Monday, 14 May 2012

Assessing students up to age 14 - A better future. Part 10 - At what age should this type of tracking begin? (& tracking inputs)

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Young children need to have access to a curriculum which allows them to develop different skills at different times.  Thus during the EYFS and KS1 the emphasis on tracking progress should be placed not on the outcomes in the child but on the child having access to well structured and appropriate learning opportunities.  I think it's reasonable to argue that such an approach could also apply to year 3, creating more space within which a focus on students engaging with the formative concrete tasks which will give students a secure foundation for the later abstraction of insights can be cherished.

So it would be more appropriate for a school to use a tracking system based on an ICT framework like this to share information with parents regarding a child's progress through a reading scheme and their engagement with wider schemes of activities than it would be to share information about the particular attainment targets a child has reached. The focus should be on progress with formative rather than summative activities.

I would hope that a criteria based tracking system for older children would retain a component strand which creates space for each child's engagement with activities which  are intended for formative rather than summative purposes to be shared.  For example if a class is engaging with a practical investigation in mathematics for a single lesson, it should be possible for the teacher to record in a couple of sentences what took place during the lessons and export that comment instantly to the record of every child who was there.  If students took part in an investigation which lasted for several lessons it might be appropriate for a teacher to record individual comments regarding what they achieved (the teacher may also want to store photos of work).  Older students or teachers may then wish to refer to these comments when they are reviewing their progress against criteria which are not so easily assessed, such as their ability to select which pieces of knowledge to use in practical contexts, their confidence in finding strategies to move on when they are stuck and their skills in co-operating with other students.

I would suggest that designers of such systems take care to pay separate attention to the needs of students, parents and teacher up to the age of 8 and their needs from ages 8-14 and should then look to merge the systems on to a single framework.  Ideally I would have completely separate teams working on the designs for the two systems - bringing them together to design an product which includes both systems only when they are well advanced in their thinking.

Assessing students up to the age of 14 – A better future  QUICK LINKS

1 comment:

  1. I found this discussion useful in helping to develop my thoughts in this area.

    In essence I thing any tracking system for students up to the age of 8 should be about tracking and suggesting a diversity of inputs and not about measuring progress in the child.

    However we could also be using tracking to pro-actively monitor for issues which are likely to be a barrier to later learning so that we can intervene to militate against those issues. These are not just physical and medical issues. This list is quoted as being from the Ofsted report "Removing Barriers to Literacy" in the discussion I have referenced in this comment:

    1. Marked speech delay
    2. Impoverished linguistic experience
    3. Low aspirations in the home
    4. Few settled routines or clear boundaries for behaviour
    5. Poor attendance
    6. A reluctance by parents/carers to engage with school
    7. Limited experience of life beyond the immediate community.
    8. Socio-economic and cultural factors
    9. Health and welfare difficulties
    10. Additional learning needs not identified earlier