Understanding and measuring attainment
Good practice requires that assessment should be an integral part of
teaching and learning. The programmes of study are the basis for planning,
teaching and day-to-day assessment. All of the Programmes of Study for
ICT must be taught throughout the key stages but there is no requirement
to assess every part of them.
It is important to decide which parts to assess on a regular basis (formative
assessment) so that staff can decide which of the level descriptors
gives a 'best fit' judgement at the end of the key stage (summative
The other reason for making assessments is to make sure that pupils
are making progress and developing their ICT capability in a systematic
The current requirements are that:
pupil should have an individual record which is updated at least once
progress is assessed and reported to parents every year
there is no requirement to report on levels at present in ICT (at Key
Stages 1 and 2)
there is a requirement to report
on levels at present at Key Stage 3
Although new government papers, such as "Connecting the Learning Society"
do not make explicit reference to assessment levels, there is an expectation
that "there should be measures in place for assessing the level of school
leavers' competence in ICT".
National expectations state that at the end of Key Stage 1 the average
child will be operating at level 2, at level 4 at the end of Key Stage
2 and at level 5 at the end of Key Stage 3. If pupils were above average
ability then they would be expected to work at higher levels.
The QCA schemes of work refer to assessing pupils' work towards the
end of each unit, though Learning Outcomes are clearly stated and match
the intended Learning Objectives. In using these schemes it will be
likely that activities will be set at different levels and the difficulty
will increase. Expectations are stated for each Unit giving a broad
description of what children might be expected to know at the end of
the unit. For the Key Stage 3 Units these expectations are clearly linked
to the national curriculum level descriptors.
What is the least I can do to survive?
The very least that is needed is a plan for how assessment will be developed
in your school. It will give those who need to know the timescale for
the development of assessment in ICT and the key markers along the way
What can I do to thrive?
The way to thrive is to carry out your plan. Make sure that any action
down to you is transferred to your individual action plan. Any action
involving funding or staff meeting time will need to be raised with
the appropriate person, well in advance. If your planning has been shared
with senior managers at the outset, then it should be easier to get
agreement when necessary.
Typical markers could be:
your plan for assessment based on the ICT that is actually happening
in your school; make sure that each new development has an element of
assessment in it to help teachers understand how work should progress
through the school (see the QCA expectation statements and the attached
Pupil's ICT assessment sheet of "Can do" statements)
familiar with the level descriptors and what they mean
'levelling' work using examples from the children in your own class
(see the key words in the left margin on the Pupil's ICT assessment
sheet) refer to the national curriculum action site produced by QCA.
your experience with colleagues
work at different levels into your scheme of work (and into subject
schemes of work to deliver statutory elements)
with the teachers in your school to agree levels of ICT achievement
with teachers from other schools to check your judgements.
Possible monitoring strategies include:
at teachers' planning for ICT each term and checking levels from learning
talking informally with teachers about what they are teaching
the pupils in ICT
a staff meeting or departmental meeting to look at samples of work and
agreeing levels; this works well if done whilst developing a strand
of ICT for a scheme of work
all staff to bring a sample of work on ICT they are comfortable with
and agreeing levels
the level descriptors at a staff meeting to develop understanding of
what we expect of pupils at each age.
assessing their own work:
As children get older, and usually by Year 4 children can be involved
in assessing their own work. Pupil assessment can be at a number of
levels and can be supported by clear statements of learning such as
shown in the Pupil's ICT assessment sheet.
'Inside the Black Box' by Paul Black and Dylan William made the
"You need a culture of success backed by a belief that all can be achieved".
"It is found that pupils are generally honest and reliable in assessing
both themselves and one another, and can be too hard on themselves as
often as they are too kind".
"Pupils can only assess themselves when they have a sufficiently clear
picture of the targets that their learning is meant to attain".
There are numerous recording sheets around. Schools each have their
own preferences from some which are very detailed to those which are
very minimalistic. A number of downloads are offered based on the QCA
KS1 and 2 schemes of work.
- Provides a whole class recording sheet against the Year 1 units -
the key learning outcomes of the QCA units are noted on the sheet.
- Provides a pupil record sheet of the same learning outcomes. There
are some additional outcomes because of the wealth of subject references
also for this year group.
- Provides a record against some, most, etc for a QCA unit.
- Provides a summary of all units for a pupil.
Clearly the class recording sheet is less paper intensive.
Some teachers record key information on their planning sheet. Eg John
now needs to …..
Marking is just as important in ICT and therefore some work should be
printed off or you could use a digital camera to record experiences.
Marking should offer guidance on how to improve.
Useful reading for an understanding of the level descriptors is on the
national curriculum action site (www.ncaction.org.uk).
This site enables a teacher to collect examples of work to produce a
portfolio which can be used to discuss with colleagues. These outline
in simple terms what the key features of each level are, as well as
describing why work fits better with one level than with another. KS1,
2 and 3 examples are provided.
It will be useful for a ICT coordinator to develop the ability to assess
quickly the levels of work for their own pupils and for others in the
school so that colleagues can be guided and appropriate standards set.
Support group meetings with other ICT coordinators or other staff are
a good way of starting discussion and practicing leveling work. Examples
of activities aimed at particular levels are useful to create - such
as the one below for PowerPoint. The document "The characteristics of
ICT levels" is another helpful way of understanding the difference between
levels. This attributes a level based on the best match to the 'verb
set' that provides the closest descriptors of what pupils did to produce
is worth remembering that a level is only officially determined at the
end of a Key Stage, and that judgement will be based on a broad body
of work across the programme of study (and ICT strands). It is useful
however to track the general range of levels that pupils are working
on as they move through the key stage. A single example of ICT work
is not sufficient evidence on which to award a level -although it can
be examined for the 'contribution' it makes to a particular level. However,
it will not usually be possible just by looking only at pupils' work
to determine the ICT level because we would need to know the context
of the work and the process that gave rise to the example. Hence an
annotated commentary to each example of a pupil's work will be important
to provide this fuller picture.
ICT is an area where
the programme of study and level descriptors are not as consistent in
their illustration of levels as they could be, though there are clear
steps in progression in learning about ICT. It is not unusual for teachers
to find it hard to reach agreement about the level of examples of pupils
ICT work. Discussion about pupil work against criteria can help to clarify
the level of work, but more specifically to identify what it is that
enables progress from one level to another. Assessment is something
that ideally needs to be planned for. It is not good practice to wait
until the end of a key stage and then find that a 'best fit' is not
possible because work across the ICT strands at at different levels
or missing altogether.
Good questions to ask include when planning for assessment will include:
What type of activity
will provide access to a particular level?
What evidence will I
expect to see when pupils are working at a particular ICT level?
Will the activity allow
pupils working at different levels to make progress?
Many schools develop "portfolios of evidence" in a range of
subjects. These form a record of teachers' understanding of standards
in the subject. They can be used to assist with attributing levels to
pupil's work. They can help with planning lessons that target a particular
uses of a school portfolio include having evidence of the range
of pupil ICT work undertaken in a school (eg for Ofsted, Annual Review);
for new members of staff and support staff to familiarise themselves
with the ICT work of the school.
Pupil portfolios could include a range of work undertaken. Pupils
might be encouraged to review their portfolio termly or at the end of
the year. By keeping evidence of different areas, including work from
the beginning of the year and the best subsequent work, they will be
able to demonstrate progress. This work could include work undertaken
at home. Many schools are beginning to keep this work electronically
on the school network. The discipline of sorting work is just as important
and can be a way of encouraging structured working using folders
A portfolio can
also be used as evidence to show future employers or colleges/higher