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KS3 Science 2008: An AfL Approach to How Science Works Dr Mark Evans Dr Neil Sanderson The Blyth-Jex School Norwich
New KS3, new focus AfL/Personalised Learning Less prescribed content, allowing schools to focus on students that require extra support, and to provide others with more in-depth study and challenge. Assessment to be ‘personalised’’, with, “…greater focus on assessment for learning” How Science Works The revised program of study provides a, “more appropriate balance between content and how science works”. The content statements are described as, “..as much a context for developing knowledge, skills and understanding of how science works, as they are knowledge to be acquired in their own right”
How Science What? Key concepts Scientific thinking a) Using scientific ideas and models to explain phenomena and developing them creatively to generate and test theories. b) Critically analysing and evaluating evidence from observations and experiments. Key processes Practical and enquiry skills a) use a range of scientific methods and techniques to develop and test ideas and explanations b) assess risk and work safely in the laboratory, field and workplace c) plan and carry out practical and investigative activities, both individually and in groups. Critical understanding of evidence a) obtain, record and analyse data from a wide range of primary and secondary sources, including ICT sources, and use their findings to provide evidence for scientific explanations b) evaluate scientific evidence and working methods.
Level Assessed Tasks (LATs) LATs are fully differentiated, open-ended, formative assessment tasks. Widely used since 2005, stemming from pioneering work by Andrew Grevatt at Uckfield Community College, and independently developed at KS3 by the Gloustershire LEA Science team. They use AfL principles to support the development of ideas and processes in science, and clearly identify improvement targets for learners to follow. They are typically used as classroom activities, although they are suited as homework tasks. They are ideal for peer and self-assessment.
Applying LATs to HSW We have analysed the new attainment targets for HSW and sub-divided the statements by level into distinct (and familiar!) categories: Planning Obtaining results Recording results Analysing and concluding Evaluating evidence Using scientific scenarios taken from the range and content specified in the new program of study we have written a series of LATs to focus on the new How Science Works criteria.
NOT tests: Open-book exercises in which students are allowed to use their notes, text books, the internet and to chat with each other about the task. They help develop and consolidate understanding. Using the tasks
Completed LAT Self or peer-assessment using the level ladder. Often modelled by the classroom teacher using a digital camera and the Interactive whiteboard.
Completed Target Table Improvement targets identified
Dedicated Improvement Time After the initial assessment and levelling of the LATs students spend classroom time working on their identified targets for improvement. This is an integral process for developing understanding, and is essential to the formative nature of the LAT
The value of the LAT approach LATs have proven to be very effective in developing understanding of scientific concepts, and in our recent work, the awareness of How Science Works principles. Students typically elevate their understanding by one KS3 level following self-assessment and the period of self-intervention using their diagnosed targets for improvement.
Spread over KS3 By the end of each year of KS3, each student would have undertaken a series of LATs fully exploring the entirety of the How Science Works attainment target. Although a tool for formative assessment, the final level achieved after improvements have been made by the student could be used as a summative measure of understanding and ability linked to How Science Works.
Adopting the LAT system in schools Option one: Produce your own LATs focussing on the requirements of the HSW attainment target, and linked to content that you have sequenced within your new KS3 SOW Option two: Visit www.badger-publishing.co.uk. Andrew Grevatt has produced level Assessed tasks to support the 2008 KS3 curriculum, the previous national curriculum and GCSE science. You can select the ones you like best and slot them into your existing scheme of work Option three: Look out for the inclusion of HSW LATs within new commercial schemes of work being produced for the new KS3