Unit 307 Support Assessment for Learning Essay
Unit 307 Support Assessment for Learning
Outcome 1Understand the purpose and characteristics of assessment for learning 1.1Compare and contrast the roles of the teacher and the learning support practitioner in assessment of learners’ achievements
The teacher is responsible for assessing children to see what level they are on, and monitoring their progress and achievements by a certain time. My role is to support the pupils in achieving these goals and to support the teacher through giving feedback after a learning activity has taken place. The teacher will need to know about every child’s progress and achievements so that they can prepare their end of year reports, hold parents’ evenings etc.
Assessing the pupils’ progress is an ongoing process throughout the year. In my setting, we use ‘Post-it’ notes on a pin-board, with a space allocated for each pupil, and pin up any goals they need to reach. When the pupils have achieved their goal, the note is dated and filed away in the appropriate part of their personal report file, which will be typed up for the parents by the end of the school year, using the information on the ‘Post-it’ notes inside.
The class teacher plans lessons that set out clear objectives so that pupils’ progress can be measured. Both pupils and support staff are made aware of the objectives and any achievements will be recorded and reported back to the teacher. Before each learning session, the pupils gather in the ‘Quiet Room’ for an introduction to the learning activity, and the teacher will explain what is expected of them and what they will be learning in that session. 1.2Summarise the difference between formative and summative assessment
Formative Assessments – Can be used in any lesson to measure the pupil’s progress. Using open ended questions – This will encourage pupils to have their own ideas without being ‘led’ by adults. Observing pupils – We observe pupils on a daily basis, this helps us gather information on how the pupils are progressing, what they are comfortable with and what they may need extra support in doing. Listening to how pupils describe their work and their reasoning – by doing this, it helps us understand how pupils are working.
Checking pupils’ understanding – Before a learning activity we question pupils about what they already know about a particular subject and we also do this after the activity and check what they have learned during the session. Engaging pupils in reviewing progress – the pupils are encouraged to think about what they have learned and measure it against learning objectives. Summative Assessments – Is used at the end of term or when the teachers need to know what pupils have learned and achieved at a particular time.
The pupils at my class have recently undergone reading and maths tests so that the teacher can assess their reading abilities and their mathematical abilities. This information will be passed on to the teacher in the pupils’ next classroom in September, and at the end of their year at that class, their abilities will be tested again to see how much they have developed over their time in her class. 1.3Explain the characteristics of assessment for learning
Assessment for learning is a way of promoting and informing the achievements of the pupils and it encourages them to take responsibility for their own learning. We need to explain learning objectives to the children before the session and give them feedback on what they have managed to achieve during the session. This helps them to develop their self-assessment skills so that they are able to recognise their own achievements.
Before they are able to assess their own work, they need to be able to assess other pupils’ work so that they can build the skills to assess their own work. The pupils will need to keep looking at the learning objective throughout this process so that they are able to assess their work. 1.4Explain the importance and benefits of assessment for learning
The importance and benefits of assessment for learning is that it helps motivate the pupils to improve and develop in their work. Being part of the process of assessment empowers them to improve their work where needed and they will feel that they have worked hard to achieve their work. This will help develop the pupils’ self esteem and their motivation. They will feel that they need to achieve something for themselves rather than because the teacher has told them to do so.
Children who are not part of this process are more likely to lose interest in the learning, maybe because they do not fully understand why they are doing it. Giving feedback to the children about their work will help make sure that each pupil develops to their full potential whether they are high-achievers or less able. Giving the pupils the opportunity helps them to see where they are expected to achieve to, what they are able to achieve and what they need to do to achieve this. 1.5Explain how assessment for learning can contribute to planning for future learning carried out by:
Effective assessment for learning will enable the teacher to pass on the responsibility to the child, over time, for managing their own learning. This will mean that they are more actively involved in the process.
The process of assessment for learning will help the pupils because they will be able to identify areas which they may need to work on and how they approach their learning. They will have more self-esteem and more able to look at what their objective for learning is and this will help them develop their ability to self-assess. They will be more able to look at their own work and know when they need to ask for help.
c)The learning support practitioner
Assessment for learning will help the learning support practitioner because it will inform us of which areas the pupils may need support with. It will give us better judgement on how to question the children and give them feedback on their work and will also show any problem areas that some less able children need to work at.
Outcome 2Use assessment strategies to promote learning
2.1Obtain the information required to support assessment for learning
The information required to support assessment for learning are; The learning objectives for the activities
The personalised learning goals for individual learners
The success criteria of the learning activities
The assessment opportunities and strategies relevant to own role in the learning activities Before any activity, the pupil will need to know what they are going to learn, why they are learning it and how the assessment will take place.
The teacher will discuss these with the pupils before the session and when each group of children sit down to start the activity they will be explained to them again. As the pupils get used to assessing their own work, they will find it easier to look at their own work naturally. As well as the objective for the activity, the pupils will need to know their own personalised learning goal so that they can integrate them. One example of how we do this at our setting is by having a learning activity involving simple maths. The pupils will be learning how to add two numbers together, never adding up to more than ten. The success criteria is that the pupils will be able to solve simple adding sums.
They are learning this because it enables them to use mathematics. Assessment will take place when the teacher/teacher’s assistant checks that the sums are correct. The integrated personalised learning goal in this activity could be to consistently form the numbers in the correct way e.g. some children will form a six looking the wrong way e.g.. The pupils will be encouraged to look at their own work and look for examples around the classroom of how a 6 should be formed. 2.2Use clear language and examples to discuss and clarify personalised learning goals and criteria for assessing progress with learners
Before starting an activity the pupils need to know and understand what their personalised learning goals, as well as the learning objectives, are. All children in the classroom which I work in have a personalised learning goal, whether it may be forming letters correctly, using capital letters appropriately, finishing sentences with a full stop or forming numbers correctly. The pupils’ personalised learning goals are all written on ‘Post-it’ notes and pinned up on a board for easy access and reference. Children with similar personalised learning goals will usually be in a group together.
For instance, it is helpful when pupils who need to work on using capital letters in the appropriate places will be grouped together in an activity involving writing short sentences. For some children there will be an example of sentences without the correct form of written work. They may need to re-write the sentence, correcting the misuse of capitalisation. E.g. a sentence like “i Went to the zoo with my friend joe”. The pupils would need to correct the “i”, “W”, and “j” and look for the lack of a full-stop at the end of the sentence.
The teacher would then ask the children why they would change the sentence in the way that they have e.g. she would ask “Why did you change the j in Joe to a capital?” to help them develop the awareness of using a capital letter when you are writing someone’s name. This will, in time, help them assess their own work and naturally look for the capital letters in their own sentences.
Children with additional learning needs also have personalised learning goals but these are recorded on an individual or personalised learning plan which has been agreed and signed by pupils, if applicable, parents and teachers. 2.3Use assessment opportunities and strategies to gain information and make judgements about how well learners are participating in activities and the progress they are making
When reviewing pupils’ progress, it is important to make sure that the pupils understand what they are learning and that each child recognises their own individual learning targets so that they are able to assess their own progress to achieving these. You should talk to the pupils about what is expected of them and make sure that they understand how they will be assessed during the session. It is helpful to show examples of other pupils’ work so that they are able to visualise what is expected of them. Throughout the session, it is important that you provide oral feedback and praise them when they are reaching their targets so that you help boost their self-confidence.
There should always be an opportunity for self-assessment and pupils should be encouraged to discuss their work with a teacher or teaching assistant about their thoughts on how well the task was done before handing in their work. When work is handed in, the teacher or teaching assistant will provide written feedback and keep records of any problem areas that may have risen throughout the session. 2.4Provide constructive feedback to learners to help them understand what they have done well and what they need to develop
After a learning activity, it is important to provide constructive feedback to learners to help them understand what they have done well and what they need to develop. This will ensure that assessment for learning will be more effective. Feedback should always be positive and should give information to the pupil that focuses on performance. Feedback should not be personal, but based on facts. Affirmation feedback should be delivered first, this means giving positive feedback to the pupil such as “Well done! All your numbers are looking the right way!” Developmental feedback should then be delivered.
This will suggest what to do next time to help them develop to their full potential. Comments such as: “Remember to take care when counting the objects when we do maths tomorrow.” will help them to develop without being negative. The feedback can be written or oral, but it should be delivered as soon as possible to ensure that the pupil is able to apply it to their learning. If it is left too long, it is possible that the pupil may forget. Marking should also be done as soon as possible, if possible with the pupil present, as soon as possible after the activity is completed. 2.5Provide opportunities and encouragement for learners to improve upon their work
Assessment for learning works well because it focuses on the achievements of the individuals from their previous assessments, rather than comparing them to the achievements of their peers. Each child is different in the way they learn and in their abilities and therefore should be assessed on their own progress rather than that of others. When starting an activity, pupils should start from a point where they have achieved before, then develop to something else, their achievements from a previous activity will roll into the next activity so that they practice what they have learned and build on this to reach their next goal.
Pupils should be able to discuss what their previous achievements to remind them of their learning and reinforce their understanding before taking on a new challenge. Being reminded of their achievements will make them more self-confident and will believe that they are able to take on the next challenge. It is important to give feedback to the pupils during the learning session and encourage them and show them that you believe in them.
This will motivate them to try hard and will reach their full potential. Some children may need to have the work adapted for them to enable them to learn the same objective in a different way if they are having difficulty understanding. Outcome 3Support learners in reviewing their learning strategies and achievements 3.1Use information gained from monitoring learner participation and progress to help learners to review their learning strategies, achievements and future learning needs
We should be reviewing learning with pupils throughout the learning sessions. This will make it easier for the pupil to apply the learning to their own experience. Giving feedback to the pupils consistently will help them achieve their goals and will boost their self-confidence and belief in themselves. In some classes in the school which I work, although not my own, they use a traffic light system so that the teacher can see how the pupil is feeling about aspects of the activity in question.
If a pupil shows a green card, it means that they are happy with the task and that they understand what is expected of them. If they show an amber card, it means that they are quite happy, but could do with more information.
A red card shows that they are confused, unhappy or unsure about the task given to them. Smiley/sad faces or thumbs up/down could also be used in the same way. Older children in the school will be able to use strategies such as; writing down anything in the activity that was unclear to them; write a sentence about the key points of their learning at the end of the learning activity; talk to a partner about what they enjoyed about a task or what they found difficult, and maybe learn from each other; children could write down on ‘Post-it’ notes what they have learned, found easy and found hard about the task.
3.2Listen carefully to learners and positively encourage them to communicate their needs and ideas for future learning
It is important to listen to the children about their needs in learning activities. This will help us adapt the way we teach them so that it suits their needs. It is also important that we encourage the children to communicate their needs with us, because without them telling us about any difficult, it is hard to adapt them for their needs. Having their input about how well a learning activity went also gives us the opportunity to better ourselves in the way we deliver information to the pupils. 3.3Support learners in using peer assessment and self-assessment to evaluate their learning achievements
When supporting pupils in peer assessment or self assessment it is important that their goals and objectives are clear. If the pupils understand what is expected of them during the session, and understand why they are learning a particular topic, it is more likely that they will want to learn. When
supporting the younger pupils to assess, it is easier to start off with peer assessment, to help them think about learning aims. Older pupils will also benefit from using peer assessment first as they will be able to use this to measure against their own learning. It is important to start the session with simple criteria. Pupils must understand what they are being assessed against and why.
So that you are sure that the pupils understand the objectives of the assessment, you should ask them to repeat back what they need to do, and ask them why they think they are doing it. If they have any problems reporting back, then you must clarify any concerns before the session begins. It is helpful to ask the children to look back at their work on several occasions during the assessment so that they make sure that all the criteria have been met to a standard they are happy with.
Using peer assessment is not meant for measuring one pupil’s work against another, it is simply so that the pupils can look at others’ work and measure it against the criteria given to them. This will build up their confidence so that, in time, they are able to self-assess appropriately. It may be easier for the children to see more clearly how assessment can be used to measure learning. 3.4Support learners to:
a)Reflect on their learning
When supporting learning activities, it is important that you encourage the children to reflect on their work throughout the sessions, not just when they have finished. This will help them make sure that the way they are handling the task is the best way for them. You can do this by effective questioning throughout the session so that you can check their understanding of the learning objectives.
b)Identify the progress they have made
As mentioned in 3.3, peer assessment and self assessment can be used for the pupils to identify the progress they have made. Children should be encouraged to ask for help if they are unsure of what they need to be doing in a task. You could tackle this by asking one of the other pupils if they can help that pupil with something they are struggling with rather than answering yourself.
This would help encourage them to talk about any problems they may be having. After the session, it is a good idea to ask them what they have learned during the session, when they see they have made progress by understanding the task; it will build up their self confidence.
c)Identify their emerging learning needs
Although some children will start to identify what they need to improve, other children may not like it when they are not able to understand something. It is important to encourage them through this. One way of doing this is through using misconceptions or incorrect ideas as a discussion point so that pupils can talk about how they approached the task and what led them to this answer. This can make learning from mistakes easier, and they will eventually see it as an opportunity to improve rather than something to be feared.
d)Identify the strengths and weaknesses of their learning strategies and plan how to improve them
Identifying their own strengths and weaknesses about their learning strategies can be achieved through using effective questioning throughout the task, as mentioned in 3.4 b).
The pupils will be able to plan how to improve these strategies by writing down what they think they may need support with and look back at these thoughts several times and using them in practice whenever possible. You could collaborate some of their targets into different tasks so that they are practicing these targets on a regular basis, until they are comfortable with it.
Outcome 4Contribute to reviewing assessment for learning
4.1Provide feedback to the teacher on:
a)Learner participation and progress in the learning activities
b)Learners’ engagement in and response to assessment for learning
c)Learners’ progress in taking responsibility for their own learning
It is important to work closely with the teacher when supporting a learning activity and when using assessment for learning techniques. I give feedback to the teacher verbally consistently, throughout the task. l write down any targets that the pupils need to focus on, if and when they arise, on a ‘Post-it’ note and pin it up on the pin-board in the pupil’s allocated area for easy access during the next task.
The teacher needs to know which pupils were able to participate effectively in the task, and which pupils needed to have the objectives adapted for better understanding. I usually jot this information down on a note pad and will group the children accordingly during the next similar task. Any progress made on their individual targets are dated on their corresponding ‘Post-it’ note and will be filed away. I also inform the teacher of the pupils’ engagement in and response to assessment for learning.
I inform her of which pupils needed the most encouragement for self assessment or peer assessment and the learners’ progress in taking responsibility for their own learning will also be discussed. As well as verbal feedback to the teacher and the ‘Post-it’ notes, I also write any comments on their papers so that the teacher is able to visualise how the pupil was responding to the task. 4.2Use the outcomes of assessment for learning to reflect on and improve own contribution to support learning
After a learning session, it is important that you use the outcomes of the assessment for learning to reflect on your contribution to support learning and to improve this. You need to look back at what the pupils have learnt through the session and question yourself as to whether the learning objectives were met and if the task could have been explained better or if your teaching techniques could be adapted so that the pupils have a better understanding of what is expected of them.
It is important that you think about how you questioned and encouraged the pupils to look at the assessment criteria. You should also think about how you gave feedback to the pupils during the task and how you supported them through peer and self assessment.
It is important to discuss the outcome of the session with the teacher as she may have suggestions, which you may not have thought about, about adapting the techniques for different abilities. Reflecting on your own experiences will also boost your own self confidence and will ensure that you put things forward to the pupils in the best way to ensure their understanding of tasks.