Now that we’re in a post-levels world, rewarding pupils’ achievement has become easier. Why? Previously, schools were concerned with whether pupils have achieved a level, almost achieved it, achieved it securely, ad nauseum — distinctions which didn’t mean very much in the first place. But now, schools can set their own criteria for determining whether or not pupils have achieved the learning goals set out in the National Curriculum.
For example, a school might take a Mastery approach. This would involve identifying key concepts that pupils have to learn in each subject. These become, in effect, key performance indicators, or KPIs. This sounds very corporate, but some schools have adopted this approach, or something very similar.
The Westminster Academy in London, for example, has divided the curriculum into approximately 15 discrete topics per year. Each of these is assessed in several ways, and pupils are given an average score for each topic, and an overall score for all topics in total.
Using an approach whereby there are clearly-defined indicators of progress, a school can keep track of how many KPIs each pupil has achieved, but then it can go much further, which we’ll look at in a moment.
Even outside the confines of the National Curriculum, it is possible to reward achievement, whether it’s of the intellectual kind or to do with behaviour.
In each case, the principles are the same:
- Decide what the criteria are
- Set up the criteria in your MIS
- When you see that a pupil has achieved the desired outcome, such as a good mark on a test or a behavioural goal such as not disrupting the class, make a note of it using a tablet or smartphone: Emerge will write the data back to the management information system without you needing to do anything else.
Following this kind of procedure will ensure that your assessment and behaviour data on each pupil is as up-to-date as it can be. It will also enable you to very easily produce end-of-term reports and summaries, without having to enter any of the data again.
But then, why not make use of the data in more creative ways?
One thing to do, for instance, would be to have Messengersend parents a text each time their child achieves a particular goal.
Another option would be to create digital badges. These are badges that pupils are awarded when they achieve a particular set of criteria. For instance, you could have a badge for best attendance record, or most sustained achievement, or for being very e-safety aware when online.
You can have pupils helping to design the badge, which adds another dimension to the idea. Being digital, badges contain metadata that indicates what the criteria were, and they can be displayed on websites.
So if your pupils each have their own area on the school’s VLE they can display their badges there and, if they have one, their own blog or website.
To find out more about assessment without levels, read the Groupcall ebook on the subject: it’s free!