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Assessing and 'Progressing' Pupils' Work

Introduction

We planned and taught a lesson to a group of four year eleven pupils, who came
from Alderman Callow secondary school. The aim of the lesson was to teach the
pupils how to create a web site using Publisher and how to search effectively via
the Internet. The lesson was based around the scenario of a competition, this was
where several groups of pupils were competing against each other, where each
group had to create a web site, which related to creating stories, and these
stories were mainly related to local area issues. The lesson that we taught was
largely based around Coventry's Skydome (please refer to appendix one to view
more information regarding lesson content and structure)..

Planning and Teaching within the Lesson


The planning phase involved designing a lesson that would incorporate the
teaching of creating a web site as well as teaching the skills of searching via the
Internet using a Boolean search. The lesson included group discussions and a lot
of independent work that the pupils carried out. Group discussions took place
during decision-making time; this was where the pupils had to decide on the
following:

· Job roles

· What to search for on the Internet from studentcentral.co.uk

· What stories should be put into the web site

· What the web site should look like

. Independent working involved pupils to: Weber.

· Search via the Internet

· Designing web site

The teaching that took place during the lesson was very little in comparison to
the work the pupils actually did. All that was taught to the pupils was how to
carry out a Boolean search and the basics of creating a web site via publisher. Visit
dg more project dg Do dg not dg redistribute

Prior Knowledge and Experience of Pupils

To identify what the pupils already knew a prior knowledge questionnaire was
completed (please refer to appendix two to view this questionnaire). We thought
that the pupils may be less inclined to explain what they already knew if we
asked them verbally, as at that time we would appear as strangers to them.
"Research has shown that a learner's prior knowledge often confounds
an educator's best efforts to deliver ideas accurately."[1] In other words if
an educator (the teacher) knew what the pupils already knew then they could
identify weaknesses and strengths for each pupil, this will enable them to identify
what they need to spend more time on teaching and what they don't.

"Neglect of prior knowledge can result in the audience learning


something opposed to the educator's intentions, no matter how well
those intentions are executed in an exhibit, book, or lecture."[2] If the
teacher was not aware of what pupils already knew they could end up teaching
pupils something that they already know or they could leave a gap of information
out, this would be where the teacher would assume that the pupil is aware of
this. This statement clearly highlights the important of identifying prior knowledge
and experience. This was where we conducted a formative assessment, where
assessment for leaning took place.

The questionnaire identified the following: Visit coursework dg dg Do dg not dg redistribute

QUESTION RESULTS ANALYSIS


Have you had any All four pupils said, This had enabled us to identify that
previous experience in "YES". The example the pupils will have no problems in
producing articles they gave of using this creating stories for the web site.
based on facts? skill was in English.
Have you created a All four pupils said This had enabled us to identify that
web page before? "NO". we need to teach them from
scratch.
Are you familiar with All four pupils said As there is no prior knowledge of
the term Boolean "NO". this term, we though it necessary to
Search? first define the term, then
demonstrate how such a search is
carried out.
We wanted to find out about their knowledge of using various software packages,
to this we asked pupils to identify software packages that they have used before,
the graph below displays the results:

This graph clearly indicates that all four pupils know how to use Publisher, this
identifies that when set to task to create the web site they will not have a lot of
problems as they have the experience of using Publisher. However, this graph
also indicates that they have never used FrontPage, yet another web site creating
software packages. This assumes that they have no understanding of hyperlinks
and other various key terms that are associated with websites.

On the whole the above information had clearly indicated that all four pupils had
experience of using a variety of software packages, leading to the conclusion that
they will have no problems in using Publisher to create the web site.

Assessment of Learning

Assessment of learning is also referred to as a summative assessment, according


to the QCA a summative assessment "provides a snapshot of attainment at
the end of key stages".[3] This is where we had to find out whether the pupils
learnt anything, if they did, what did they learn. Using various assessment
techniques, we feel that the pupils learnt the following:-

· How to carry out a Boolean search

· How to create a web site using Publisher

· How to copy and paste text via the Internet and Microsoft Word
· How to search within a set of results via a search engine

· How to identify relevant and irrelevant information

Post Session Questionnaire (to view questionnaire please refer to appendix four)

To help us assess what the pupils had learnt we asked the pupils to fill in a
questionnaire where they had to explain and identify what they had learnt from
the session. Part of the results are illustrated below:

This graph clearly indicates that all pupils learnt how to conduct a Boolean search
and that all pupils learnt the basics of creating a web site.

Stages of Development

At the beginning of the lesson we were assessing confidence in using computers


and three out of the four pupils clearly showed their confidence, however there
was one who did lack confidence. The first task for pupils was to search the
Internet using Boolean searches to find information related to the Skydome. From
observations it was noted that all four pupils were using the Boolean search
technique to find information. It was clearly evident that they were able to
conduct a Boolean search without any assistance.

When it came to the creation of the web site, there were a few problems. As
pupils lacked experience of creating a web page they did need help form time to
time. However, once they knew how to complete a computer procedure they
would carry out that same procedure again themselves. For example, I
demonstrated how hyperlinks are created, there onwards the pupils created the
hyperlinks themselves. I asked the pupils the following questions at the end of
the session:

"If you were to create a web site again using Publisher, do you think you
would be able to do this on your own?"

The pupils had mutually agreed that they could do it gain but, they would need
some guidance. I asked them to explain what sort of guidance they thought they
would need and they said:

"There should be someone around in case we needed their help. I think


we need a few more sessions before we could create a web site on our
own."

This statement clearly indicates that they are not as yet at the mastery level in
creating a web site. This does not surprise me, as there was little time to teach
everything there was to know and in the real world a couple more sessions would
be needed for practising computer procedures and for learning new computer
procedures. Some of the questions in the post questionnaire asked pupils to
identify whether they were at the mastery level or still needed guidance; some of
the results are illustrated below:
The chart on the previous page clearly indicates that the pupils did not find the
tasks set difficult to tackle and complete. A further question was asked of
whether they felt they worked independently during the session or whether they
needed help from time to time, the graph below shows the results:

Although the graph above suggests that two pupils were at the mastery level and
two were not, our personal observations and assessment techniques suggest
otherwise. Overall it can be said that the pupils did meet the set learning
outcomes (these can be seen in appendix 1), however they had not yet reached
the mastery level in creating a web site using Publisher.

Assessing Final Product

From assessing the web site that the pupils produced (please refer to appendix
three to see the web site printouts) it seems that they are working at level 5
towards a level 6. The reasons for this was because their work showed:

· That they combined the use of ICT tools - This was where they used the
Internet to find information, they used Word to rewrite stories and they used
Publisher to present the information that they had found.

· That they refined information in different forms and styles - This was
where the pupils rewrote stories from the Internet. For example they found a
story on Disney Award ceremony that took place at Skydome. The article they
had found was written in the future tense, as the event already took place, they
rewrote the story in the past tense.

The above evidence only shows part of why they achieved a level 5 but if you
view the web site further evidence of it can clearly be seen.

How the Assessment of learning took place


Three different assessment techniques were used; firstly we used the technique
of questioning. "Questions call upon us to talk about not just what we
know but how we know it and how we validate our knowing. There is
rigor in this process because it calls upon us to become reflective about
why we know and how we know and be able to establish criteria for
knowing and be able to communicate these criteria."[4] The questions that
were asked were largely based upon Blooms taxonomy, "Benjamin Bloom
created this taxonomy for categorizing level of abstraction of questions
that commonly occur in educational settings."[5] Blooms taxonomy consists
of six major questioning sections, knowledge, comprehension, application,
analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

We interpreted the knowledge questioning into finding out previous knowledge


and experience of the topics that were going to be covered in the session,
questions for this can be seen in appendix two. Comprehension questions were
asked verbally during the creation of the web site and during decision-making
time, for example, why have you chosen this particular story? Application
questions were also asked verbally, for example, show me how you created
that hyperlink?
Analysis questions were asked throughout the session, for example can you
explain to me why you have chosen these colours? Synthesis questions
included, what kinds of people do you think would look at a web site like
this? Evaluation questions were addressed verbally and they were also addressed
in the post session questionnaire. Fro example, what do you think you have
learnt from today's session, and how can you improve your web site?

The questions that were asked enabled us to get the pupils to think about what
they were to do, what they were doing and what they could do. It also enabled us
to assess what they already knew and what they had learnt from the session. If
the right questions are asked and are well thought of during the planning phase,
then learning can become more effective and assessing can become easier.

The second assessment technique that we used was observation, this was where
we observed group discussions and work done on the computer. Observation
involves "watching or listening to pupils carry out some activity or
judging a product a pupil has produced".[6] Assessing learning progress in
ICT is probably one of the easiest things a teacher can do. It was very easy to
look at pupils' screens to see what they were doing and how they were doing it.
For example, when pupils were set the task to find information via the Internet I
was discreetly looking at their screens to see if they were using the Boolean
search technique and to my amazement they were all using the technique
perfectly.

To reflect upon what the pupils thought they had learnt a post session
questionnaire was used, this was supposed to act as a self-assessment tool.
Unfortunately the pupils were not so descriptive in their explanations and it was
therefore not as useful as it was hoped to have been. However, the observations
and verbal questioning were very useful and had helped to assess prior and post
knowledge as well as identifying areas that could be improved on for future
lessons.

Setting Learning Targets


After assessing the pupils work on what level they have achieved and assessing
their use of IT skills, it is important to set them targets to achieve a higher level
and to gain much more confidence in creating web pages using Publisher. The
learning targets that I would set for these pupils include:

• To increase their confidence in producing web pages


• To get them to create web pages independently
• To achieve level 6 or 7

These targets can be met using various teaching techniques and strategies, these
can include:

• ICT skills specific taught lessons


• Project work
• Set class activities aimed specifically at learning how to create web pages
using Publisher

There are a variety of ways in which these pupils can achieve a higher level as
well as becoming confident in using Publisher to create web pages. After
searching through various teaching strategies and model lesson plans I have
decided to plan for a series of lessons which will conclude with a two-week project
activity, where their skills can be assessed. A summary of these lesson plans
include:

Lesson 1
The main objective of this lesson is to identify good features of a web site, in
terms of design, layout and content. The main activity for this lesson would be to
evaluate a variety of web sites and to identify good and bad features for each
web site. At the end of the lesson the pupils' would be expected to understand
the rules of a good web site, this should include:

• Ease of navigation
• Consistency
• No clutter
• No clashing colours

There will be many more but these are thought to be some of the main rules for a
good web site.

Lesson 2
The main objective of this lesson will be to learn the basics of creating a web
page using Publisher. The main activities involved in this lesson will be where
pupils will complete mini activities demonstrating several computer procedures,
these would include:

• Setting up hyperlinks
• Creating background
• Adding buttons
• Inserting text and images
• Inserting new pages

Lesson 3

The main objective for this lesson would be to carry out


the computer procedures mentioned above using
mini tasks were guidance from the teacher would be
at the bare minimum. An example of a task that
could be included in this lesson is shown below:

TASK
You work for a web site promotion consultancy firm. One of your jobs involves
suggesting possible ways of increasing the use of company web sites. You have
just been told that Bike.com are not getting their estimated hits per week, it is
your job to find out why and to come up with a solution. POSSIBLE HINTS: Look
at navigation, design, can you make things look better on the web site, how?

This task will allow the teacher to assess whether the pupils are able to perform
the necessary skills needed to create a web page, as well as identifying whether
the pupils' are aware of the design rules.

Lesson 4
This lesson will involve the introduction of the web assignment; this is where
pupils will be given an assignment to create a web page for a particular scenario.
Alongside this they will need to do the following so that they are able to achieve
level 6:

• Creating complex lines of inquiry - This will be done through searching via
the Internet and other various databases where they will need to find
information upon the subject they have chosen to create a web site for.
• Within their design plan they will need to clearly state whom their
audience is as well as the purpose of their web site. They will also need to
explain how they will meet their audiences' needs.
• Use advance features of a web site application, for example a search
function or forms.
• They will need to show evidence of site testing.
• As an additional element to the project they need to explain how the
Internet has affected the world of today, for example the effect it has had
on business, it could be good and bad, or they could explain how it has
affected shopping.

If the pupils' successfully complete the project then they are sure to have
achieved a level 6, this will clearly show progression. The project will have no
teacher interventions, and as a result identification of mastery use of the software
can clearly be seen. Learning targets help pupils' to achieve their very best, this
can be done through increased knowledge and experience and it is one of the
main reasons as to why teachers are always assessing pupils' work, so that they
can help them achieve their potential.

In Summary
Assessment should take place before and after learning, so that pupils' receive
the best education, an education that best suits their needs. The lesson that I
taught has enabled me to identify the importance of formative and summative
assessment, it has enabled me to identify various teaching strategies that would
enable pupils' to show and achieve progression in the work that they do.

One of the easiest ways of identifying strengths and weakness in pupils in terms
of what they have learnt is through questioning. The lesson that I taught has
enabled me to practice and adhere to the use of Bloom's taxonomy questioning
rules. In future I intend to identify prior knowledge, I intend to assess learning
through questioning and structured observations. Finally it can be said that I have
learnt that setting targets for pupils' is very important and it will be done
throughout my career of teaching.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Textbooks

1. Airasian, P (1999) "Assessment in the Classroom." McGrawhill, UK.

2. Bloom, B.S. (Ed.) (1956) "Taxonomy of educational objectives: The


classification of educational goals." Handbook I, cognitive domain. New
York ; Toronto: Longmans, Green.

Web Sites

3. Hollister, B."What Do We Know and How Do We Know It?:Questioning


As Assessment".
Published at:
http://www.imsa.edu/center/bernie/html/plagueassessment.html .

Last Visited 17th February, 2003.

4. Roscelle, J. "Learning in Interactive Environments: Prior Knowledge and


New Experience".

Published at:
http://www.exploratorium.edu/IFI/resources/museumeducation/priorknowledge.h
tml.

Last visited: 17th February, 2003.

5. "QCA Assessment definitions."

Published at: http://www.qca.org.uk/ca/5-14/afl/definitions.asp .

Last Visited: 17th February, 2003.

AppendixTopic
1 Lesson content and
structure

2 Prior knowledge questionnaire

3 Web site printouts

4 Post knowledge questionnaire

[1] Roscelle, J. "Learning in Interactive Environments: Prior Knowledge


and New Experience". Published at:
http://www.exploratorium.edu/IFI/resources/museumeducation/priorknowledge.h
tml.

Last visited: 17th February, 2003.

[2] Ibid.

[3] "QCA Assessment definitions." Published at: http://www.qca.org.uk/ca/5-


14/afl/definitions.asp . Last Visited: 17th February, 2003.

[4] Hollister, B."What Do We Know and How Do We Know It?:Questioning


As Assessment". Published at:
http://www.imsa.edu/center/bernie/html/plagueassessment.html .
Last Visited 17th February, 2003.
[5] Bloom, B.S. (Ed.) (1956) "Taxonomy of educational objectives: The
classification of educational goals." Handbook I, cognitive domain. New
York ; Toronto: Longmans, Green.

[6] Airasian, P (1999) "Assessment in the Classroom." McGrawhill, UK.

cal1966. Thus, we can say that whilst this represents a progression, in the end we have come no closer to
any "real" knowledge.