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Assessment in History

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#31 JohnDClare


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Posted 26 June 2004 - 09:26 PM

Has anybody seen the latest edition of Teaching History?

Seven articles on Assessment, of which I found the first five stimulating reading:

Assessment without Level Descriptions
Sally Burnham and Geraint Brow explain how they refuse to use levels or even level descriptors until the final KS3 assessment. They argue that progress is about 'climbing frames' not 'ladders', and they propose what might be described as an intervention model, which allows the teacher to get in there and help the pupils move on.

Stop worrying and love assessment
Mark Cottingham (a lecturer) posits a dichotomy between NC level assessments and the modern AfL models. Invites departments to construct their own progression models.

Rigorous, Meaningful and Robust
Simon Harrison, Hampshire AST, describes how he has produced common assessment tasks to help teachers 'add real meaning to their KS3 assessment'. The focus seems to be replacing generalised levels with skills-focussed markschemes. Another 'assessment without levels' model.

Continual Assessment in Year 8
Karl Cain and Christina Neal deny that pupils progress systemitically up the NC 'ladder', so we need to adjust our assessment models accordingly. They suggest that we need to build in some (peer- and self-assessment) mechanisms to make pupils reflect on their learning.

When is a comment not worth the paper its written on?
Simon Butler argues for 'comments only' marking, allowing pupil reflection and based around 'milestones in the pupils' learning'.

Joan of Arc
Andrew Wrenn - a practical example of developing a depth stidy in KS3, starting at the assessment end. A bit disappointing - rambling, overworked, and a little routine at the end of the day. But a simple model that you should at least be able to emulate.

Experiences from Ontario
Shows at least that we may be behind the Canadians when it comes to ice hockey, but we are ahead of them when it comes to AfL.

Brave of Christine Counsell to dip her toe in the water on this one, though AfL is perhaps becoming a less controversial issue, and a general body of confirmed opinion does seem to be emerging. What amused me is that, I have just finally got my levels marsheme up and working!

Has anybody else read these articles? What did you think?

#32 claire myers

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Posted 09 July 2004 - 12:12 AM

I have just read the first article to which you refer, what summarized the whole article for me was the admission by one converted teacher that whilst labouring under the yolk of nc level descriptors whole lessons were spent talking about level 5b instead of history! I too have been there and you just know it is not right. This article has got to be essential reading!

Having returned to teaching after a 15 year break and with no retraining I have spent the last 3 years struggling with the national curriculum level descriptors, translating them to pupil speak, displaying them enlarged at the front of the class, shrinking them to fit in books, inventing markschemes for assessments which reflect the level descriptors,.........and yet never quite comfortable with the result.

Are the level descriptors the emperor's new clothes and are we the tailors, slogging away on level descriptors that just don't work? Could Sally and Geraint be the little boy who first shouts out that the emperor is naked? (Am I getting carried away with this similie?)

But what to do? My school insists on termly level descriptors throughout ks3 and also that level descriptors are placed in each classroom so to some extent my hands are tied. How would y8 and y9 feel if we suddenly stopped referring to levels? Should we start with y7? And what about all the hours of work stitching our assessments together? I have talked to some teachers from some of the highest achieving shcools in our area and they have all ditched the descriptors and stopped grading pupils. I feel like I am about two years behind everyone else and playing catch up. :curse:

What are other departments doing? we are still using the ladders system but it is not really satisfactory, the climbing frame model seems to make so much more sense but how to implement it? would love to hear from departments who have ditched the nc levels at ks3 or do you stand by the level descriptors. Please read this article and reply.

#33 S Lilley

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Posted 09 July 2004 - 10:48 AM

hi all - regarding Sally Wilson (Burnham) s piece - i work with her and her assessments for learning are brilliant and are really worth following - i do keep telling her to log on and discuss - maybe in the next week i can coerce her into logging in....


#34 georginadunn


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Posted 13 July 2004 - 08:48 AM

There are a group of history teachers in Derbyshire who regularly get together to discuss current issues and we are hoping to coerce Sally to come and speak to us, as two of us are in regular contact with her.

Think the article is definitely worth pursuing and makes for interesting reading.
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#35 Dan Lyndon

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 02:46 PM

I have chosen to devote alot of department time to assessment this term and have been reading this seminar and the Teaching History vol 113 that is dedicated to this topic. It is interesting how much overlap there is between the two. I think that the main issue that I am going to discuss with my department is how to co-ordinate the different forms of assessment that we use ranging from formal 'core' assessments to informal q&a at the end of a lesson in order to make an effective judgement on progress. I also want to discuss what are the most effective ways of a] marking and b] recording the outcomes. I know that I want to move away from grades to diagnostic marking comments but I am also wary of letting this slip into an excuse for not marking or at the least not recording effectively, an issue that has come up recently. I also need to think about how to record progress in my mark book if I don't use grades. Has anyone pioneered this approach? and if so could you share with us how you do this
Until the lion has a historian of his own, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.

#36 Guest_Nick Dennis_*

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 12:03 PM

At a recent inset, the speaker suggested using the GCSE marking levels (1-4 and modified) to provide the mark scheme for KS3. The benefits of this system would be that pupils/staff focus on the GCSE, which is of paramount importance as History is one of the worst performing departments in the school. :(

We would have to stick for the NC levels for standardised assessments (3 a year and exam) to fulfil certain demands. What do others think? I'm aware that this might lead to overkill in terms of focus on the GCSE, but I also think it may act as an incentive to move up a level when there are only four rather than eight.

Edited by Nick Dennis, 15 February 2005 - 04:50 PM.

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