Level-Assessed Tasks

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					Badger Key Stage 3 Science

Level-Assessed Tasks

Year 8
Andrew Grevatt

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Introduction
Why use these tasks?  Ready to use formative assessment tasks.  Engaging activities that promote learning and learners to use scientific knowledge and understanding.  Level ladder in learner-friendly vocabulary.  Linked to KS3 Science Framework Yearly Teaching Objectives.  Uses Assessment for Learning principles to promote progression through Science levels.  All tasks have been tried, tested and developed with learners of all abilities.  Open-ended, allowing learners to explain their ideas.  Fully differentiated.  Assesses knowledge and understanding of key concepts in each QCA topic.  Excellent diagnostic tool for highlighting individual and class misconceptions.  Encourages teacher and learner engagement with progression of scientific knowledge and understanding, through the National Curriculum levels.  Levels based on National Curriculum levels and recent QCA additional guidance on levels in Science.  Promotes the development of literacy skills. How to use these tasks Each task is a simple open-ended task that assesses knowledge and understanding of a significant concept from a QCA topic. The tasks should be photocopied with the task sheet and the level ladder back-to-back with the task’s improvement ladder. The level ladder can be used by teachers and learners to guide their response to the task. Each task is available in two level ranges: levels 3-5 and levels 5-7. I chose this split because most learners are either working towards level 5 or working beyond level 5. Level 5 requires learners to start using abstract concepts like energy, forces, particles and cells. Once they can use these concepts, they are able to access levels 6 and 7 more easily. Most of the tasks are the same for both level ranges, but the demands of the task, key words and level ladders are suited to the ability of the learners. As with all new approaches, learners may need to do a few of these tasks before they get the full benefit from them. The tasks are very open and to start with some learners can feel overwhelmed by the freedom. They may need a lot of support and encouragement for the first few, as their confidence grows the learners gain more independence at attempting the tasks.

Big Ideas in Science The Framework is divided into six Big Ideas in Science – Energy, Forces, Particles, Cells, Interdependence and Scientific Enquiry. The first five can be seen as the “abstract concepts”, meaning that when learners can use these Big Ideas they can start to access criteria for level 5 and beyond. My level descriptors use this language to encourage learners to use these ideas, e.g. use the Big Idea of Energy to explain the chemical reaction. This acts as a prompt, rather than giving them the answers! General approaches These tasks are ideal to use either mid-way or towards the end of a topic. As the tasks have evolved and been trialled, many approaches have been tried. These are outlined below. Whatever approach you decide to use, make sure that the tasks are formative. It is important that these are not used as replacement summative tests. They are designed to encourage learners to demonstrate what they understand and to have the opportunity to improve. This is the foundation of formative assessment strategies: Where am I now? What am I aiming for? How do I get there? To aid this, learners must be aware of the level (and sub-level) for the end of the year. The tasks are designed to give learners the opportunity to show their full potential in Science. To ensure this, I allow the class to use their notes from exercise books, text books and other secondary sources to help them with the task. I also encourage the learners to talk with their peers about the task and discuss their ideas. This rarely leads them to copy each other, but does encourage the development of their ideas and challenges their misconceptions. Some teachers have tried the test-conditions approach to the tasks, but find that it stifles the opportunities for learning. Standard approach: • Starter activity (5-10 minutes) to introduce the task. Make sure each learner knows which level they should be aiming for. • Main activity (30-40 minutes) – learners attempt task. Teacher circulates, encouraging use of the level ladder and challenging misconceptions. • Plenary activity (10 minutes) – self- or peer-assessment, where improvement ladders are used to decide on level and improvement targets. • Homework activity – make the improvement, teacher collects and assesses them, giving one improvement target.

Alternative approaches: Set the task for homework, mid-way through the topic. This should be attempted as a draft. I usually explain this to learners as doing a rough version, with no colouring in! These drafts are then collected by the teacher, who assigns a level and one or two improvement targets. Encouragement of use of level ladder: Some learners find it difficult to use the level ladder to guide their work. Strategies I have seen used include: • encouraging the learner to tick or highlight the statements on the level ladder when they think they have satisfied it; • laminating level ladders which can be ticked off using whiteboard markers, then wiped clean.

Assessment of the tasks
There are three approaches to assessing these tasks: teacher assessment, self-assessment and peer-assessment. Teacher assessment: If you have not used these tasks before, I would recommend starting with the teacher assessment approach for assessing the learners’ responses to the tasks. These are not like the standard national tests, where you have very clear guidance of what answers to accept and not accept. This approach is much more flexible and requires the use of professional judgement when assigning a level. These tasks are not summative tests, so the level that is assigned to a learner’s work is only a “snapshot”. Learners often vary in their level from topic to topic. A good analogy to use with them is that of computer games. Computer games are often based on “levels” of success. Some people score higher levels on some computer games than others. The same will be experienced when doing the levelled assessment tasks. However, most learners show a general improvement trend when using these tasks. The level ladders are written in learner-friendly language, are related to National Curriculum levels and have been matched with national Science tests where possible. These should be used when assigning a level to a learner’s work. Additional guidance is given for teachers in the teacher notes - this should be used alongside the level ladder. I take a very general approach to “levelness”, outlined in the table below. If I am ever in doubt, I refer back to this and consider the ability of the learner. Then, using professional judgement, I can assign a suitable level along with a suitable improvement target.

Level 3 Level 4

• • • • •

Uses some basic scientific words correctly. Identifies causes and effects. Uses a range of scientific words correctly. Labels macroscopic diagrams correctly (e.g. digestive system). Describes reactions, functions and sequences of events simply using scientific vocabulary. Starts to use abstract concepts of Energy, Forces, Particles and Cells. Simple diagrams used to start to explain why or how. Uses abstract concepts to explain their ideas. Labels microscopic diagrams correctly (e.g. cells, particle diagrams). Can write word equations, use simple formulae to calculate. A detailed knowledge and understanding is used in explanations. Uses more than one abstract concept to explain phenomena. Can write balanced symbol equations.

Level 5 Level 6

• • • • • • • •

Level 7

Do not get too bogged down in which level to assign – make a judgement using the criteria, then assign the level. I find that learners do pick me up on anything they think has been badly judged! The resulting discussion is very useful to both parties. Assigning sub-levels: Many schools and colleges use sub-levels to help measure and monitor progression in scientific knowledge and understanding. These can be easily applied to these tasks. Most level ladders have about three statements per level. If the learner has satisfied one descriptor out of the three for level 4, the level 4c can be awarded; all three descriptors would mean that 4a can be awarded. Some issues do arise over whether to assign a level 4a or 5c (for example). At these boundaries, if it is not clear from the learner’s work then professional judgement comes into play. Decide what will help aid the learner’s progression the most. Dealing with misconceptions: The great advantage of open-ended tasks is that they allow learners to have freedom to express their ideas, knowledge and understanding about Science. This of course includes all their misconceptions as well. This is a particularly useful aspect of these tasks, but also can be daunting when assessing the work if a learner has many misconceptions demonstrated in their work. I usually circle anything that is not scientifically correct, but base the improvement target on the next step in progression. For example, a learner can…

What happens if the learner completely misses the point? Sometimes learners can produce a piece of work that does not seem possible to assess using the level ladder. The simple approach is that the improvement target is to do the task again using the level ladder to guide. If it is a reoccurring issue, sit the learner next to someone who can use the level ladder and encourage them to work together. In order to pre-empt this issue, it is often useful to show the class the type of response you are looking for. This can be done using an exemplar. Self-assessment and peer-assessment: Encouraging learners to assess their own work or each others’ can be very valuable. As with anything new, learners will need more guidance and support to start with before their confidence develops to do this successfully. I would highly recommend that time is taken to help learners develop these skills with the support of these tasks. Self-assessment can be done by guiding learners through the level ladder and encouraging them to tick off the descriptors they feel they have satisfied. Then they can use the improvement ladder to help decide on suitable improvement targets. Peer-assessment can be useful because learners can learn from each other as well as engage with what is required for each level. Generally learners are reasonably accurate at assigning levels, but in self-assessment there is an issue that they may not be aware of misconceptions that have been made. If you intend the learners to self-assess a piece of work in class, it is worth making sure that you challenge major misconceptions as you circulate. With both these types of assessment, it is the process of discussing and deciding on a level that is important, not necessarily whether the work is assessed to the correct sub-level. The latter can be dealt with by the teacher.

Can these tasks replace tests?
At Uckfield Community Technology College, where these have been developed, we were setting SATs-style tests at the end of each topic. This amounted to 12 tests per year. What with marking and the time taken to do the test, we felt this was too much time wasted on testing. We moved to a model where the learners sit three summative tests a year, based on past SATs questions, the results of which are used in reports. To replace the topic summative tests, these level-assessed tasks are used to bring in formative assessment strategies and engage learners with progression and how to improve.

Contents
QCA Topic 8A Food and digestion 8B Respiration 8C Microbes and disease 8D Ecological relationships 8E Atoms and elements 8F Compounds and mixtures 8G Rocks and weathering 8H Rock cycle 8I Heating and cooling 8J Magnets and electromagnets 8K Light 8L Sound and music Exemplar work Task The journey of a cheese sandwich What happens to our bodies when we exercise? The dodgy barbeque Why do predator and prey populations change? Explaining what happens when we burn magnesium metal The iron and sulphur reaction Landslide? Explaining the rock cycle Heat in the kitchen Scrap heap magnet challenge! Light effects! Designing ear defenders

Acknowledgements
This is dedicated to Geoff. Many colleagues and sources have supported, influenced and provided inspiration for the development and improvements of these tasks. I want to acknowledge all the teachers I have worked with in East Sussex schools, who have provided improvement suggestions or further inspiration, your comments have been valued. All the teachers and technicians in the Science Department at Uckfield Community Technology College for supporting me in this project. Particular thanks go to Simon Holt and Ben Riley for their inspiration and feedback. Theresa Phillips and Laura Carter, the East Sussex Key Stage 3 Science Consultants, who have believed in my work and have worked tirelessly to facilitate opportunities to share good practice between schools. The action research I have carried out with the truly inspirational members of the Cams Hill Science Consortium has improved my personal understanding of levels and levelling in Science. Particular gratitude is due to Matthew Newberry, Cams Hill Science Consortium, and Professor John Gilbert, Reading University, for his unrelenting support, encouragement and wisdom. www.thinkingframe.com Students and teachers at UCTC who have provided work for the exemplar materials. The team at Badger Publishing for making this a reality.

8A Teacher Notes

The journey of a cheese sandwich
National Curriculum Link:
QCA Topic Link 8A: Food and digestion

Task:
Explain the journey of a cheese sandwich through your digestive system by either writing a story or drawing a cartoon.

Prior learning experience:
Before learners attempt this task, they must have experienced: • Food groups. • Names and functions of organs of the digestive system. • A model of absorption using particle theory and basic concept of enzymes, e.g. Visking tubing model (for access to levels 5-7).

Resources:
Lined and plain A4 paper. Coloured pencils. Secondary sources of information.

Related Teaching Objectives: Year 8 Cells
• Describe the role of the main nutrients in the body; explain why all cells need them and the importance of a balanced diet. • Explain why some nutrients have to be broken down before the body can use them, and use models and analogies to describe how enzymes break down large molecules during digestion. • Describe the digestive system using knowledge of enzymes to explain how it works, and the role of the circulation system in transporting the products of digestion to cells.

Notes and suggested approaches:
In class, use a starter activity as the stimulus to the task, introduce the task and level ladder, allowing 30-40 minutes to complete it. Additional homework time is often needed for this task. Suggested starter: Decide on the food groups in a cheese sandwich or order the organs of the digestive system. Allow learners to use secondary resources such as class notes, text books and library books to develop their poster. In the plenary, peer- or self-assess using the improvement ladder. As homework, set as an outline draft using the level ladder; when collected, assess and set improvement strategies (either through teacher, self- or peer-assessment) from the improvement ladder and then allow learners to attempt to improve their work. Alternatively, the task can be completed and assessed, then set individual tasks for specific improvements.

Y8 Level-Assessed Tasks  Badger Publishing Ltd

Additional guidance for assigning a level:
Sub-levels may be assigned to indicate the extent of understanding within a particular level.

Level
3

Criteria
• • • • A body outline may be drawn to show relevant organs in isolation. Cheese sandwich may be shown to be broken down. Some key words used as labels. Identifies that food gives the body energy. Scientific key words used to name major parts of the digestive system, e.g. mouth, stomach, small intestine. Position and shape of major organs should be reasonably accurate. Simple descriptions of organ functions, e.g. stomach churns and breaks up food. Food groups should be identified; bread = carbohydrate, cheese = fat. A majority of the organs of the digestive system are identified and basic functions described. Position and shape of organs should be reasonably accurate, particularly major organs. Lists some uses of food in the body, e.g. growth and repair. May use alternative words, e.g. oesophagus, or identify parts of the small intestine. Food groups are identified, showing an understanding that more than one food group can be in a given food, e.g. cheese is mainly fat but also contains some protein, vitamins and calcium. A simple particle model is used to explain absorption and/or enzyme action. Accurate drawing of the shape and position, with detailed structure and function of each organ. Detailed account of the fate of the cheese sandwich throughout the digestive system. Detailed particle diagram illustrating that there are different enzymes for different food groups and how the food is absorbed using Visking tubing example. May make reference to specialised cells such as villi.

4

• • 5 • • • 6 • •

• 7 • • •

•

Y8 Level-Assessed Tasks  Badger Publishing Ltd

8A Task Sheet (L3-5)

The journey of a cheese sandwich

Task:
You must explain the journey of a cheese sandwich through your digestive system. You can choose to explain your ideas through either: • • writing a story; drawing a cartoon.

Top tips: • • • Describe what happens in each organ of the digestive system. Consider which food groups are in a cheese sandwich. Use scientific ideas of cells and particles if you can.

anus, carbohydrate, fat, gullet, large intestine, liver, mouth, small intestine, protein, stomach, teeth

Key words:

Level ladder:
To get level 3

What is your target level? Use the level ladder to help you reach it: You might have: • Drawn a diagram to show that the food is broken down in the stomach. • Drawn a diagram to show that food goes through the organs. • Named some organs. • Stated what food is used for by the body. • • • • • • • • Named the major organs of the digestive system, using key words. Described simply the job of each organ. Named the food groups in the cheese sandwich. Described simply what food is used for in the body. Named most of the organs of the digestive system, using key words. Described what happens to the food in each organ. Named the food groups in the cheese sandwich. Explained why the body needs food.
Y8 Level-Assessed Tasks  Badger Publishing Ltd

4

5

8A Improvement Ladder (L3-5)

The journey of a cheese sandwich
Now your work has been assessed, choose one or two improvement targets. To get level 3 My improvement target could be to: Draw a diagram to show that the food is broken down in the stomach. Draw a diagram to show that food goes through the organs. Name some organs. State what food is used for by the body. 4 Name the major organs of the digestive system, using key words. Describe simply the job of each organ. Name the food groups in the cheese sandwich. Describe simply what food is used for in the body. 5 Name most of the organs of the digestive system, using key words. Describe what happens to the food in each organ. Name the food groups in the cheese sandwich. Explain why the body needs food. 6 Name all of the organs of the digestive system in order; I may use alternative scientific names. Show knowledge of the shape and position of the major organs in the body. Explain what happens to the food in each organ. Describe why the body needs each of the food groups. Describe simply how enzymes are involved with digestion. Explain how food is digested and absorbed using the Big Idea of Particles.

Level-Assessed Tasks  Badger Publishing Ltd

8A Task Sheet (L5-7)

The journey of a cheese sandwich

Task:
You must explain the journey of a cheese sandwich through your digestive system. You can choose to explain your ideas through either: • • writing a story; drawing a cartoon.

Top tips: • • Describe what happens in each organ of the digestive system. Consider which food groups are in a cheese sandwich. Use scientific ideas of cells and particles if you can.

•

Key words: absorption, anus, carbohydrate, digestion, dissolve, enzyme, fat, gullet,
hydrochloric acid, large intestine, liver, mouth, protein, small intestine, stomach, teeth

Level ladder:
To get level 5

What is your target level? Use the level ladder to help you reach it: You might have: Named most of the organs of the digestive system, using key words. Described what happens to the food in each organ. Named the food groups in the cheese sandwich. Explained why the body needs food. Named all of the organs of the digestive system in order; you may have used alternative scientific names. Shown knowledge of the shape and position of the major organs in the body. Explained what happens to the food in each organ. Described why the body needs each of the food groups. Described simply how enzymes are involved with digestion. Explained how food is digested and absorbed using the Big Idea of Particles. Described in detail all of the organs of the digestive system, relating structure to the function of the system, organs and cells. Shown knowledge of the shape and position of the major organs in the body. Explained in detail what happens to the food in each organ. Explained why the body needs each of the food groups. Described how enzymes are involved with digestion. Explained how food is digested, absorbed and transported to the cells using the Big Idea of Particles. Used the Big Idea of Energy to explain how cells use food.
Y8 Level-Assessed Tasks  Badger Publishing Ltd

• • • • • • • • • •

6

7

• • • • • • •

8A Improvement Ladder (L5-7)

The journey of a cheese sandwich
Now your work has been assessed, choose one or two improvement targets. To get level 5 My improvement target could be to: Name most of the organs of the digestive system, using key words. Describe what happens to the food in each organ. Name the food groups in the cheese sandwich. Explain why the body needs food. 6 Name all of the organs of the digestive system in order; I may use alternative scientific names. Find out the shape and position of the major organs in the body. Explain what happens to the food in each organ. Describe what the body needs each of the food groups for. Describe simply how enzymes are involved with digestion. Explain how food is digested and absorbed using the Big Idea of Particles. 7 Describe in detail all of the organs of the digestive system, relating structure to the function of the system, organs and cells. Find out the shape and position of the major organs in the body. Explain in detail what happens to the food in each organ. Explain what the body needs each of the food groups for. Describe how enzymes are involved with digestion. Explain how food is digested, absorbed and transported to the cells using the Big Idea of Particles. Use the Big Idea of Energy to explain how cells use food.

Level-Assessed Tasks  Badger Publishing Ltd


				
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