Assessing and 'Progressing' Pupils' Work
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)..
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." 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." 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
Have you had any previous experience in producing articles based on facts?
All four pupils said, "YES". The example they gave of using this skill was in English.
This had enabled us to identify that the pupils will have no problems in creating stories for the web site.
Have you created a web page before?
All four pupils said "NO".
This had enabled us to identify that we need to teach them from scratch.
Are you familiar with the term Boolean Search?
All four pupils said "NO".
As there is no prior knowledge of this term, we though it necessary to 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". 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.
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." 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." 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". 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.
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:
These targets can be met using various teaching techniques and strategies, these can include:
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:
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:
There will be many more but these are thought to be some of the main rules for a good web site.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
 Roscelle, J. "Learning in Interactive Environments: Prior Knowledge and New Experience". Published at: http://www.exploratorium.edu/IFI/resources/museumeducation/priorknowledge.html.
Last visited: 17th February, 2003.
 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.
 Bloom, B.S. (Ed.) (1956) "Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals." Handbook I, cognitive domain. New York ; Toronto: Longmans, Green.
 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.