It’s not all about the grades

This post was written by Chris Bailey @MrCwBailey.

In a previous post I have discussed how I have been adopting an assessment policy that supports the students in accessing the higher criteria through having a deeper and longer lasting understanding of the key content within the Units that I teach. This is still a work in progress and although I have had my best results from the current Year 11 cohort, there are still times where the students are relying on me to help them with their organisation and motivation towards either revision for Unit 1 or completion of the assignments. Therefore, I am now looking to develop another initiative to run alongside the subject specific assessment and this will focus on the student’s strengths and areas for development as a learner and provide them with opportunities to develop areas that will benefit them not only in my BTEC Sport classroom, but in all of their other subjects too.

I have been reading a book called “Teaching Backwards” by Andy Griffith and Mark Burns, within which the authors state that before teaching begins there needs to be a clear idea of each students starting point, the end goal needs to be demystified and the students need to know the skills that are required to be successful. Although this sounds really simple, it is an area that is not often addressed when the time is short and pressure is high, especially when assignments just need to be completed. The book discusses a concept called KASH assessment. This is an assessment that looks at the Knowledge, Attitude, Skills and Habits of learners. Knowledge would be the subject specific aspect of the assessment that is concerned with what the student already knows and this has been left out as this is covered in my baseline assessments that are used prior to starting a new unit or assignment. Attitude looks at how the student views the subject and/or school; skills is concerned with the competence of working independently and as part of a team, as well as the ability to solve problems and Habits looks at the organisation, punctuality and ready to learn aspects the student has, or does not have.

BTEC Sport Athlete Assessment

The idea is to have a greater focus on the student’s ability to be an effective learner, not just the summative attainment. If I am able to get the students to be more resilient and independent in my BTEC Sport lessons then the summative assessments will continue to improve and the students will be more likely to continue their success in Level 3, A Level or Degree level Physical Education/Sport Science.

At the end of each half term I am going to complete the BTEC Sport Athlete Assessment. This has a scoring system that I have created to allow the results to be tracked and any increases or decreases can be investigated. The score a learner gets will then be linked with a specific classroom role that has been created to help develop the aspects that the learner is lacking. These roles will be completed over the next half term and then the process repeats, with the students being re-assessed.

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Figure 1: BTEC Sport Athlete Assessment

The assessment covers punctuality and organisation, ability to work as part of team and individually, growth mind-set and confidence in own ability. Each question is scored on a scale of 1-5 (5 being outstanding). All of the results are then analysed as the “Athlete’s top qualities” and “Athlete’s areas for development”. I complete the assessment and then meet with the student one to one to discuss the results, this has been really good because the students get the chance to discuss their learning in more detail and can clearly see where they need to improve to be a more successful learner. The students then give their view and we both sign the form which then acts as contract. Depending on the score the students get given a role that they will complete in the lessons for the next half term, these are highlighted on the bottom of the assessment.

Classroom roles

There are six roles highlighted on the assessment; Kit man, Commentator, Referee, Vice captain, Captain and Coach. Each role has specific duties.

Kit man – for students who struggle with organisation and punctuality. This role is looking to develop the ability to be ready to learn and avoid simple things like not having their PE kit slow them down. The kit man will be required to get to lesson on time to help the teacher organise the resources needed for the lesson, and look after the resources throughout and after the lesson. Students that score between 1-9 on the assessment are assigned this role.

Commentator – look to develop understanding through verbalising their thought process. This would be given to a student that rushes into their work, can’t successfully explain the required concepts or often misinterprets what is required. The commentator will be required to verbalise what has been asked, i.e. repeat teacher instructions, and explain what was learnt last lesson and what has been successful or not successful in the current lesson. Students that score between 10-14 on the assessment are assigned this role.

Referee – look to develop positive learning behaviours and stop the little distractions and disruptions having a negative impact on the lesson. This is aimed at students that are easily distracted and become off task; the idea being to make them aware of how being a distraction can hinder the progress of the lesson. The referee will have a set of cards and can issue a yellow card to warn a student that is not following the classroom rules. If a second yellow is issued then the student has to go the teacher. Students that score between 15-16 on the assessment are assigned this role.

Vice captain – for students that are performing well in lessons independently but are not yet confident enough to support or work with others. The vice captain is obviously there to support the captain so the student will not be thrown into the deep end but instead will be slowly encouraged to work and support others. The vice captain is tasked with the liaising with the captain to support other students who are struggling with the work or who are not working well together. Students that score between 17-19 on the assessment are assigned this role.

Captain – this is a chance for the role model of the group to be just that, a role model. The student that is showing all of the right attributes of a successful leader is tasked with the role of implementing the instructions of the coach and teacher and working with the referee to ensure their peers are working effectively. Students that score between 20-24 on the assessment are assigned this role.

Coach – this role is for the students that are excelling in a particular topic and/or is showing that they have the ability to a successful independent and group learner. They work closely with the teacher to stretch their own understanding to a more abstract level and then support peers by providing constructive feedback. Students that score 25+ on the assessment are assigned this role.

This is the first attempt at creating roles to support the development of an all round student, however as the initiative is in early stages I would be grateful for any feedback on what you think could be improved in this system.