This guest post was written by Kate Ward @k8lw.
This blog post is a follow up to my previous blog post on using English teaching techniques in BTEC Sport lessons. The original blog post concentrated on increasing accessibility to Merit criteria for students with very low literacy levels. It concentrated on using the English teaching technique for analysis of text which is P.E.E. paragraphs.
A P.E.E. paragraph gets students to use a writing frame where students write one or two sentences as a point for the P, which I used as a description. Evidence as the E, which I used as an example. Explain for the other E, which I used also as explain. For more information on a P.E.E. paragraph please refer to my previous blog post or there or many videos which explain it further on YouTube.
With pressure on results and meeting targets, I developed this idea further, opening up the distinction criteria within the writing frame that was created. Within English lessons they add in an L or A depending on the requirements. The L enables students to LINK to the original idea or to ‘A’ ANALYSE the explanation thinking about strengths and weaknesses. For BTEC First Unit 6 – Leading Sports Activities, I originally applied this technique to, we linked back to how the skill, quality or responsibility was important when leading a sports session. The beauty of this technique is you can switch between analysis and link depending on the requirements of the task, without confusing the students as there is only one aspect that changes.
Adding in the analysis or link aspect proved somewhat successful, but in order to support students further I started using some V.C.O.P. (Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuality) sheets I downloaded from the TES that were placed on there by susanmclaren66 as extra support, but I soon felt like I was giving too much support to the students, therefore after using V.C.O.P. sheets for one unit we progressed to developing our own ones within small groups, which made students think more about how they would start their sentences and the key vocabulary they would need to use.
As this was proving to be successful with the Level 2 BTEC, I thought I would see if it could be a springboard to improving our Level 3 BTEC grades. We had disappointing results the previous year, albeit with a group that had low prior attainment, gaining an average point score of 199 compared to the national average of 230. We therefore knew we needed to change something to deal with the students coming to us to complete Level 3 BTEC with ever decreasing literacy levels. I used the same core principles as used with the Level 2 BTEC class, but by just expecting more of students for each aspect we were able to move our results to all students within the class gaining a Distinction*, thus giving us an average points score of 270 in the space of a year.
With the changes that were made to how you can give feedback for BTEC courses the groundwork that was already put in using this technique and the V.C.O.P. has meant that rather than some students first attempt at a task meeting some elements of the pass criteria and then having to provide further feedback to support them gaining all of the pass criteria then moving onto looking at the merit criteria and so on, which under the internal assessment guide is no longer allowed. Using this technique, students were producing work far ahead of where their prior attainment would have placed them. I was then able to utilise peer assessment using the writing frame and student produced V.C.O.P. sheets as extra guidance for the peer assessment in order for students to improve their work further.