AFL in Dene Magna English Department. Closing the Gap…a brief history….
AFL in Dene Magna English Department
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We have been focusing on AFL for four years now and have developed numerous strategies to “Close the Gap”. We believe in our department that AFL should be at the centre of everything we do. What follows is how we have developed and enhanced AFL in the English department at Dene Magna
The last four years…
Over the last four years we have totally re-developed the way we approach assessment and have completely changed the assessment culture in our department
We began with the way we assess writing and the way we use questioning and moved on from there
Ways to develop an AFL culture…
Start small and focus on one area of assessment…win small and win often…huge unwieldy policy documents and commandments will not work
We began with developing Responding not Marking.
We felt the best way to approach assessment of writing was as follows:
Highlight one good feature of the writing in yellow and one area for improvement in green (relating to the learning objective)
Then extend an arrow to the nearest space and write a prompt for the student to help them to make a focused improvement – it could be in the form of a question, an example or a sentence starter / writing frame. It may be appropriate to simply highlight and encourage them to figure out strengths / areas for improvement themselves.
Give the work back to them and get them to write a focused improvement. They may be encouraged to write a synopsis of how they improved their work.
This has made a big difference to the way students are assessing their work and engaging with their progress
The Responding box…
We then went on to develop a box for each classroom that contains class sets of essential AFL tools such as:
Writing Level descriptors for KS 3
Progress tables for Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening
Question prompt sheets
Assessment focus cards
Prompt cards for Critical Partnering
Grade descriptors for GCSE English
What a lesson looks like…
WALTs and WILFs are used in every lesson and are referred to constantly throughout phases of Learning
Blooms revised Taxonomy has a high status in the classroom with students encouraged to hypothesise, predict and evaluate all the time
Students are often involved in peer or self assessment with clear focus on AFs and AOs
Students offer support and advice to each other as critical partners
Exemplar materials are used all the time
Modelling and demonstration is common place
Team teaching and merging of groups happens frequently to enable staff to personalise assessment and learning
There is a culture of sharing where students know their own and each others levels and teachers share data and e-mark books with students in both individual and whole class discussion
A whole department approach…
Underpinning what happens in lessons are the other whole department elements…
A Responding box in every English classroom
Department meetings focused on AFL
Members of the department producing Teaching and Learning newsletters
Peer observations aiding with commonality of practice
Inserts of Responding policy in student’s exercise books
APP used across KS3
E-mark books for data collection and monitoring
Enhancing and moving forward…
This year we are looking at Year 7 and Year 9:
In Year 7 we are rolling out a new skills based/competence Curriculum with phased units and students choosing how they will be assessed
They are currently working on a Competency project with Creative Partnerships that will also enable them to develop their assessment of their Speaking and Listening skills
We are piloting an e-mark book for Year 7s to use so that both the students and parents can access this whenever they want
Year 9 are developing their knowledge and understanding of the Assessment focuses and we are using APP tasks and ongoing progress in Reading and Writing sheets to help them understand what they need to do to progress
We have just started to look at how we can use Responding to assess and give effective feedback through our VLE
AFL Lead teachers
This is a project led by David Nicholls and Alex Fleming to develop and enhance AFL across the County. In part it aims to:
Bring together a group of teachers who are deemed to be approaching AFL in innovative ways
To research what AFL is and what it could be…
To build resources to aid practitioners across the county to build their own level of expertise in this area
To work together in achieving commonality of practice across the county’s schools
Each Lead Teacher has undertaken a project of their own choosing and these range from piloting e-mark books to developing an AFL wikispace.
In my department we are looking at the AFL experience for Year 7s. In short, I want to know that every Year 7 has a firm knowledge and understanding of their NC Level for Reading and Writing and how to progress to the next Level. What can we do to create a new generation of AFL-ers who are taking responsibility for and in charge of their assessment.