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HOW CAN ASSESSMENT IMPROVE LEARNING IN PRIMARY SCIENCE? ED WALSH, CORNWALL LEARNING.

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Presentation on theme: "HOW CAN ASSESSMENT IMPROVE LEARNING IN PRIMARY SCIENCE? ED WALSH, CORNWALL LEARNING."— Presentation transcript:

1 HOW CAN ASSESSMENT IMPROVE LEARNING IN PRIMARY SCIENCE? ED WALSH, CORNWALL LEARNING

2 INTRODUCTION Teacher for 20 years, 12 as subject co-ordinator Curriculum developer: Development team for APP in Science Consultant to Rising Stars and Classroom Monitor Series Editor, Collins KS3 Science Science Editor, Cornwall Learning’s Inspire Curriculum Regional Science Adviser, AQA Regional Development Lead, Science Learning Centres PSQM hub leader

3 CONTEXT Teachers experience is of working with Programmes of Study that use level descriptors to plan for progression Use of assessment tools that are based on and report in levels Use of ‘levels of progress’ as being a key performance indicator Current expectation to move away from the use of levels, whilst still tracking progress and planning teaching accordingly

4 STRUCTURE 1) Developing a sense of progression 2) Identifying the outcomes 3) Deciding if outcomes have been met 4) Making use of the evidence

5 1) DEVELOPING A SENSE OF PROGRESSION Science is a hierarchical subject: Processes of science, such as spotting patterns in data, should become more challenging as pupils become more competent The concepts being studied should also become more complex, so that answers to bigger and more complex questions can be developed It is sometimes necessary to understand one idea before another one becomes accessible. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the later idea is more complex but it has implications for planning teaching

6 WHAT THE INSPECTOR SAW… “When things went wrong, it was more often to do with teachers thinking they knew the science involved when actually they did not, or attempting a lesson that was too difficult or too easy for the pupils, given their abilities and prior knowledge. The latter occurred when teachers had an insufficient understanding of progression in the curriculum, both in general terms, and in the specific experiences of their pupils. In a few cases, insecure subject knowledge led to insecure assessment of standards…” Maintaining curiosity

7 DEVELOPING PROGRESSION IN CONCEPTS - distinguish between an object & the material from which it is made - identify & name a variety of everyday materials, e.g. wood, plastic, glass, metal, water & rock - describe the simple physical properties of a variety of everyday materials - compare & group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of their simple physical properties (Y1) - identify & compare the suitability of a variety of everyday materials, e.g. wood, metal, plastic, glass, brick, rock, paper & cardboard for particular uses (Y2)

8 DEVELOPING PROGRESSION IN CONCEPTS - identify & compare the suitability of a variety of everyday materials, e.g. wood, metal, plastic, glass, brick, rock, paper & cardboard for particular uses (Y2) - compare & group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of their appearance & simple physical properties (Y3)

9 DEVELOPING PROGRESSION IN CONCEPTS - describe the simple physical properties of a variety of everyday materials - compare & group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of their simple physical properties (Y1) - compare & group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of their appearance & simple physical properties (Y3)

10 WHAT THE INSPECTOR SAW… “In about a third of the primary schools visited, pupils knew how well they were doing and what they needed to do to improve. This proportion is not high enough and contrasts with the generally good information that the same pupils had about their work in English and mathematics, almost always from the same teacher. In the best practice seen, each pupil had a tracking sheet showing what she or he needed to do to achieve the different levels of science investigation. This was supported when teachers annotated pupils’ work to point out which targets were being met. The pupils were also clear about the level they were aiming to achieve.” Maintaining curiosity

11 DEVELOPING PROGRESSION IN CONCEPTS - recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind but normally offspring vary & are not identical to their parents - identify how animals & plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways & that adaptation may lead to evolution (Y6) - recognise that environments can change & that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things (Y4) describe the life process of reproduction in some plants & animals (Y5) construct & interpret a variety of food chains, identifying producers, predators & prey (Y4)

12 IDENTIFYING THE ‘BIG IDEAS’ IN SCIENCE “In the best schools visited, teachers ensured that pupils understood the ‘big ideas’ of science.” Maintaining curiosity Progression becomes easier to identify if the underpinning ‘big ideas’ are identified. For example, in Biology, the big ideas could be: Living things can be classified according to observable features Habitats provide living things with what they need Living things exhibit variation and adaptation and these may lead to evolution. Life exists in a variety of forms and goes through cycles The human body has a number of systems, each with its own function

13 PROGRESSION IN BIOLOGY

14 PROGRESSION IN PROCESS Key Stage 1Lower Key Stage 2Upper Key Stage 2 Planning investigations  asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in different ways  asking relevant questions and using different types of enquiry to answer them  setting up simple practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests  planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary Gathering evidence  observing closely, using simple equipment  performing simple tests  making systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, taking accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment, including thermometers and data loggers  gathering, recording, classifying and presenting data in a variety of ways to help in answering questions  taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate Recording evidence. [With help, they should record and communicate their findings in a range of ways and begin to use simple scientific language.]  recording findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables  recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, bar and line graphs Reporting findings.  identifying and classifying  reporting on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions  reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentation Drawing conclusions and making predictions for further tests.  using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions  gathering and recording data to help in answering questions.  using results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions  identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes  using straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.  using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests  identifying scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments.

15 2) IDENTIFYING THE OUTCOMES – HOW WOULD WE RECOGNISE A PUPIL WHO CAN DO THESE THINGS? FROM THE POS STATEMENTS… identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with something vibrating recognise that vibrations from sounds travel through a medium to the ear find patterns between the pitch of a sound & features of the object that produced it find patterns between the volume of a sound & the strength of the vibrations that produced it …WE CAN DEVELOP OUTCOMES FOR A TOPIC Explain how a sound is being made, relating it to the idea of vibrations Recognise that a medium is required to carry sound Explain how sound has travelled from a source to the ear Explain how an object can make higher or lower sounds Explain how an object can make louder or quieter sounds

16 IDENTIFYING THE OUTCOMES – WORKING SCIENTIFICALLY FROM THE POS STATEMENTS… using results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes using straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings. …WE CAN IDENTIFY OUTCOMES Explain what the evidence shows Suggest improvements to procedure Suggest how investigation could be extended Suggest explanations using scientific ideas Offer scientific answer to enquiry question

17 3) DECIDING IF OUTCOMES HAVE BEEN MET A wide range of types of evidence can be used, including: Tests Written accounts Verbal explanations Presentations

18 WHAT THE INSPECTOR SAW… “In most of the schools visited, however, accurate levelling of any science strand depended on its teachers’ ability to recognise pupils’ achievements against the National Curriculum level descriptions.” Maintaining curiosity

19 PROGRESSION IN COGNITIVE COMPLEXITY However, progression is more complex than the complexity of the concept. The same idea becomes more challenging if the cognitive complexity is increased.

20 DESIGNING ASSESSMENT TOOLS

21 Knowledge and comprehension Application and analysis Synthesis and evaluation OTQs442 Short written responses444 Longer written responses44 Each test is marked out of 30 and the items are planned according to this grid. As well as ensuring coverage of content, the data from each test can also be analysed to yield evidence of performance: Against cognitive complexity In developing different types of response In Working Scientifically as well as in mastery of concepts

22 DESIGNING ASSESSMENT TOOLS In these tests, the marks are out of marks are for knowledge & understanding (KU) items 5 marks are for application (A) items 4 marks are also for Working Scientifically items (often but not always (A) items There is a mix of OTQs and open responses

23 WHAT TO RECORD… If the planning of schemes of learning and deployment of assessment items are rich and varied, then recording of attainment can be relatively straightforward. Pupil attainment against identified outcomes could be on the basis of: working towards/met/exceeded The development of outcomes and the use of evidence should be subject to debate and agreement “A minority of the science leaders moderated their judgements with colleagues in nearby primary schools. Teachers used a variety of approaches …. this can work well, especially if teachers combine summative assessment with a systematic review of learning carried out by the pupils themselves.” Maintaining curiosity

24 4) MAKING USE OF THE EVIDENCE – THE ‘SO WHAT’ POINT Using circuit symbols Explaining how components work Altering voltage to control components (Y6) exploring and talking about their ideas (Upper KS2) reports and presents findings from enquiries, including conclusions and causal relationships (Upper KS2) Identify components Construct circuits Control with switches (Y4) For example, when planning and delivering the Y6 topic on circuits it might be useful to draw on assessment data relating to: Y4 topic on circuits Developing conclusions and causal relationships in other topics in Upper KS2 General willingness to explore and discuss ideas

25 WHAT THE INSPECTOR SAW… “The use of assessment to inform subsequent teaching was no better than adequate in around half the schools visited. This weakness is not unique to science, but it was still the most common area for improvement that inspectors identified in science inspections of primary schools.” Maintaining curiosity

26 KEEP IN TOUCH Ed LinkedIn


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