Tag-Archive for ◊ assessment ◊

ICT Curriculum and Assessment
Monday, November 19th, 2012 | Author:

As you may know, I have spent many months writing, changing and adapting lessons for our ICT scheme of work. It’s gone from a stand-alone lesson towards a more cross-curricular approach and it hasn’t been plain sailing. I have created a website, www.ictplanning.co.uk, and this has been the home of the ideas for around a year. It started as a Google site, became a WordPress blog and has now changed the look and feel again. It originally had 11 areas to look at, each with a few more inside. I have now changed it to have 4 key areas, each with 6-7 sub-areas.

The sub-areas are set out in a similar way to Simon Haughton’s curriculum in that it looks at the end goal of creating an e-book, using spreadsheets or designing a website. My theory is that if the children can achieve these goals by the end of Year 6, we will have done a great job. Even if they haven’t achieved everything, they will have been exposed to a range of ideas, tools and software along the way and this will still be a wider variety than they will receive in many other schools.

Previously I had decided the areas and then put assessment on the back-burner until later. Although when I re-arranged it, I tried to put assessment at the forefront so that it went hand-in-hand with the plans. Before I was trying to level blogging and animation and it became too cumbersome and complicated. Now I have simplified the process to make it more accessible for teachers and children. Again, as I have stressed before, this is a system for my school, based on our situation and our needs. If others use the website, find it useful and adapt it for their own school, that’s great. If not, that’s fine too.

So for the assessment I have got rid of the levels and replaced them three medals. These are bronze, silver and gold. There has been discussion at school, with children too, about what they mean. Does bronze mean KS1? Does gold mean Y6? Not really. In some areas gold is easier to reach than in others, but generally:

  • Bronze – Gettings to grips with the idea, trying a few things out
  • Silver – Becoming more confident, making more decisions
  • Gold – Applying what I know into new situations, thinking about my audience, producing consistently good quality work
It might be that children achieve bronze and silver in year 2, it might be that they don’t get any medals in one area, such as spreadsheets, until y5. It is flexible. As it needs to be.

How will this look on the reports? Who knows. Previously we gave statements based on levels in the mid-year report and ten a level at the end of the year. These levels were difficult to separate as all of KS2 were either level 3, 4 or 5. This new system might make it easier to differentiate what a child is good at or what they need to work on. They might be a silver at website design but they might not have achieved a bronze in databases.

So I have split the website into the four areas (Computing and Programming, Using Text and Graphics, Researching and Communicating and Creating Multimedia). Within these areas are the sub-areas and on each sub-area page I have listed the steps for success. On the pages of the site, along with the steps, there are suggestions of software to use with examples, how-to guides and help sheets where possible. More of these will be added soon.

When it comes to the assessment, each sub-area, such as animation, has a simple poster with the steps for success listed for the teachers to share with the children.

An example poster based on Editing Audio.

Each child then has an assessment card with the medals listed and a paper insert with the statements so that they can see the next steps. The Digital Leaders suggested that having the paper middle was a good idea as they want to see how they can improve. This also means if they are learning about e-books, but also cover blogging, they can see both areas at once. The children can then also tick off the statements when they feel they have achieved them and then the teacher can sign the card too. After discussion it was decided that KS1 wouldn’t have the paper insert.

A snippet of the sheets that the children have.

So these have all been given out at school and now I await the verdict of the rest of the children. We will see how effective this is across the school but already it has brought up discussions about the different tasks that could be completed in order to meet the objectives.

I’d be interested to hear what you think.

To download the documents for yourself, visit the ICT Planning website.

Assessing ICT
Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 | Author:

I’ve tried and tried but I simply can’t put it off any longer. From September we will need to have a system in place for assessing ICT. I need to know which children are doing well in ICT and I need them (and their teachers) to know what the next steps are.

You may be thinking that I am bonkers, after all, many schools will not be assessing or reporting on ICT after the disapplication of it earlier this year. But I still need to plan progressive lessons with opportunities to be challenged and to improve. So I’m doing it anyway.

We were planning on doing something on our own but many other primary and secondaries are looking into it, so we might end up with something collaborative. We have a meeting with other local schools and our local secondary tomorrow to discuss this idea further. But I have a problem. I’ve seen two secondary schools provide assessment grids for me to look at and they are miles away from what we are doing. For example, one said Level 3 is logging on to the network yet as primary teachers would know, this can be done in Reception. The other said that Level 3 involved being able to define an algorithm when programming. I don’t think I could do that easily. Now this isn’t a stab at secondaries, more of a question about where do the levels cross over? I teach children Level 1-5, they generally start at Level 3. Seeing how these will combine together will be interesting and I am very glad we have a great secondary school to work with on this.

Also this week we received the data from Hampshire LA that stated although we were ahead of the majority of schools in Level 3 and Level 4 children, we were behind in Level 5 for ICT. We send levels each year and get them back as graphs and analysis. My head-teacher (rightly) questioned the results. Why are we behind in Level 5s? The answer in my opinion? We’re not. It is just very hard to pick out what makes a Level 5 child. How are they being assessed? On what criteria? If all schools are doing this differently then we will all come out with different results, but that’s fine. When we were at ReThinkingICT we were discussing Level 5 children and secondary schools said that they found it difficult too. I know our children have more, and better, ICT opportunities than a lot of other schools, so I’m happy.

So..my plans? Coming up with a badge system that  will give children an idea of what they will need to do to improve. It will start by looking at what I would expect/hope a Year 2 child would be able to do, then a Year 4 child and finally a Year 6 child. For this, Bronze would be Year 2, Silver Year 4 and Gold Year 6. For more advanced children, they could try for the Platinum award. This could take in their learning in class and at home. But how do I find this out and assess it? Hhhmmm..need to think about that. These badges will not necessarily be focused on levels, but may use them as a guideline.

When I discussed this with the children, they loved the idea but their biggest question was “Is it a physical badge? or if it’s online, where does it go?” and I’m not sure yet. Maybe on a portfolio somewhere. I know Edmodo has badges, but my children didn’t like that very much.

For the Summer holidays I have set myself two badges to write out. One for Animation and the other for Programming/Game Design. So what are the expectations for a Year 2 child when it comes to animation? Or a year 6 child? When we have done stop-motion animation this year, a lot of the Y3/4 videos looked similar to the 5/6 ones. Is this able Year 3/4 or less-able 5/6?

There are lots of things to think about and I am very much looking forward to tomorrow’s meeting when we can bounce ideas around as a group.

What do you think? Would you like to help out with some ideas? Let me know!

Thinking Out Loud – Assessing ICT
Sunday, November 27th, 2011 | Author:

How do you assess ICT in your school? That is one of the questions I have been asking myself since starting at my school just over a year ago. It’s been on my to-do list since then and I keep pushing it downwards, until now. We currently report to parents twice a year and this involves a statement in the Spring and then a level in the Summer.

The level in the summer is a whole level and not a sub-level. For the statements in the Spring, we write some generic statements for upper and lower levels e.g. upper level 3, lower level 3, and then assign these to the children. There is also a brief description of some ICT work that we had been doing that year. This reporting is just for Key Stage 2 children.

Last year I wrote the statements for the whole school and one of my targets is to make my role sustainable. This means making the assessment process sustainable too. So where to start?

I think that the assessment process should be:

  • Easy for staff to use
  • Not too much work!
  • Laid out in such a way that the children are included in the process and know what their next steps are
  • Flexible so we can adapt it to different ICT areas as we embed  it within the curriculum
I have always found assessing ICT to be very difficult. In my time visiting schools as an ICT Mark Assessor I always ask to see a school’s assessment procedure as I have been looking for something that will work. Nothing has grabbed me so far. I’ve seen skills-based lists where the teachers tick off the boxes as the children learn to change the font size or colour, but in reality does it matter?? Surely once you get to Year 3, you want to know which children CAN’T do these tasks don’t you?

In my previous school we introduced child-speak levels from 1-5 and each child had 1 A4 sheet which had their current and next level on it. We then ticked off the objectives as they achieved them. This went so well they soon got introduced for all other subjects meaning the children were trying to assess themselves using 10+ pages of objectives. Not ideal.

So, now what?

I want something that will recognise the excellent abilities that some of my children have, challenge others to improve their learning and focus the teaching even further to ensure children are able to succeed. By this last point, I don’t want teachers teaching to the assessment procedure just to tick the boxes, but I do want them to know the progression from beginner to advanced abilities.
I read Kevin McLaughlin‘s blog post about the badge idea. This is a system that gives recognition for skills and achievements. I was thinking of making these badges linked to the National Curriculum levels so that a bronze badge would equal level 2, silver is level 3, gold level 4 and platinum level 5. I don’t feel like I need to have anything for level 1.

To achieve the badge, the children would have to meet certain criteria. Now this could be achieved as part of their ICT lessons in school or at home. So for example at the moment in Year 5/6 the children have been looking at Audacity to import audio and make a radio broadcast. They could then assess their work and decide if they are ‘applying’ for the bronze award or the gold award. This would ensure children are able to assess their own work and if we make the different badges public, they can see how to get to the next one. So surely they’d want to try and apply the skills needed to get the gold/platinum awards?

I also think it is important to include work that they do outside of the classroom too. Now I know there is the possibility that their siblings or parents could help, but is it really worth it just for the sake of a certificate/badge? We have some children that are happily blogging and commenting at home, so it would be great to award them a badge for this commitment and ability that they are showing.

The badges would be linked to the new ICT planning that we have in school so it all makes it easier to manage. One thing we need to do is record the levels as we go, so we could create a document with names down the side and topics along the top. The current award could be listed in the boxes and we just change it as the children progress through the awards.

So does this sound like a possible way forward? Is it the sort of scheme that could work? I think the children would really enjoy collecting their various awards as they work their way up the school.

The next step is to draft out an example award scheme. I think I’ll start with blogging. What would a bronze blogger look like compared to a platinum one? I am sharing this idea with the other teachers at my school on Tuesday this week, so I would love to hear any comments (positive/negative) so that I can anticipate what they might ask me!

Like I said, I am very keen for your comments. Do you think this would work? This would be public so would it be something you’d like to try in your school? Or do you already have an assessment procedure that works? If you do, what is it? How do you assess ICT?

**I do have to point out, I would much rather use intrinsic rewards within my teaching rather than certificates etc, but for this, I think extrinsic rewards would help. It doesn’t have to be a physical certificate, it could just be an online award, but still, extrinsic seems to be the best approach,

ICT Cluster – Assessment
Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 | Author:

Autumn 2009 Assessment Links

Below you will find details of all of the websites used or referenced within the Cluster meeting.

HIAS ICT Moodle – Click Primary and then assessment

Skills linked to QCA schemes of Work.

I Can statements – KS1 and KS2 linked to QCA topics

Assessment in ICT

I can statements for KS1 and KS2 for QCA Schemes of work. Includes Year-by-year progression grid.

Pupil Self-assessment Sheets

Prompt sheet to help assessment

What is ICT capability?

Abbotswood Assessment