The word progressive is use to suggest forward movement, rather than a pedagogical style, although some element of the blog may be suggestive of a style. It looks at information feeding forward to support decision making.
That assessment is, or has been made to become, complex, seems to be a daily matter on social media. Some simplify it to formal testing, while others add regular quizzes, book scrutiny or discussions. In many ways, assessment is an amalgam of all of them, in that each is an opportunity for a child to perform in a specific situation, each of which can elicit a facet of the child’s understanding, even if that is a phobia of testing.
Few, if any of them can create a full picture of a child’s total performance; even the most sophisticated exam will often enable a child to pass or fail on the basis of a norm referenced outcome. A child getting 46% where the pass mark is 45% achieves, but, by definition has a 55% “gap” in understanding. This kind of formula will apply to KS2 SAT outcomes, GCSE “O” and GCE “A” levels. Unless a child gets 100% in an exam that tests everything, they have a “gap” in their knowledge. No one is perfect. Mind you, the National Curriculum does allude to that expectation, in that the only assessment criterion, first articulated in the draft documentation, was to know and understand the contents of the programme of study.
Apart from the terminal exams, which I have argued, within KS2, could be better organised into year 4 as diagnostic tests to support development in years 5&6, most assessment is of a day to day variety, which I summarised in the 3G assessment system blog.
Teachers are first and foremost human. They normally have a class of 30 children, in Primary, for every subject.
I have to presuppose that the tasking of the children has been tailored as carefully as possible to their needs, not just a sheet downloaded from the internet as an “activity”, which can become de facto “busy work”. This presupposition of matching needs also includes the idea of challenge.
Before differentiation became a word, match and challenge were the bywords for activities.
To that end, it is worth thinking about aides-memoire, for the teacher and support adults, which can enable them to guide a child’s development in a detailed manner. Readers of the blog may already have looked at the blogs on developing exercise books as personal organisers. In this blog, I want to make use of the premise of that blog and develop the idea further to support assessment activity.
Any readers old enough to remember the series of GCE revision guide series based on playing cards? That principle, of essential knowledge, has similarities. Flaps could support revision at a later stage.
The target flap, where some teachers might be less happy with individual target setting, could be transposed into a teacher aide memoire. I have simplified this to WILF, to suggest “what I’m Looking For”. I know some hate WALT and WILF, but it provides a useful shorthand. This can be used for general ideas in a subject that might transcend the differences between lessons, whereas the specifics can be detailed in Success Criteria for that lesson. The “teacher flap” could be seen as feed forward marking, if general needs exist.
Children, especially from upper infants, can begin to self-assess against criteria, and can be asked to highlight specifics within their work that exemplify the expectations of the lesson and their ongoing learning, eg if one of their “targets” was “conjunctions” or “fronted adverbials” and they can highlight/underline correctly an example in their writing, the teacher marking is eased a little.
Using the left-right page idea allows for some editing and redrafting of ideas. A contents page at the front eases finding specific topics. Summarising boxes can be developed, perhaps in the right hand corner of the right hand page to identify key ideas for memorisation. Quickly flicking through the book at a later stage can enable rapid recall.
Order and organisation can support child and adult working practice.
In Primary, consideration of all significant writing in one exercise book can enhance the value of each piece. In fact, it might be worth considering one book for English (main writing), Topic (other writing) and maths, with a sketch book to secure aspects of art.
Passing books within transition periods and continuity of working within them enables receiving teachers to maintain the quality that was achieved in July. Planning a two week “settling and sorting topic” allows this to embed before moving forward.
Order and organisation can support assessment, progress and secure outcomes.