Sunday 21 June 2015

Why Can't Our Impact Be Measured By...

  •  ...the times during a lesson a child says, "Ooohhh, I get it now!" in the way teachers get so excited about? Even if it's after a fifth or sixth different explanation? 
  • ...the smiles on children's faces as they enter our classroom? Or perhaps by the quantity who say, "Thank you" at the end of the day?  Surely that's the sign of a great teacher? 
  • ...the good choices made by pupils when they've done something wrong? When they own up immediately and apologise with heart?  What about those children who choose to do the right thing when previously they would have chosen the other option? 
  • ...the unprompted learning which children complete at home? Their page of maths calculations which they did when 'playing schools' or the thousands of questions they answered on an educational game before breakfast?
  • ...the quality of work, views and comments from around the world on the school blogs? Surely they demonstrate wonderful learning and brilliant opportunities? 
  • ...the free extra-curricular activities which we diligently run after, before and during school in order to provide a holistic experience for the pupils we value so much?  Don't they give opportunities for children to shine and be proud of something they've learned? 
  • ...the messages we receive in cards and on little notes? These show that parents and children are happy with the job we are doing...doesn't that count for something? 
  • ...the value we put on the non-core subjects that are being desperately squeezed out in favour of 'more important' subjects?  Surely keeping children active and involved in the arts is having a positive impact on their learning too? 
  • ...the quality of the productions we stage? Or our sporting achievements?  What about the quality of the crops which our gardening club produce? Or the skills of our chess players? 
...instead of by a series of meaningless numbers decided on one day at the end of their time with us for which they lose real learning opportunities while relentlessly practising test skills?

Sunday 7 June 2015

Assessing Reading in the 2014 Primary Curriculum (KS2)

After many blog posts based around teaching reading in the 2014 National Curriculum, lots of people have enquired about assessment.  As a school, we've had a long journey about assessment in general and are by no means *there* (wherever that is!).  Something we, in year four, have found particularly useful are these reading objective sheets for key stage two.  I envisage them being used in many different ways, some of which I have outlined below.

Lower Key Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4):

Upper Key Stage 2 (Years 5 and 6)

We have used these sheets in our planning to ensure that we are covering all of the objectives throughout the year.  All the objectives for key stage 2 are split up into the RIC logos and so can be easily linked to the whole-class plans in the Google Drive folder.  Also, these sheets can also be used to save time writing objectives, as I know some schools still have to each lesson.  This year, my class have been writing the RIC word which we are focusing on each lesson.  For example: Choice or Viewpoint.  However, next year I'd like to stick one of these in each child's reading book and they write the RIC objective and the number underneath.  For example: in year 4, if we were retrieving from fiction and non-fiction texts, children would write 'Retrieve 4' at the top of their work.  When it comes to making a judgement, it will be quick to see their work for each objective in their book.

As we head towards the end of the year, these objective sheets are proving useful for assessment too. If you are doing carousel guided-reading, these can be edited to create assessment documents for teacher group sessions.  However, if you've made the move to whole-class guided reading, you will have a lot of written evidence over the year to cover each of the objectives.   The objectives sheets could then be used to check the extent to which groups of children have achieved the objectives.  I have included an example below from a recent reading moderation with an explanation below.

Highlighted number = some evidence of achieving the objective.
Highlighted objective = objective achieved independently across a range of contexts. 

For moderation purposes, I used different coloured mini post-its to show which objective under the RIC headings was on that page and put notes of extra things to consider.  This made it quick and easy for my colleagues to moderate my judgement.  We only did this for one child's work as it is a lot of effort! From doing this for only one child, it became clear which objectives we still need to cover before the end of the year so was a very useful exercise. 

Other ideas for using the objective sheets:
  • Stick it in the front of the child's book - highlight when they've achieved an objective.  You can then use it at the end of the year to make a best-fit judgement according to your assessment system. 
  • Complete for groups in the class to judge the extent to which those children are covering the objectives, a bit like how APP was meant to be used! 
  • Complete for each child (consider how useful this time is??)
  • Children have a copy in their book.  They keep track of which they think they've achieved throughout the year as you teach.  
To download these objective sheets, including editable versions, and all the other RIC resources for free, click here.  If you have any other ideas for using these objective sheets or for assessing reading in the new curriculum, get in touch in the comments below or on Twitter