A portfolio of evidence to illustrate the assessment for learning

  1. summary overview of his assessment and monitoring records from A description of the pupil and a both summative and formative assessments.

The student in focus is George (not his real name). George is a non SEN (special education need) 10 year old student. George is from a traveller’s family and so he missed a good chunk of his education. Despite this, he is intellectually capable.

George is a very popular student who has very good communication skills although there are times when he is reserved while giving answers. This happens mainly due to the fact that he may not be sure of the answers that he is giving. The fact that he comes from a travelling family has really hindered his progress in class.

I have worked with George to prepare him for entry level science. In this, George passed the portfolio for the ELC. He should be able to proceed to level 2. I am also preparing George for GCSE next year and he is making good progress in this regard as shown in the spreadsheet. For example, in Biology, he attained 15/20 in keeping healthy and 14/15 in investigation of the heart rate. In Chemistry, he had 12/20 in oil, atmosphere and the earth and 13/15 in investigation about separating oil and water (emulsion). In Physics, he got 15/20 in energy efficiency and 13/15 in investigation about materials that could be used for lagging (See appendix 1).

The school is a very small school and therefore may lack some resources. For example, the school does not have specific software to track the pupil’s progress. In spite of this, the school records learning for every child, each subject every day. The CORE (competence, organisation, readiness and engagement) skills assessment that involves teachers making subjective judgement of the pupils on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 representing a cause of concern and 5 representing outstanding demonstration of the CORE skills.

The school has an assessment and marking policy. This is a system of both formative and summative assessments. The assessment methods are all geared towards improving the academic performance of the pupils. In formative assessment, teachers are expected to provide feedback comments in a manner that can be easily understood by the pupils. Summative assessment is mainly for the purposes of measuring the educational performance of the pupils for external accountability. The data for every pupil is collected and graded based on the national curriculum levels.

Contained in the records is a summary of the pupil’s performance in science taken before the transition. The summative assessment is based on the national government’s expectation of the pupils’ performance in different subject areas. The sample contains information on some marked scripts of the pupil. This will show the subject areas and the course contents that the pupil may find difficulty in. This information can be used to help the pupil improve on the selected subject areas.

  1. An analysis of recent work in science.

George is an intelligent student. The pupil had impressive results in entry level science. From appendix 1 it can be seen that George had a total of 82/105 which translates to 78% in science. This is a very impressive score. However, George expected that he would perform a little bit better than this. He believed that he had prepared well for the exams and ought to have had more marks. One factor that could have affected his performance is that he was not present in school during some lessons. Some of these contents were set in the exams. He just realised late the importance of engaging more with the teacher and his classmates.

When looking at George it can be seen that his CORE skills and attitudes have been improving over the years. As has been mentioned, the CORE is an instrument that is used in measuring different parameters including competence, organisation, readiness and engagement. The scale is calibrated from 1 to 5 with 1 representing a cause of concern and 5 representing outstanding demonstration of the CORE skills. Despite coming from a travelling background, George has had a good attitude of learning. This has helped in improving in academic performance. From the subjective scale, I believe that he is ranked at 3. This is an improvement from last year’s ranking where he was at 2.5. The reason for this is that George has demonstrated a desire to always learn. He had put efforts to gain new knowledge and information in science.

Due to his personality, he is not easily distracted. He is very disciplined, respectful and does not want to engage in activities that may make him look disrespectful to the teacher. Part of the overall improvement in his behaviour is due to actions of their class teacher who is very strict. He has put stringent regulations on mobile phone use in the classrooms and does not want the phones to interfere with children’s concentration. George also gets enough motivation from his background and wants to make a difference for his family. Due to the fact that he misses some of the lessons, he wants to make the most out of the attended lessons. This can explain why he is always focused in the classroom.

As has been mentioned, George’s attendance in class for the year has been slightly below the class average. For the times that he is around, he makes sure that he attends school 100%.

The school has quantitative and formative information for George’s class. This was implemented after a successful one year trial. This is a reader initiative that is designed to improve the literacy of the pupils. I have worked with George on his science reading or literacy and the results of this are in the data sheet at the appendix. The analysis of the data sheet can help improve George’s literacy skills. Being 10 years old, the results attained from the reading literacy test matches the expected attainment in science (Appendix 2 reading level). However, there is need for George to improve on his comprehension skills so that he becomes more analytical. This can be seen from some of his scripts that lacked an analytical perspective in them (Appendix 3 GCSE work 2). In this, he could not correctly relate the concepts to the question. George needs to read more English books. This will help him in better understanding the questions thereby answer the questions correctly and exhaustively.

I looked for this data since I also teach similar pupils for other classes. From the experience, I have noted that there are many of the pupils who struggle with spellings and pronunciations (Cowie, 2005). This may be due to the low levels of literacy that the pupils attain. George performs well in English and he has very impressive literacy levels. He therefore does not have a major hindrance in participating in science lessons and improving her performance in science.

From the analysis of George’s workbook, it can be seen that his attitude towards learning has been improving over the time. From January, there were many comments that George did not take into much consideration. However, currently he is very cooperative with the teachers and fellow students. When he misses some of the lessons, he makes sure that he follows up with the teacher to know the content that was taught so that he does not lag behind. In addition, he engages much with his classmates most of who motivate him. George always completes the assignments. He has increased his cooperation in the classroom because he answers more questions. However, more needs to be done to help improve George’s performance further.

Even more recently, George has completed more independent work and always wants to get to the bottom of things. He consults the teacher for the concepts that he does not understand during the process of content delivery. This is a very positive attitude to learning that has been developed by George. George is ready to present his completed work to the teacher so that the teacher can make corrections. From his body language during the lessons, it can be seen that he is enjoying the lessons more.

The other aspect that has shown George’s positive attitude is the fact that he sometimes relates some of the concepts to what he saw during his travels with the family. He narrates some of these concepts to his classmates during the classroom session. This helps the pupils to clearly understand the content that is being delivered. In addition, George always says that he has had a desire of reducing the number of days that he does not come to school. He hopes that his parents will be able to settle so that he can commit all his time to school.

  1. Suggestions of way forward

There is need for more assessment of George’s work. Assessment can be designed to help enhance the learning process (Cowie, 2005) instead of the current model where George’s assessment mainly measures his learning. The assessment can be made formative to ensure that information from the assessment is used by both the teacher and the student to focus the classroom and use learning activities that can have the maximum positive effect on George. This can also be of benefit to the other pupils. The quality of the responses received from George will be evaluated and a strategy devised on how to improve on science competence (Cowie, 2005).

The other way forward is that George and his classmates should be encouraged to engage in more feedback sessions with one another. This should be designed in a manner that takes care of their age. Through engagement with one another, the pupils can better understand the goals and objectives of learning different course concepts. The implication of this is that the pupils will develop actions that will make sure they achieve the learning goals (Alkan, 2013).

It is important that George is engaged throughout the lessons that he is attending. This means that he should be allowed to express himself more and have more stories of his experiences during the travel. As has been mentioned, George has begun to improve his participation in class by answering more questions and asking questions for the content that he does not understand. It is therefore important that he classroom environment is made more collaborative to help George and other pupils who may be having learning difficulties. From the analysis it can be seen that George is intelligent. However, there are a few problems that he is having with science literacy. The objective of the learning process should be to help George in all the learning areas (Andreas & Manfred, 2011). Collaborative learning can be one of the effective ways in which interest in science literacy can be improved. In this regard, it will be important that George is informed of the progress that he has made in language literacy and how this positive progress can help improve his academic performance. By encouraging him this way, George will have more interest in learning (Cowie, 2005). The positive comments from the teacher will help in improving the relationship with George. This will make it easy for George to understand the content that is being delivered in the classroom (Piliouras & Evangelou, 2012). There are different reasons why pupils like George may be asking questions in the classroom. Some of the reasons include desire to understand the content or desire to utilise the classroom resources within their environment (Cowie, 2005). The teacher should have a good understanding why George is asking questions. This will help in developing interventions that can meet his learning needs.

The other way forward is that George should be encouraged to perform more independent reading of the course content (Cowie, 2005). This is a very important element that will improve George’s overall performance. There is also need for more follow up with the parents on the different learning areas that George has. George is likely to take the learning more seriously when the parents are more involved in his learning. The inclusion of the parents can help in identification of other learning areas or other strategies that the teachers can use to help George.

The other thing is that George should be encouraged to develop a positive perspective in life despite the challenges that he could be facing. This will make her increase her efforts and contributions in the classroom environment and thereby increase the amount of content that she understands from the course. It is desired that a more personal relationship be developed with George. This will help in easy identification of the personal problems that George could be facing in the learning. In this regard, the teacher will need to be understanding, caring, should know the students and should have a commitment towards improving on the pupils’ learning (Alkan, 2013).

George should be encouraged to read more English books. This will help in improving his language skills. Through this, George will increase his science literacy and easily comprehend the different course contents that are being delivered. From the analysis it was noted that George has a problem with science literacy. In addition, I believe that the language of instruction should be changed. This will help in ensuring that the pupils can understand the instructional content. The understanding of language will help in better engagement and help George in achieving the learning objectives.

The parent should be advised to closely monitor his activities and interests while at home. The parents should also be able to help George with some of his assignments when he reaches home. They should present the information in a manner that can be best understood by George. This requires that the parents develop a more personal and close relationship with George. By monitoring George’s activities, the parents can easily identify the learning needs and communicate this to the teachers (Cowie, 2005). As has been mentioned, by understanding the learning needs, the teacher is able to develop interventions that can best serve George. The parents also know the language that George can understand better. They can therefore participate in improving his science literacy skills.

 

 References

Alkan, V. (2013). Pupils’ voice: “My primary school teacher”. Educational Research and

Reviews, 8(11), pp. 777-784.

Andreas, K., & Manfred, P. (2011). Research on interest in science: Theories, methods, and

findings. International Journal of Science Education, 1(1), pp. 27-50.

Cowie, B. (2005). Pupil commentary on assessment for learning. The Curriculum Journal,

16(2), pp. 137-151.

Piliouras, P. & Evangelou, O. (2012). Teachers’ inclusive strategies to accommodate 5th grade

pupils’ crossing of cultural borders in two Greek multicultural classrooms. Research in Science Education, 42(2), pp. 329-351.

 

Appendix 1

  Entry Level Science (AQA)
Subject Biology Chemistry Physics
Topic Keeping Healthy Investigation about heart rate Oil, atmosphere and earth Investigation about seperating oil and water (emulsion) Energy efficiency Investigation about materials that could be used for lagging
Grade 15/20 14/15 012/20 13/15 15/20 13/15
Level Level 2
Total           82/105