CEA Pilot - Case Study Institution E Institution Context Nature The school is a mixed sex comprehensive of 11 to 18 year olds with a high proportion of free school meals. The school was for the most part of the study in special measures or on the at risk register. Focus The focus of attention was on the assessment procedures in ICT - the main focus was on the implementation of the use of the school VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) as an assessment tool: to develop tasks and assessment tasks that students would be able to access and understand in order to improve their understanding of what was being asked. This was particularly important at KS4 (Key Stage 4) in order to individualise students’ progress but equally important at KS3 (Key Stage 3) where the introduction of PLTS was a consideration. The program was introduced with the consent of the SLT with the hope that the development of the VLE would aid assessment in all four subjects in the pilot. Working w ith staff Staff in the ICT Dept were keen to improve assessment procedures at both key stages and were happy to discuss changes which would aid in improvement of their assessment techniques. After initial discussions with the ICT team it was decided that the CEA would lead initial discussions, however, the staff would need to be very proactive in this. Because of the nature of the ICT team, only the specialist staff were to be involved in the planning of the assessment techniques however, the non- specialist staff were to take part where possible in standardisation, moderation and assessment activities especially those involving students. A positive working relationship was developed from the outset It was also agreed that students should be given the opportunity to feed back to staff their opinions on assessment and assessment techniques introduced. The tool to be used would be online surveys. The surveys were to be conducted during normal lesson times so as not to disadvantage those students with no access from home. CE A Intervention Number of Meetings There were, in total, five meetings plus a final monitoring meeting in which the staff viewed the work done and fed back to the CEA their views on the success of the intervention. The first meeting determined the scope of the intervention, assessed current practices and ascertained any issues in staffing and training. The initial assessment tool was used at this stage to determine where staff within the department felt they fitted overall. In order to judge the success of the intervention it was decided that all students in KS3 should also undergo a baseline assessment prior to the start of the intervention. This was especially important for year 7s coming into school where no previous assessment data was available. The CEA agreed to write an action plan based on outcomes of the meeting. The second meeting followed six weeks later and the action plan was introduced to staff where it was discussed and responsibilities for the implementation of the plan were agreed. The staff also brought a number of pieces of student work in order to look at their internal moderation process. The CEA acted as an external advisor at this meeting and helped staff come to an informed decision about the standards and criteria used for assessment. The second part of the meeting was used to discuss where the knowledge gained could be used to enable pupils to gain higher attainment by also introducing them to the assessment process. It was agreed that all tasks set for the pupils at both key stages would contain a guide on how to achieve different levels in one form or another but all online. At KS4 they were initially given an examination mark grid showing what they would need to achieve to gain each grade. The third meeting followed five weeks later and at this meeting a second standardisation and moderation exercise was undertaken this time with staff leading the process. The discussions, though lively, brought about a consensus with which all staff were happy and they agreed that this process was something that they should continue on a regular basis in order to maintain their assessment standards. A review of the tasks and assessments set using the schools VLE and a survey of the pupils showed that most pupils felt there was some benefit to having work set in this way. Staff felt that there had been a significant improvement in pupil attainment. This was especially reflected in the end of term assessment conducted prior to this visit where students in year 7, 8, 10 and 11 had made better than expected improvements. The involvement of two of the year 9 teachers had shown only small improvements and it was determined that the staff were not fully involved due to commitments elsewhere. At the fourth meeting, six weeks later, staff reported an external moderation of KS4 work had taken place and the students were performing significantly better than the previous year at KS4. They also reported that students at KS3 were becoming involved in independent learning, effectively using self and peer assessment. Staff felt that this aided the assessment process as their role was more to confirm and inform the student beliefs. It was felt that some students at KS4 were not fully able to access the rubrics as the awarding body language was too complex. The CEA and staff examined them and decided that a simpler step by step checklist would aid students in attaining higher grades. The head of department agreed to develop this in line with the summation board assessment criteria. In line with previous decisions he decided to make checklists available to students online. At the fifth meeting in May a final standardisation and moderation meeting was arranged with another school. This moderation process across schools had not been undertaken before. Staff from both schools felt that the process was extremely useful and that a relationship between the two schools in ICT would be beneficial to both. A second review of student attitudes showed that students felt that the assessment processes introduced enabled them to achieve more than before. Staff felt that the new procedures had improved their ability to deliver the right content and to engage students in a more fun way in eLearning. This was achieved by developing the ability of students to self and peer assess and to more fully understand the assessment process. It was agreed that there would be a final meeting with the CEA in which the full impact over the year would be analysed. Use of Tools All CIEA tools were used. The audit tool enabled in-depth reflection to take place. It provided a composite snapshot but needed to be used alongside a fuller report. The time between visits was essential for reflection and consideration of the school situation. The action plan tool was used as a guide and helped to focus staff and kept the plan short, sharp and to the point. The monitoring tool was an extension of the action plan and enabled both parties to easily assess progress. Processes – Time for reflection and development – In depth discussions and access to key personnel – The opportunity to work with all of the team for parts of the process and with all full time specialists at all other times – Access to decision makers throughout the process Impact View of the CE A The department and the SLT were determined to improve and streamline assessment techniques from the outset. This was partly driven by their desire to come out of special measures and partly by their desire to improve standards in their department. They welcomed the involvement of the VLE and saw this as their opportunity to develop a wide variety of strategies. There has been a 22% improvement of results in both KS4 cohorts and improvement in years 7 and 8 also reflect a similar improvement. The CEA has also benefitted from the pilot in developing team management skills. Overall the pilot has proved very successful and the impact is both noticeable and measurable. Students feel they benefit from the new assessment strategies which drive performance forward and will relate well to the new APP structure being applied to this subject View of the Institution It has been a successful exercise which now needs to be developed by other departments. The ICT department has driven the 24/7 access of students forward and the head teacher is now looking at the use of the VLE across the whole school for both assessment and planning. It is apparent that students enjoy the access to teachers afforded by this strategy and that the procedures introduced have led to improvements all around. As one member of staff put it “In terms of the overall improvement of the department, I believe that we have made vast improvements…” This is reflected by the achievement of pupils and staff confidence in assessing pupil work using a wide variety of techniques and opening assessment to pupils to drive attainment forward whilst maintaining the integrity of teaching students the life skills they will need.