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Showing posts from November, 2014

Does summative assessment of Key Stage 3 matter? And why data is king.

There’s a lot of chatter about the demise of levels.  This has been focused around with what to replace them with.  This is interesting as there will still be an end of Key Stage 2 testing regime (see also here, national testing frameworks here, and sample national test material here)  which will set the baseline for Secondary School progress between the ages of 11 and 16.  We also know that there are GCSEs at the end of Key Stage 4.  This leaves  Key Stage Three with some flexibility over how to  measure and assess the learning of young people.  It’s important to note, that there is no real need to replace levels. Indeed, the energy created to do so, could be wasted.  I’ve always thought of secondary school as a five or seven year journey toward and external qualification so wonder what value there is in creating a measure at all.  After all, what were KS3 Levels for apart from a way of making schools accountable at the end of Year 9? Levels were simply a way of measuring schools, an…

How on Earth did I end up here?

At the Google Teacher Academy last week, I had an out of body experience.  It was truly humbling and strange to be working for Ewan at NoTosh and with a room full of energetic, like-minded (without being carbon copies) ego-less teachers.  More on that in a future post.  In the pub afterward, a few people asked me how I ended up being a mentor.  At the time I told a little white lie and said that I had no idea.  Which is kind of true.  Apart from being myself, I had no real advice.  However, it’s not the first time someone has asked and, when looking back, I have managed to get into some mad places.  Helping the curation of the first TeachMeet at Microsoft’s Global Forum with the entire Western European contingent, most of whom had no idea what a teachmeet was.  They had around about 20 minutes and some free beer before presenting.  I was part of the first FSC-Hack day; have taken part in some mad marathons and other challenges.  And, before the naysayers start, I’ve been up to all sor…

The Government orders you to be curious! Keeping learning routed to real life outside of the classroom: @NatGeo

I’ve written about Floating Topicality many times before.  It was a term given to my by Jeff Stanfield to describe lessons and sequences of learning that tackle current and recent events.  However, with the recent focus on workload, is it possible to stay abreast with current events and turn them into classroom resources?  I would argue that, with a bit of planning, it is not only possible, but essential and a way to reduce workload.  The other charge fired at floating topicality is that students rarely dive deeply into a topic.  This is something that can happen if the event isn’t connected to the bigger curriculum picture.  Remember, we don’t have to ask for permission in order to tackle whatever we want. Indeed, linking to real events that are actually happening is essential if we are to stand even a remote chance of allowing children to understand our world.  Now, this is a geography related post.  It’s the end of the half term and I’m indulging in some serious procrastination and…