students as to what students know, what they understand, where they make errors, when they have misconceptions, when they are not engaged—then teaching and learning can be synchronized and powerful. Feedback to teachers helps make learning visible.
Hattie, 2009; 173
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In our dept we’ve been looking at various ways of making peer and self assessment more meaningful and at the same time helping to speed up the time it takes us to mark students books at KS3. We’ve been experimenting with various forms of comment stickers, and I thought it would be useful to share my current version 1
I use this list in three ways.
- I’ve got them printed out on small pieces of paper which can be glued into students books and used by me or them to comment on how things are going on. Rather than a tick box exercise, we use the 2 stars and a wish approach (although we use the whole school terms of ‘What Went Well’ and ‘Even Better If’.
- If we’re doing some reflection, perhaps updating students learning goals, I’ll project the list and get them to select two things they think they’re doing well and one thing that will become their next target
- I’ve just turned the list into an A2 poster which will go at the front of my room, next to my giant copy of Bloom’s Taxonomy
Date & Title underlined
Book kept tidy
Pens, pencils, rulers used in the right places
Use of colour in notes
Work finished and up to date
Spelling of subject words
Answers in full sentences
Facts / figures / dates used in answers
Level of detail in answers
Quotes from sources
Explaining your points
Do you use anything similar? How could list be improved? Let me know in the comments!
- I fully expect this to change again, probably developing the third section in some way ↩