To integrate assessment with learning, we need to know whether students understood individual ideas and skills, to modify teaching, and how they are progressing towards exam-readiness long-term scientific literacy. Each requires an assessment approach that is easy to use and provides valid, reliable information.
The inputs in this theme aim to answer questions like: how do you make assessment authentic ? Is there an evidence-based tracking system without levels or 1-9 grades? How do you plan in effective diagnostic assessment and intervention?
Presentation slides and handouts
Testing what we teach
Teaching with an eye to the specification rather than where we’re up to in the scheme has freed me up to be more aware of what my students know. I try to set them tasks that provide ‘evidence of learning’ and give repeated subsequent opportunities for practice and improvement. This approach means fewer students feel written off because I make it clear that we’ll be learning more and coming back to things. Of course, GCSE is eventually the stepping-off point for many of them.
In my talk, I will share examples of suitable task and encourage you to devise your own. I will explain how I use criteria lists in books and a class notebook to decide on improvements to feed back to students, so that I can track who still needs to grasp what.
What teachers need to know about their Y7 pupils – transition
By the end of primary education, many pupils see themselves as young scientists. They are capable of assessing their own work, can act on feedback from teachers and peers and with their teachers, can identify their next steps in learning. For many years, schools have struggled to find a way to capture the progress that eleven year olds have made so that it can be built upon in secondary school without starting all over again. How do we ensure children make a smooth transition to their new school?
This presentation reports on a major 6-year research and development project, Teacher Assessment in Primary Science, which has put the principles of assessment for learning into practice. It has enabled schools to develop their own valid, reliable and manageable approaches.
With its focus on responsive teaching and active pupil involvement, we believe the approach primary schools are now taking to teacher assessment may have significant potential for secondary schools. We also propose that new thinking is required to enable pupils to make the transition as empowered, autonomous learners. Perhaps you will join us in developing innovative approaches to transition?
Evidence based tracking for teachers vs progress data for SLT
In computing we abandoned levels at the first opportunity and moved to a mastery-style assessment. This was a natural extension of the assessment model we were using in KS3 and 4, and provides all the data pupils and staff need to work together and achieve progress for all. However, we still had to provide assessment data to SLT in a form that suited their tracking.
We now use two systems: one for in-class assessment and feedback to learners, and one that is tailored to providing data for tracking systems. I am now trying to mirror this system in my science teaching. I am building on mastery assessments within topics and providing timely and targeted interventions for pupils with the minimum extra work load for staff. Alongside this we have moved away from topic tests to longer, formal tests that provide the data to monitor progress.
The next step is to decide the best way to track progress. In computing we used tests that cover the full 1 to 9 range from day 1. This ensured pupils know we don’t expect them to know everything on the test, but to do what they can. As their mastery grows they can access more questions and topics and make more progress. Should we consider a system like this science, with termly tests based on SAT’s or GCSE papers from day one, to provide reliable comparable data?
Assessing enquiry processes using Scientific Skill Assessment Proformas
We have developed Scientific Skills Assessment proforma to use with our KS3 curriculum. They have proved effective, both in guiding students on how to do specific enquiry processes but also in providing feedback on how well they have performed. We expect students to act on this feedback so we can check they have made progress.
Currently, we are amending these to fit in with the new KS3 Syllabus enquiry processes. We intend to include proforma for developing skills such as critique claims, justify opinions, examine consequences and interrogate sources. The latter are important processes students will need to master for both the KS4 and KS5 Science curriculum.
We believe that by following a consistent strategy for mastering the four-key areas of Working Scientifically (Analyse, Enquiry, Communicate, Solve) we will be able to provide a thorough diagnostic and feedback tool to assess student performance. This will be critical when tracking students and judging if they are making expected progress.