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APP - do we have to? There must be a way around it......

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Bob Bridges, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. Bob Bridges

    Bob Bridges New commenter

    Have just had our intro to APP by HoD.
    Thoroughly dismayed at the prospect of going back to ticking "skills" off on a grid - sure we did this when NC started all those years ago.
    • Do we have to do APP in the form it is presented ( multiple pages of banks of comments for every pupil ) ?
    • There must be a friendlier way ( for staff and students ) to record progress, also not paper based - anyone with any ideas please.
    Thanks in advance for the help
    It just seems unwieldy and almost Dickensian.
    Happy Easter,
  2. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    My departmet dont because as I have said on a previous thread I am not going to require them to do it until the gouvernment proves to me that

    a) It is actually beneficial
    b) It is presented in a form were the amount of work and paper involved is actually managable
    and c) It commits to the fact taht it is not going to be superceeded by the next initive before anyone has had the chance to actually make it work.
  3. MM makes good points - again!

    But we are going to try and do it
    Gonna produce a spreadsheet something like that on Kangaroo Maths [Glos Maths made it]
    All I need to get my head around is how to organise the weighting to give an overall level. [​IMG]

  4. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    We have a staff meeting about this just after Easter. We have had to produced evidence to discuss. Due to the short notice very little of my evidence comes from work completed under the right conditions to use it for APP. This shows how easy it would be to fabricate evidence or use it inappropriately. The whole thing is a time consuming waste of effort.
  5. Colleen_Young

    Colleen_Young Occasional commenter

    That Kangaroo Maths spreadsheet looks excellent.
    Can't believe they seem to be expecting paper.
  6. Casy
    Paper is not required [indeed, the whole process is not <u>required</u>].
    APP is a derivative of the Primary Strategy impositions, I believe. Mrs Valed used to have to maintain 'evidence' on each child and this involved work folders or one-to-one observations and masses of admin.
    Our approach is going to be much simpler - any work that informs assessment will be recorded with simple "Yes / No / Some" box ticks - y/n/s. That could be a homework, classwork, a summative test etc etc.
    Rather than record marks etc in planners, we will enter one letter in a spreadsheet and that will create level statements as in Kangaroo model.
    Anyone interested in contributing or sharing knows my email
  7. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    I agree valed that this is an option but what benefit will such a list of statements be?

    How will they be used?

    What benefit will the students get from if?

    If none then why do it?

    What if thy are yes today and no in a months time?

    Indentifying what students can and cant do is only useful if direct intervention and support is going to be provided, for a individulaise program of work and support. While I can not argue with this in principle unless my class sizes are reduced by about 75% I cant see it being pratical.

    Most good teachers (and even most average ones) could tell you which students have, say, poor numeracy skills, and most make allowances by differentiating lesson materials and amount of support given etc.

    I simply dont see that these recording of progress (which even on your system is going to be time consuming esoecially as all judgements are supposed to be supported with evidence) is going to serve any purpose whatsoever.

  8. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    I wish my HoD was displaying some of the common sense demonstrated in this thread, we're drowning in APP related paperwork, keeping paper files for every student with self-assessments of every learning objective, topic tests, APP assessment tasks, the lot. I just can't keep up with it. Added to the fact that the APP tasks are time consuming and very ambiguous to mark, we've got a big jump in workload with APP, and we lose teaching time in order to implement it.
  9. Mike

    Agree with everything until last para
    The ONLY evidence we are going to provide is good, old-fashioned Teacher Assessment.
    Not a bit of additional paper in sight, no evidence files etc.
    And the purpose?
    For me, 3 reasons
    1 To see if it makes a difference - recording progress and feeding back to students might just help them when it comes to hurdle-jumping time.
    2 When classes are swapped, we have no knowledge of pupil strengths / weaknesses and this does affect us badly as teachers - i wasted some time this year with a year 9 set 2 class I picked up from a colleague. More class swaps are likely as our new fangled school timetable hits the fan. So this may help inform us more accurately at such times.
    3 Reports to parents - we have been trying to make our reports more subject-focussed rather than talking about Jonnie' poor concentration or inability to bring a pen to lessons. This may be it.
    Who knows - but we are going to give it a try.
    If we are being naive and it turns out to be more work, then it will be dropped immediately - well, by me anyway!
    Essentially, I do not see this as something akin to NCT q by q analysis that was much discussed here before - but if I can see that Jonnie can do L4 fractions, then I'll tick his box.
    Watch this space
  10. I agree with maths mike on this. However, I fear that ofsted would not. I'm also aware of a great deal of inspection emphasis on intervention. My current plan is to kill 2 birds with one stone, by beginning to use APP with specifically identified students who are underachieving. This will enable us to become more familiar with APP statements, and to get our heads around the full implications of it all, whilst improving our work on intervention... It will also hopefully buy us time, during which I just hope that someone amongst the plethora of national maths teaching quango's sees sense in all of this, and either consigns this rubbish to the big strategy paper mountain (awaiting shipment to China), or finds a sensible, practical and useful way forward.
  11. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Agreed with ofsted comments and also valed - you are probably using it as a best fit method of assessment and that I think is what I will probably end up doing - but in no rush and quiet happy to watch this space and learn from others!

    In the end we will probably cherry pick the best bits !!
    In the mean time my assessments will continue to be based around good old fashioned exams [​IMG]
  12. We will be using it as a training device to get greater consistency in our teacher assessments - and that's about all. It's not statutory so it's up to our professional judgement whether to implement it or not. I agree that OFSTED will be looking for this so we need to have something better to show them rather than just a 'gap'.
    The officials fromt he standards unit can't even agree how it is meant to be used but they tell us it has been trailled extensively and shown to work.
    They tell us not to tick off a skill when a student can do it in class but then proceed to show us pupils exercise book work and get us to complete the APP grids from those - just a slight contradiction there that even I could spot!
  13. Thought I'd try and revive this discussion in the light of the SIP coming in next week to quiz me and the head of English about what we're doing in response to APP. I get the impression from what I've recently read, and from the 'external noises' being made to management in our school, that the government intend to bulldoze this APP stuff through no matter how unresolved any practicalities remain. Is anyone else experiencing similar pressure to make this work?
  14. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    I went to a Union meeting last week and several teachers brought this up. I think we need to tackle this through the Unions as a work/life balance issue.
    I'd rather invest my time and energy in preparing great lessons than in ticking boxes.
  15. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Luckily my SMT link is a maths specialist who also remebers the disaster the last time such tick sheets were propsed (as part of the original national curriculum). She therefore fully supports my unwillingness to waste any time on it.

    Instead we are developing our own testing (based on SAT's papers and other assessments.

    Dont think the current LEA advisor is so happy for me not to be doing it but as long as we have a rigorous system that tracks progress then I dont see that we are doing anything wrong. APP is after all only recommended not a compulsory curriculum requirement (or at least thats my belief)
  16. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Look some of the APP stuff is quite useful and certainly could be used to help with thinking about setting curricular targets and giving feedback but the collecting evidence and record keeping is just a non sarter in my opinion. May just abou be OK in primary schools were teachers tach the same group of 30 kids all the time but we often teach (and would therefore be expect to maintian records for) 120 + Key stage 3 kids. Infact I have a teacher who teaches (by choice) nothing but KS&pound; and would therfore ahve 6 classes (around 150 kids) to keep track of - simply impossible

    I have filed my APP stuff next to the secondary framework planning toolkit and guess it will be a long time before I really have the urge to use either!
  17. APP stuff is gathering dust on a shelf. Don't like it for reasons already outlined. Instead making sure that our tracking of students is a bit more rigourous. I have come under a lot of pressure from SLT to start using materials, but the AHT "leading" this initiative in our school tried to discuss the matter again with Head of English and myself - he seemed to be put off when we kept laughing at him. Poor chap!
  18. lancsHOD

    lancsHOD New commenter

    We are expected to track pupil progress but we don't have to do it by using APP?( I think?)
    I am going to visit a feeder primary who have been a pilot school for APP, they think they have it sorted so I'll see what they are doing and if we could make it manageable at secondary level. If they have Year 5 and 6 sorted then that could be a good starting point for us???
    I am trying to identify key objectives in SOW and was wondering if we could record y/n/i to those maybe 2 or 3 in a half term. We are developing assessments that give us levels and want to put some assessed homework in. Kangaroo maths been a good resource.
    Any practical and manageble ideas welcomed.
  19. maths126

    maths126 New commenter

    SMT wanted to make a bid for us being an Outstanding Practitioner of APP in order to get &pound;!000. The idea was that we would get a grant if we could be a sort of Model School and make presentations to other schools on how we implement it. I met with DHT and Head of English to discuss this.
    In the meeting I explained that I felt that APP was fundamentally flawed, and that an exact time-stamped measurement of a child's Maths skills was no more possible than an exact measurement of a coastline. I said that our learning patterns were far more cloudy than that, with the zone between "understood" and "not known" being the most cloudy of all. Fortunately our brains as teachers use the same "cloudiness" in the way we make and refine our internalised assessments of every child we teach, and do so every time we interact with the child via a test, an exercise book or (most importantly) simply by talking to them. Probing questions, traffic lights and other good AFL techniques all inform the picture we keep in our heads as teachers. These kinds of cloudy but accurate pupil assessments are impossble to record on pape, nor should they be, because of the disparity between the time taken to make a written record and the time taken for the shape of the cloud to change.
    At the moment we set formal tests about three or four times a term with each KS3 class, and record a split level for each child in our departmental records. Even these do not show much progress from one test to the next, but they are powerful indicators of longer-term progress and help us manage set lists and spot intervention needs.
    The Head of English said she too had her own systems but was already feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to make frequent assessments. This was a nod in the direction of APP in her subject, but not to the detail being promoted. She was reluctant to engage any further.
    My department will never be asked to fill in any tick box papers while I am in charge, and while Ofsted continues to rate our own current practice as "Outstanding in ever respect". If SMT insist, they can tell us which other inititatives they would like us to drop in order to provide the released school time for it to be done, because as far as I am concerned, time at home should be used only for preparing outstanding lessons, with exam/test marking only as it arises. With online homework assessments and peer reviews in class, we are moving in the direction of reducing the clerical load on a teacher and addressing the work-life balance in a way that still promotes outstanding teaching.
    Ultimately it has to come down to whether or not the department is providing "value for money" in terms of attainment, enjoyment and celebration of success at any level for each child. Pupil progress is achieved by good teaching which adapts to the needs of the child, which engages their interest and which leads them safely into the proverbial green pastures of new understanding. All of us remember the best teachers we ever had, and maybe even the best lessons, but none of us remembers who was best at marking the books.
    I concluded that any claim to be a school excellent at APP in English and Maths would be untrue if not completely hypocritical, at least regarding Mathematics. At this point the DHT backed down and closed the meeting. We will not be making the bid.
  20. lancsHOD

    lancsHOD New commenter

    Sounds like you are doing quite a lot of testing at KS3. Do you write your own tests? What resources do you use?
    We find levelling tests hard but are working at refining our levels for each test (usually done half termly). The tests do tell us who is strong/weak in the class on that test and that is useful. We do some kind of SATs/progress test at the end of year 7,8 &9 and then we do get an overall level.
    Our English dept have taken 'some bits' from APP and are looking at a few key areas but Maths and English are so different. I can agree with English that APP in it's current form is totally unmanageable.
    As you said if Afl is been done properly that's what matters, we still need to work on Afl but we are making progress.

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