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KS3 level descriptors - what do you really think of them?

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by misfit, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. I'm currently developing assessment at ks3 in my department. Clearly we've all been using the level descriptors for years, but what do you think of them? Vague and ambiguous or do they provide scope for creativity and teacher autonomy? How do you apply them in school? Do interpret them for pupils and if so do you do this for each project individually or do you have one set of descriptors which you use across the board at key stage 3?
  2. mmjkaejec

    mmjkaejec New commenter

    My new D&T Level Descriptors
    Can they draw
    Can they cut
    Can they sew
    Can they cook
    Can they think
  3. The level descriptors (whatever happened to the word ?description?) have always been extremely useful for a teacher to read in entirety and then make a reasonable holistic judgement on a student. However, since we have been directed to break them down into so-called ?student speak? and use them as a carrot for students to progress towards, they have revealed themselves as utterly useless in this regard.
    I feel somewhat embarrassed trying to explain to a child that their practical work is level 3 because it is accurate, would be level 4 if it was neatly finished, and could be level 5 if it was precise ? particularly if they ask me what, exactly, the difference between accuracy and precision is.
  4. I've found a similar situation, especially where you use a generic set of level descriptors across KS3. Also, it seems to become a 'hoop jumping' excercise to satisfy the assessment criteria. But what approach do you take for pupil self-assessment if you don't encorporate the level descriptors to some extent in this?
  5. Hi. Not sure I have "the answer" to this dilemma. But my efforts to tackle it look like this: I have started to look at the way students typically develop their DT skills. In reality, progression tends to fall into this pattern. A) go straight to making B) draw a “final design” C) label some obvious features of the “final design” D) draw some “designs” and pick one E) label unclear features to help explain “designs” F) Label “designs” to suggest improvements G) incorporate improvements into further “designs”. (I’m not too happy with the word “designs” here – trying to get students to think of design as a process rather than an outcome. Maybe “ideas” is better.) I’m still working on exactly how to marry these up with the studentspeak NC “hoops”.
  6. And on the making side, I'm thinking that a making level should depend upon two things: 1) how challenging the product is, and 2) how successfully produced it is. Asking whether work is "precise" or "accurate" is meaningless without considering the level of challenge. Students should self assess their practical work with level of challenge firmly in mind - rather than going for the "easy hoop" all the time.

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