I think it does make you change in the classroom as well, it has made me realise even more how much the children need to know what we are looking for in the writing. So they can see what their writing has to look like for each of those, and I actually say to them if you want to go up a level you have to try and do this, this and this and show them those indicators.
It’s probably making sure that we you know do have an example to go from and show the children. Like for my own class if I can point to an exemplar or point to a piece of work and say this is a Level 3 piece of work, this is what you’re aiming for, it’s far more meaningful as a teacher than just to be pie in the sky, they’ve got nothing to build on what they’re learning, and they can’t visualise where they’re aiming.
Once we started looking at writing, when we’d really honed in on writing we discovered that a lot of our teachers didn’t have the content knowledge of writing. We were looking at writing and making judgments about sub-adverbial clauses for example when we didn’t actually know what sub-adverbial clauses were. How can your assessment be quality if you don’t understand what it is you’re actually assessing and then how can you actually be teaching to the needs that you’ve identified from your assessment practices if you don’t really know what needs you’re identifying.
I think it’s made us become much more specific in what we’re actually saying and making much more use of documents that once upon a time would have gathered dust on the shelves.
What I’ve focused in on is the fact that assessment isn’t done so that you can report to parents on it, it needs to be done to have at least two or three purposes.
So if you have quality assessment for me you have quality teaching because you’re actually working out with the child, what it is that needs to be learned and that then comes in your teaching. And then the child makes progress.
We are quite happy to talk about all of these things and probably delve deeper into the indicators and the evidence and look at it and have some quite good heated discussions I suppose as to this work shows that or it’s not showing that.
If we value something we have to give it the time to be embedded so we value this process enormously so we’re prepared to put other things on hold until we get this to the stage where it’s just part of our normal termly practice.
Sustainability I think from a cluster wide perspective we would have to have some agreement that that was just how we do things in Upper Hutt. So you know principals would agree that you know twice a year or once every term, schools would visit other schools and talk about writing. It has to be a systems approach really if it’s going to be sustainable.