Teach Computing KS3 syllabus assessments

Last month I ran a survey in which I asked “Which Scheme of Work do you currently use for KS3?” This was the spread of responses:

Teach Computing and Oak National Academy (which uses the same syllabus) together accounted for 29% of the total. In addition, I get from informal conversations that Continue reading

The great game: dodging blame for the 2020 A-level results train wreck

The A-level results came out on August 13th. In the absence of exams, they were estimated from several data sources using a fairly intelligent algorithm. Results were well up on last year, yet there were such howls of anguish that the government was forced into a humiliating policy U-turn four days later. What on earth went wrong?

In retrospect, we can see the algorithmic approach was doomed from the start. Let’s walk through this, taking a Continue reading

Structured Peer Assessment reviewed by Ali Gray

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This guest post is by Ali Gray, Head of Geography, West Hill Park School, Hampshire.

I tried out SPA with a Year 8 geography class recently. I gave them 20 mins of guided research on a topic and then they started the SPA. I have never seen them work so hard/ fast for 15 mins while they wrote up their answers!

It is intense (for the pupils), but very effective learning.

They enjoyed assessing each other’s work and they Continue reading

Structured Peer Assessment: what is it and how do you do it?

Consider a class that has studied a particular topic. Different students know different amounts about the topic. Some understand one aspect well, others another. Some probably haven’t ‘got it’ at all. You could say that understanding of your topic within the class is lumpy.

How can you efficiently share that knowledge and understanding so that every member of the class is informed, and has a good chance of retaining their deepened understanding in the future? And how do you Continue reading

Structured Peer Assessment reviewed by Adam Williams

adamThis guest post is by Adam Williams, Teacher of IT and Computer Science, City of Norwich School an Ormiston Academy.

I have trialled Structured Peer Assessment exercises over the last few weeks with my classes. When I first saw it pop up as a new way of getting structured written work out of students I jumped at the chance. They are focused both during their own responses and even more so when they are giving feedback on others.

Following the lesson, the structure of their writing for long mark questions has dramatically improved and the amount of waffle has reduced.

I had planned to block out one of my whole one hour sessions to trial this initially but due to time constraints of the lesson I ended up with about 40 minutes left . To start with I showed them the video provided on the website and set the question “People often want to buy the latest smartphone or other computing device, even though the devices they own still work. Discuss the impact of people wanting to upgrade to the latest smartphone. In your answer you might consider the impact on: * stakeholders * technology * ethical issues * environmental issues!”
and set them off with 30 minutes, leaving a little bit of time for feedback at the end of the session.

They took it very seriously (They are an optional GCSE class taking my subject as an extra option) They could see the benefits themselves. Responses to other students was purposeful and exceptionally useful for them to draw out misconceptions and I love that I can pick up their answers afterwards, display them on the board and dissect where and why they would be picking up/losing marks and how they compare with other answers. They also quite liked being high up on the leaderboards as ranked by their peers.

From their feedback they would have preferred a little bit less time on the feedback as they felt it was just too long to be reading through the same content worded slightly differently a number of times.

Following the lesson, the structure of their writing for long mark questions has dramatically improved and the amount of waffle has reduced. They are now more succinct and have learned over a few of these that sometimes quality over quantity in an exam question is good.