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KS2 writing assessment (y6)

Discussion in 'Primary' started by LeftTheBuilding, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. LeftTheBuilding

    LeftTheBuilding Occasional commenter

    Can anyone give me some pointers on how I can support children's writing without compromising its independence? I'm a TA in y6; I'm concerned that my input may be seen as "over-aiding" them, as described in this article https://www.oneeducation.co.uk/one-editorial/news/sta-clarification-on-ks2-writing-assessments. I've asked this same question in school (waiting for a reply).

    According to section 5.1 of the STA's publication "2017 teacher assessment - external moderation: key stage 2 writing", "Writing is not independent if it has been:
    - modelled or heavily scaffolded,
    - copied or paraphrased,
    - supported by success criteria that are over-detailed and over-aids pupils,
    - edited as a result of direct intervention by a teacher or other adult, for example where the pupil has been directed to change specific words for greater impact, or where incorrect or omitted punctuation has been indicated,
    - produced with the support of electronic aids that automatically provide correct spelling, synonyms, punctuation, or predictive text."

    My job is all about scaffolding and modelling. I'm not sure where the boundary lies.
  2. alexanderosman

    alexanderosman Occasional commenter

    If your teacher is telling you to scaffold or model with a group, they are accepting that those children's work from that lesson will not be independent.
    If the teacher wants you to aid without compromising the independence of the work, you should give the children general pointers - comments such as 'check your full stops' and 'can you improve your use of adjectives?' are fine, you just can't say things like 'find the missing full stop in this paragraph', 'add the full stop here', or 'use a better adjective for good'.
    bevdex, efm and Bumptious like this.
  3. LeftTheBuilding

    LeftTheBuilding Occasional commenter

    Despite my repeated requests, the teacher isn't telling me anything, so I end up using my own judgement to determine how much support to give the children who are struggling. I make a note of my input alongside their work, so that the teacher can make a judgement about its independence :(
  4. efm

    efm New commenter

    Scaffolding, modelling, helping proof read/ edit are all good teaching tools. Each child you support will have specific needs/ targets. We gradually take away the scaffold and success criteria. Success criteria is also differentiated and sometimes very generic. I record the context of each piece of work too. One of my students is writing almost at expected level in most areas but way off with her spelling. She gets very frustrated but she has started to try and identify her own mistakes. When she needs to focus on her other targets, my ta helps.
    bevdex and Bumptious like this.
  5. thehawk

    thehawk Occasional commenter

    Put any corrections you want them to do on post it notes. They then correct it, then dispose of the post it notes. Independent! Sorted.
  6. LeftTheBuilding

    LeftTheBuilding Occasional commenter

    :D I assume you're joking…
    Angelil and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  7. abacus1982

    abacus1982 Established commenter

    Or cheating...

    This is the entire problem with the writing assessments they are done so inconsistently. There is no clear definition of what independent is. I moderated some writing with schools in a cluster and one school considered everything independent unless they had specifically sat down with a child 1-1 or in a small group. Another school was doing independent as completely unaided like old school writing tests. Another marked spellings in pencil, then rubbed out the pencil after the child had "self corrected". Time to have a teacher assessment which is given to secondary schools but not reported as part of data. How writing national average can be above reading is beyond me, it never used to be when they had a test like the reading one and too many schools quite frankly cheat.
    sanvicente_fw and Bumptious like this.
  8. LeftTheBuilding

    LeftTheBuilding Occasional commenter

    Nail. On. Head!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  9. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    :eek: I see someone has already pointed out how inadvisible this is, especially in Year 6.
    Angelil and Bumptious like this.
  10. cassandramark2

    cassandramark2 Senior commenter

    This is why moderators are instructed to ask for evidence of cross-curricular writing. Schools are obliged to present a wide range of books and, if they cannot, or refuse to, provide examples of pupils’ writing beyond English books, this can trigger cause for maladministration of judgements.
    Angelil, Lara mfl 05 and Bumptious like this.
  11. LeftTheBuilding

    LeftTheBuilding Occasional commenter

    Sounds like this isn't something I need to concern myself with. It's up to the teacher to provide clarity and guidance. If I invite them but receive none, then all I can do is use my professional judgement to offer the appropriate level support. Unfortunately, too often I'm asked to focus on task completion rather than real learning, but that's a whole other thread…

    Thanks, everyone, for your replies.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  12. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    At this stage in the year, I would say it doesn’t matter too much. I taught y6 last year and we only really used their most recent writing - April onwards or even later (tbh between the end of SATs and the moderation date we taught almost nothing but writing so had plenty of pieces from the previous month!!)

    Plenty of borderline cheating going on in many schools. I went to a cluster meeting where I read a couple of pieces of work which were amazing. However another child from the same school had work which had certain sentences almost identical - just the list of 3 adjectives changed for example - same use of a semi colon or whatever though. This was early in the year but until that meeting that teacher thought that was fine!!

    Spellings are a tough one, but I THINK rules on poor spellers have been relaxed a little this year? Otherwise - our LA advised us that peer spelling checks were fine. I had a few strong spelling kids who basically marked the weaker children’s work for them and told them the correct spelling. This was apparently acceptable. There were no concerns about spelling raised at our moderation last year - yet our marks on the spelling part of SPAG were poor. Interesting huh?!?

    It’s a rubbish system and I’m so glad to be out of it.
  13. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    We were moderated and weren't asked for any other books bar English. We could give them if we chose to, but why would we? I'm not a fan of 'topic' books just becoming an extra English book.
    TEA2111, whitestag and alexanderosman like this.
  14. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    Agreed. I think it's sad that topic becomes writing, writing, writing. We handed over a photocopy of a single piece of science work they'd done at our moderation meeting. They didn't ask for topic books.
  15. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter

    Totally agree with this. It's not all about writing in topic books.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  16. cassandramark2

    cassandramark2 Senior commenter

    Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. It’s not a question of topic books being regarded as a second English book. Instead, it is confirmation that pupils are capable, independently, of including basic skills in punctuation etc. As for external moderators NOT asking for a full range of writing across the curriculum, I’m afraid that - once again - some LAs are not playing ball and, if the STA conducted a monitoring visit, they would fail. I was monitored by a representative of the STA in my role as Lead Moderator last year. She was, at the same time, being monitored by a representative of the DFE. Both of them expected to see cross-curricular writing.
    zoobiezoo likes this.
  17. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    There's a world of difference between 'basic punctuation' and what is required to meet 'the expected standard' though, isn't there?

    Frankly, the writing my class did in their topic books last year was not as good as the writing in their English books. THats because in English, we spent weeks working up to a piece of writing, doing modelled writing, guided writing, teaching specific grammar/sentence structures to support that genre etc etc etc. In topic, the learning objective usually came from the history/geography/D&T curriculum. We did not spend weeks building up the English skills required because - shockingly - the English wasn't the main focus.

    Does that mean they weren't writing at the expected standard? Perhaps. But I'm not sure how many children honestly write at that level indepdently in their topic books in any school. I just don't believe it is achievable for many children. I certainly don't believe 75% (or whatever % it was) of children nationally write at that level spontaneously without the specific teaching they get in English lessons.

    I agree there are huge discrepancies in how LAs are applying the guidance. I wouldnt be surprised however, if the DFE person in your meeting had different expectations to the DFE person in a different meeting. There's no consistency.
    Milgod and alexanderosman like this.
  18. tandemtinker

    tandemtinker New commenter

    I resigned from being a local authority writing moderator for just the reasons that have been stated in abundance.....I'd go to a school and it was obvious that they had one "writing book" for me to view and assess which was approximately one third full after a year's Y6 literacy lessons!!! I never was shown their day-to-day exercise books! I'd then go to another school and immediately recognise genuine pupils' writing skills and moderate accordingly! Why oh why did the DFE abandon the SAT writing task? I admit, with a ridiculous 30 marks at stake for the writing task, there were bound to be discrepancies in examiners' final marks, but at least it was a fairer assessment than today's shambles!
  19. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    This is the language from the new Interim Framework

    A pupil’s work in the subject being assessed alone may provide sufficient evidence to support that judgement, although evidence should ideally include work in other curriculum subjects.

    That, to me, sounds like English books should be enough.
  20. cassandramark2

    cassandramark2 Senior commenter

    Yes, it does. As long as there is plenty of independent work which doesn’t appear to have been spoon fed (e.g. duplication or repetition of the same phrases across the sample of children in what is supposed to be unaided work). We all know that this happens - maybe not in your school or mine - but it does.
    abacus1982 and alexanderosman like this.

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