KS3 Computing Assessment Framework

Since the disapplication of the ICT programme of study a couple of years ago, ‘KS3 assessment criteria’ or a variation thereof has been one of the most frequent search terms that lands people on my blog.  Whilst I tweaked and remixed the ICT criteria in 2012, a new program of study (and for a lot of us a brand new subject) has resulted in the need for a new assessment framework.  Here’s how my department and I have been going about it.

Start Points

Our three main touchstones for the process were as follows:

1. The new KS3 programme of study (and also the KS1/2 POS to see what we were picking up from primaries).

2. This rather superb Guide to Computing in the Secondary Curriculum from Computing at School (CAS).  Again, there is a primary version that I urge you to read.

3. Miles Berry‘s (yes, him again!) assessment framework available on the CAS resources hub.

If you’re getting the feeling that CAS is a valuable and knowledgable community and resource centre, then you’d be right!

Rationale

My school will continue to use levels for 2014/15, so we used the traditional numbers, but any nomenclature would do just fine, white belt > yellow belt, stone age > bronze age (OK, maybe not that one) etc etc.

There were two key tenets for the process, they were:

There should be as much consistency across one level as possible – all the level 5 descriptors should involve a roughly similar complexity of thinking.

There should be a clear progression ladder in each topic – steps between levels should represent an increase in the complexity of thinking/comprehension but without enormous leaps in the complexity of what we are asking students to do/understand.

Process

Rather than take Miles’ framework and implement it unedited, we felt that it was important for the whole department to have a say in the scaling process.  To do this, we used an afternoon of departmental INSET time on a physical cut & paste exercise, where we literally cut all the statements up, clustered  them into rough topics and then sorted them into order.  The strands we used were Digital Literacy, Computer Science, and ICT.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 20.05.48

To help us, we used Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy, the SOLO taxonomy framework and good old fashioned professional argument.

Whilst we tried to standardise key words across levels, sometimes we agreed that understanding one concept was more complex than understanding another and so one was (for example) a six whilst the other was a five.

This sorting and arguing really helped us to clarify our understanding of the descriptors. In some cases we adapted, combined or re-wrote them to fit the two main criteria of our rationale. As a result, we now feel that we have a robust tool to help us plan individual units, feed back to pupils and help them progress toward the (very ambitious) statements outlined in the programme of study.  All staff have more of a shared understanding of the criteria and ownership of the framework.

Cut & Paste

The result

If you’ve skipped the earlier paragraphs, or even if you haven’t, please bear in mind that this is not a finished product.  Just like with my resources, I would strongly recommend that you examine, question, adapt and tweak for your own school. The process of creation of this V 1.0 has been just as valuable as the outcome.

For planning purposes, I’ve mapped the descriptors to various topics in this Google Spreadsheet. The letters are so that we can keep track of which descriptors we are marking against and update each pupil’s KS3 assessment overview document (which hasn’t been produced yet, but will be in a simpler format.

To access the document in Google Drive (it displays much better there) here’s the link.

I’m absolutely sure that this framework will adapt as we get to grips with the new curriculum in the classroom, but your feedback on V1 would be more than welcome.  Please comment with your views.

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KS3 ICT/Computing Resources – A ShaREvolution

I’m a huge believer in sharing good practise and working with other teachers to develop quality lesson plans and resources.  This probably stems from my preference to wander the corridors searching for some poor lucky soul with whom to chat about and refine ideas.  The idea that I can share a questioning framework before school that can be used instantly by teachers around the world is not only exciting, but an incredibly powerful argument for the teaching of digital literacy & citizenship.

I’ve been sharing my resources with various ICT teachers around the world for a while using DropBox, but @MrLockyer has turned it into something bigger. He has become Lord of the Dropbox and organised several collaborative spaces for sharing resources.  I’m a member of the #KS34ICTDropbox and #SLTdropbox, but here is a full list on Stephen’s blog.  If you aren’t a Dropbox member, you can sign up here (I get a few extra mb of storage if you use this link, so if you don’t want to do it that way, use this one instead).

Anyway, to avoid instantly filling everyone’s storage limit on Dropbox, I’ve created a simple document that links to all of my schemes of work, projects and assessment materials for Years 7,8 and 9.  Please feel free to plunder, but with Creative Commons Non Commercial and Attribution restrictions.  Enjoy, sign up to share your own stuff, and let me know how you get on.

EDIT – With the advent of the new Computing curriculum, I have adapted and reworked lots of the content in my KS3 SOW.  Links to the latest resources can be found on the Computing Resources page of my site.