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APP - time to review?

Discussion in 'English' started by rhmorton, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. 1) NO!
    2) We have developed a skilful use of AFL which replaces the mechanical tick boxing of APP with descriptive success criteria - we don't assume that students will learn acquire
     
  2. 1) NO!
    2) We have developed a skilful use of AFL which replaces the mechanical tick boxing of APP with descriptive success criteria - we don't assume that students will learn acquire
    skills
     
  3. 1) NO!
    2) We have developed a skilful use of AFL which replaces the mechanical tick boxing of APP with descriptive success criteria - we don't assume that students will learn acquire
    skills in
     
  4. 1) NO!
    2) We have developed a skilful use of AFL which replaces the mechanical tick boxing of APP with descriptive success criteria - we don't assume that students will learn acquire
    skills in a
     
  5. 1) NO!
    2) We have developed a skilful use of AFL which replaces the mechanical tick boxing of APP with descriptive success criteria - we don't assume that students will learn acquire
    skills in a logical
     
  6. Wow - what happened there! Wasn't looking what I was doing and kept pressing enter instead of backspace! Sorry everyone... Anyway, as I was saying...
    ..... skills in a logical, quantifiable, hierarchical order, but use success criteria to suggest to students some ways that they might explore, develop and experiment in particular skill areas.
    3) As above - a tight, well-organised application of AFL, with clear learning intentions, tasks which help students to engage with them, focused feedback etc. The difference has been in using success criteria with considerably more subtlety than the iron straight jacket of APP.
    4) I have disliked APP since the first time I heard about it, and nothing I've seen has changed my mind - it's an attempt to mechanise and quantify learning to communicate, and is geared towards generation of data rather than learning.
    5) Actually it's been great - it showed us exactly what we didn't want to be like, and forced us to engage with AFL to ensure that we had a convincing alternative.
    6) SLT have been pretty good - they trusted us as professionals to make decisions about learning, even when we told them it was risky (ie OFSTED might not like it). OFSTED came in and they did like it, so that was OK.
     
  7. manc

    manc New commenter

    It sounds like an absolute gas from beginning to end.
     
  8. manc

    manc New commenter

    Is it possible that this approach to assessment is the most eye-poppoingly dull, tedious, micro-managed and dispiriting thing to happen in education for quite some time?
     
  9. Yes - and in addition it is a time-consuming, straitjacketing, reductive stick with which to beat the teachers and obfuscates rather than clarifies the assessment process. I'd love to know how much its inventors were paid for creating it, and how long had been since they had taught a full timetable!!! We have just had an English Department Ofsted this week, and the inspector did not like the way that the Dept was "too skills-focussed" because she wanted to see more creativity and enjoyment in the classroom. It's APP that has caused this - all the younger teachers have been trained to use APP and do it really well, but the holistic nature of English has been overlooked.
     
  10. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    Yes.
    I came up with a very sensible solution to using APP and then my Head of Dept (who, incidentally doesn't teach any KS3) added even more assessment on top of it. We do the following:
    1) Complete normal classwork, but every 2 - 3 times per half term we complete an official 'APP' task, which may involve a 20-30 minute task during which pupils will be assessed on 2 or 3 AFs specifically.
    2) We marked this task diagnostically, we give positive comments and a target to improve.
    3) We number each task, then highlight the APP grid in their book illustrating the level achieved for each AF. We have a sticker that we put under each task and fill in indicating which level they are 'within' for each AF.
    On top of this, our HOD insists that we all do one task at the end of each half term that is the same across the department. This is assessed with an overal level for reading or writing.
    (I know ridiculous amount of marking eh?!)
    APP can and should make the marking load easier and lighter if used properly. I believe that is its intention. However, many HODs who are obsessed with assessing every five minutes because they are so terrified about results and need to justify everything at a higher level tend to complete distort the entire purpose of APP.
    It has improved nothing. Kids would be just as able to understand how to improve with verbal feedback/traditional written comments from their teachers. If used as intended, I believeit could be very effective: it could help build a sort of KS3 portfolio of work for each child.
    That's about it.
     
  11. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    I should add that the surrent system of APP takes me at least 5 minutes per book for each task, if not more. With 25+ kids in each group and 4 different KS3 classes' books to mark, this creates an impossible marking load. I am constantly behind in my marking: my year 7 books haven't been marked since Easter because I've had to prioritise KS4 controlled assessment marking, and then the 'end of year' KS3 exams too.
    Yes, that's right, not only do we assess 2-3 tasks per half term against NC levels, we also do an end of half-term assessment AND an end-of-year exam (reading and writing).
    Our kids are assessed to within an inch of their life, and yet they don't appear to be getting any cleverer.
    Hmmmm
     
  12. manc

    manc New commenter

    So to sum up, the world has gone mad, and this obsessive reductiveness will have to be reversed.
     
  13. I love you lot.... even those who say the same things several times ;)

    Seriously, thank you. This is really useful. What is most interesting is no-one has jumped in to say 'it's brilliant and useful and easy to administer and has helped the students make 3 levels of progress and and and....'
     
  14. Personally, I quite like using the APP grids...
    I am an NQT and I think our dept has a sensible approach towards it. Each KS3 class does 1 reading, 1 writing and 1 S&L task assessed against the grids per term. They are highlighted to show what is achieved, usually the pupils highlight the boxes - gives a nice visual of their levels (helpfully showing that things like spelling or punctuation are a level below their 'ideas' and are 'holding them back' etc)
    We only assess against the AFs that make sense to the task (ie, not historical context if they aren't asked to include it...)
    The pupils find it reasonably easy to figure out how to move up a level in different AFs by looking at the grids, and while it may not 'improve' their grades by itself (not actually sure how a piece of paper would achieve this...) it does allow me to write focused and achievable targets which help them highlight more of the box next time if they achieve it...

    Though, of course, I have no experience of any other system!
     
  15. APP has been around for all of what, ten minutes now? Surely it must be time to change it for something harder to administrate?
    I like the tasks but hate the way they're marked.
     
  16. wanderfar

    wanderfar New commenter

    It's useful as a tool for planning but way to complex for kids to meaningfully engage with; as a senior teacher at our school said 'weighing a pig every 5 minutes doesn't make it any heavier'. Doesn't seemed to have helped our students make any exceptional progress.
     
  17. It's interesting, michellesterry, that your school are not using it as intended/advised (ie you're doing 'tasks' rather than looking at everything produced by a child) and you like it. Just goes to prove that the only way forward is to asappt for your context.
    I've had a couple of conversations with The Powers That be and I think I have scope to make some changes...
     
  18. Funnily enough, Wanderfar, I used the 'you don't fatten a pig by weighing it' analogy when discussing this a couple of days ago.
     
  19. Lol @ Mr Vonnegut. It's actually about 5 years old, I think. I'm sure I went to initial meetings in 2006. But it IS hard (or at least time consuming) to administer, so it does need to be looked at.
     
  20. I do genuinely like the tasks; I find the reading ones pretty imaginative, and I have nothing against regular, informal assessment of pupils - my KS3 pupils like to know where they're up to, so its benefits are many.
    However, that writing mark grid; evil incarnate. I don't want to mark the same piece of work seven times.
     

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