Using GoPro in BTEC Sport lessons

This guest post was written by Simon Bradbury @PeBrado.

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I have recently been using a colleague’s GoPro in lessons and have found it to be a great tool, so much so that I will be purchasing one for the department.

I used the GoPro with my year 13 Level 3 BTEC Sport students. I am not keen on paper so wherever possible I will try to avoid getting the students doing paper tasks. My students are currently undertaking Unit 8/9: Practical Team/Individual Sports. For P2 students have to describe the rules and regulations of two different team/individual sports, and apply them to three different situations for each sport. For M2 they need to explain the application of the rules and regulations.

In the past I have got students to design a rule booklet for younger students either on powerpoint or publisher. However, this time I thought I would film the students officiating using an ipad but that they would also wear the GoPro using the chest mount. What this showed was when the students blew the whistle they then explained why they had given the decision therefore covering the rules and regulations. Just to be on the safe side I am also going to conduct a short interview with the students so they can explain any of the rules and regulations that may not have come up within their game situation.

The students find this more engaging as it involves more practical and from a teacher point of view it is a lot more interesting to mark than a pile of rulebooks. The footage captured can also be used for P3 which requires students to demonstrate appropriate skills, techniques and tactics.

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I will also be using it with any of my GCSE PE students who wish to do any form of officiating as one of their four sports. I have also seen it used by my colleague for mountain biking assessment as he attached it to his helmet and followed the student in front.

I would be interested to see how other PE teachers use GoPro cameras within their lessons.

Getting ready for BTEC First External Assessment

When considering how to deliver Unit 1 Fitness for Sport & Exercise for NQF BTEC Level 1/2 in Sport it is important that the centre ensures that before entry for the assessment,that all of the learners are exam ready.

The online external assessment has proven to be difficult and a number of centres have fallen foul to early entry of learners onto the assessment, which has resulted in large numbers of learners completing the assessment and not achieving any of the grades available.

All Externally assessed units in this qualification (Unit 1 & Unit 7) have the same grades as internally assessed units:

● Level 2 – Pass, Merit, Distinction
● Level 1
● Unclassified

The assessment will take 1 hour and consists of only 18 questions. Unless a learner has a specific learning need, the assessment is completed onscreen. There is no need for speakers, although the centre will need to ensure that the workstations that the assessment will be completed upon meet the required specification. For more information on this please follow this link

The questions look to be weighted and towards the latter part of the assessment they look to get more difficult. A number of the questions require expansion (more than one word answers) and one of the questions is weighted to award 8 marks. For this response, the learner is required to provide a detailed balanced response to the question. In order to understand what is required at each of the different levels (grades), the centre assessor should familiarise themselves with the grade descriptors. These can be found in the qualification specification under the title of ‘Grade descriptors for internal and external units’.

Prior to entering the learner for the assessment and preparing them for the questions that they are likely to face, the centre should ensure that they map out a clear and structured delivery plan. The delivery plan should cover all of the unit content. As there is no assessment criteria provided in the specification for this particular unit the centre tutors should look at the Sample Assessment Materials (SAMs) and past papers to look at how elements of each learning aim have been previously assessed and use these questions to assess learners understanding of each part of the content.

As the qualification is still in its infancy, there may be parts of the content that to date have not been assessed. In these instances, the centre tutors should consider developing questions in a similar format and use these questions to assess the learners.

Initially after each part of delivery, I would suggest that the assessor uses the questions not to inform the learners of how they are going to be assessed, but to simply assess understanding. The use of questions will start to prepare the learners for what they might see when they sit the external assessment. The use of the actual questions or questions that have been developed in a similar format will also start to develop the learner’s skills of reading the questions and understanding the requirements of the command verbs and the format of each question.

When planning the delivery I would strongly suggest that the centre tutors break the delivery down into three components. These components should be based upon each of the learning aims (A, B & C). I would suggest that small cluster assessments (more than one question) are given to the learner at the end of the delivery of each topic and then a final mock assessment is provided to the learners at the end of each learning aim. The mock assessment can be carried out in external assessment conditions, although the learners are highly unlikely to fully replicate the environment that the actual assessment will be carried in because the past papers and Sample Assessment Materials are not available in an online environment. The materials are only available as hard copies (PDF).

Past papers & mark schemes are available using the following link.

The sample assessment materials for unit 1 can be found using the following link.

Delivery of the content can continue to be flexible and the centre has the option of how to deliver each component of the unit. This can and should include both practical and classroom based sessions. The focus of delivery must be on retention of the theoretical input, as it is highly likely that the content covered from the specification may be covered in the external assessment that the learners will be completing.

Through the completion of these sub tasks, the learners should develop a further understanding for the demands of the external assessment. It is important at this stage that the assessor also takes some time to further develop the skills for the learners to understand how to answer the questions that require the extended responses.

It is difficult to predict the exact number of marks (the total number of marks for the entire paper is 50) required to achieve a distinction grade, merit grade, level 2 pass, and level 1 pass. However, on the mark schemes of the papers it shows the previous mark ranges. However, at present due to the infancy of the qualification it is still difficult to predict the exact grade ranges.

At the point when delivery for the entire unit is close to completion the assessor should liaise with the examination officer/quality nominee to ensure that all learners are registered to complete the online assessment. The external assessment for this unit is an on demand assessment. The centre is therefore responsible for registering the learners to complete the assessment at a date and time that is convenient for them.

When considering the date that your learners will complete the external assessment you should consider a time that is suitable for the learners but one that will also enable the learner’s time to complete a re-sit. The first test booking is included in the cost of registration, but re-sits will be charged (approximately £14) per unit, per learner. Learners are unable to re-sit a test until they have received a result from their previous attempt.

Students using hexagons to make connections

This guest post was written by Chris Bailey @MrCwBailey.

It has been well documented that hexagons are the perfect tool for supporting students to make connections between topic areas. I first stumbled across the technique in an inset delivered by @LorraineAbbott7 and got further insight into its effectiveness from blog posts by @Totallywired77 and @Lisajaneashes.

I started using them in my BTEC Sport class because, although the students could demonstrate a good level of understanding of topics in isolation, they struggled to link concepts together. This therefore meant that they were not scoring well on the “discuss” question in their external assessment. These questions are obviously looking for an evaluation and without being able to make connections between what they have learnt meant that the students were not able to achieve more than a level one answer (1-3 marks out of 8).

I started with using key words in individual topic areas of unit 1; components of fitness, exercise intensity, principles of training, methods of training and fitness tests. The students had to make connections between the key words and sporting examples (figure 1). After all topics were taught the students had the ability to make connection between the different topics areas. For example, they could link components of fitness to different methods of training and fitness tests, and then apply these to different exercise intensities and principles of training (figure 2). Their responses to questions had far greater depth and as a result they were far more prepared to answer an evaluation style question.

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The hexagon activity served as the planning process and the students used this to support them in answering a scaffolded question sheet. Each answer built up to the requirements of the next question, which ended with the 8 mark discuss question (figure 3). The answers produced went from strength to strength and the students were more confident at combining knowledge from other areas.

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I feel that this has been a success, however there is definitely more that can be done in my lessons. I am going to be stretching the more able by getting them to make links across different units. Using the above example, I am going to ask the students to make connections between their existing knowledge in unit 1, and apply it to unit 4 (training adaptations/energy systems) and unit 7 (anatomy and physiology).

Using SOLO to develop a scheme of work

This guest post was written by Chris Bailey @MrCwBailey.

I have this year taken on the responsibility of organising and teaching Level 2 BTEC Sport within my department. The summer was spent rewriting the schemes of work, ensuring that they had learning objectives, key words, homework tasks and assessment dates that were more suited to the Edexcel changes that have taken place. They were well received by the head of department and have been used as a template for other areas in the department. However, I felt they were still limited in terms of their easy application to differentiated planning. Then I read “Using SOLO as a Framework for Teaching” by Steve Martin, and it has completely changed the way I approach writing my schemes of work.

In his book Mr Martin explains how he has used SOLO Taxonomy in science, and the first chapter is using SOLO during the planning of units of work. The way he explains it is really simple but extremely effective. Instead of using all five stages of SOLO, he uses three; 1. Uni/Multistructural, 2. Relational and 3. Extended abstract. This simplifies the application to lessons and has allowed my students to grasp and apply the concept to our BTEC Sport course.

Three phases of scheme of work development are identified;

Phase one

Identifying, classifying key facts, ideas and concepts within the topic, and making connections to other relevant topic areas.

This is a routine that I am sure a lot of people use when designing a scheme of work after reading the specification, however for me, simply having all relevant information in front of me allowed me to see possible connections to other topic areas, which would have otherwise been overlooked or identified once teaching had already began. Below is an example of how I have applied this first phase to the planning of my Anatomy and Physiology unit (fig 1-3).

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Figure 1: List of key facts, ideas and concepts

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Figure 2: Classifying the content into the 3 stages

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Figure 3: Making links to other contexts for extension

Phase two

Grouping the content into what would be individual lessons or weeks and assigning learning verbs to each stage. Attaching the verbs at this phase has made it so much easier for me to ensure all content is appropriate at the three stages, and that I have differentiated learning intentions and success criteria (Phase three). Below is an example of grouped content that would be taught over a couple of lessons (fig 4).

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Figure 4: Content grouped with assigned verbs and differentiated learning intentions and success criteria

This whole process has enabled my schemes of work to be more differentiated and my lessons to have a greater focus on students being more independent in assessing their own progress. Below is an example of what my schemes of will look like from now on (fig 5).

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Figure 5: Snapshot of SoW for Unit 7 Anatomy and Physiology for Sports Performance

Since redesigning the scheme of work to include the learning logs, as seen above, my students have been accessing deeper learning experiences and been able to make more connections within and between topics. I have been using hexagons to allow students to describe and explain connections between key words in a visual way (this is since reading a blog by @lisajaneashes). These connections have served as a base for planning long answer questions in the external assessment. The students used their plan to complete a scaffold learning mat (idea I got from @MrGoldmanPE via @PE4Learning) that progressively increased their level of understanding on the chosen topic and eventually led to them piecing all of their information together to answer the long answer question more effectively. Their extended writing ability has improved and will continue to improve as we move through the scheme of work and more connections become available. Below is an example of the aforementioned process (fig 6).

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Figure 6: Use of hexagons to make connections and complete learning mat

If you are interested in using SOLO Taxonomy in your lessons, I highly recommend reading Steve Martin’s book. It is a fantastic introduction to the effective application of SOLO Taxonomy, starting with the design of units progressing through to planning and assessment.

Applying the new assessment rules to Unit 2 Practical Sports Performance

As you are all aware for all learners registered after 1st September 2014 new assessment rules have been implemented. In short, the new assessment rules prevent the number of resubmissions that a learner has for each assignment.
 
In order to prepare learners for assessments it is important that learners are fully prepared to complete the assignment and in doing so are capable of achieving and understanding the requirements of each of the assessment tasks and also the assessment criteria targeted within each of these tasks.
 
It is firstly important to interpret the new rules. Once an assessment has begun, learners are unable to receive any support and guidance of what they need to do to achieve the targeted assessment criteria. It is therefore important that learners do not receive the assignment until after all of the appropriate delivery has been provided. This is to enable the learner to fully understand the requirements of each criterion that will be targeted in the assignment brief and the required content coverage that will be required to meet each criterion in full.
Learners should be encouraged to make detailed notes during this phase of delivery, as these notes can be used when the assignment is handed out to learners for completion.
 
The planning of the delivery phase for each assessment is very important, as is the planning of how many assessments a centre should use to assess each learner. I would advise that the centre split the assignment for this unit into three assignments. Each assignment should target the assessment criteria and associated unit content for each learning aim. By using three assignments to assess the entire assessment criteria for the unit it will provide the learners with the appropriate amount of time to retain the content and guidance provided for each assessment.
 
It addition to the support pre-assessment, the assessor should also ensure that the assignment tasks are detailed and include the content that needs to be targeted within each assessment. Within the task the assessor should also look to provide the learner with support to guide the learners through the task of what the learner needs to do to fully meet the requirements of the command verb targeted through the task.
 
When preparing learners for the assessment of Learning Aim A & Learning Aim B it is important that the practical element of each Learning Aim is given appropriate preparation and support. The assessor should provide learners with appropriate guidance and support through rehearsals of practical scenario’s prior to submitting the assessment.
 
For Learning Aim A, learners should be shown where to find rules, regulations and scoring systems for each sport (this should not be in the form of directly showing them all website and links, but rather show learners what a National Governing Body is and demonstrate in a group session how to navigate around the National Governing Body website to find the appropriate information. It would also be worthwhile pre-assessment showing learners how to fully prepare for the assessment of 2A.P2. This should include a thorough description of how to meet the requirements of 2A.P2 & 2A.M1 in full. After demonstration by the assessor the learners should then be given the opportunity to complete a mock assessment to enable them to understand how to apply the appropriate requirements for this particular element of the assignment.
 
For Learning Aim B in a similar fashion, the assessor should provide learners with an opportunity to understand what will be assessed for 2B.P5 & 2B.M2. This should include clear guidance on the difference between skills & techniques and tactics for sports. It is important for the assessor to inform learners that tactics must be covered in the evidence submitted in order for them to achieve the level 2 pass, merit and distinction criteria targeted in Learning Aim B & Learning Aim C.
 
For Learning Aim C learners should be given the opportunity to see what analysis of sports performance is, and how analysis can be used to assess strengths and areas for improvement of a sports performer or a team. When showing the learners how to analyse performance learners should be introduced pre-assessment how to use both objective and subjective assessment effectively. This will then provide learners with the opportunity to make an appropriate decision of which method to use for the sport that they will choose to analyse as part of their final assessment.
 
It is important that the pre-assessment activities and mock assessment prepare the learners appropriately for the assessment that they will be completing for each learning aim.
When the assignment briefs are submitted to learners, the assessor should not provide the learners with any guidance towards what the learners are required to do to meet any of the assessment criteria. The assessor must also not provide the learners with any guidance on whether any of the targeted assessment criteria have been met in the evidence completed. Formative feedback has been removed from the assessment requirements for the learners registered after 1st September 2014.
 
The assessor should still annotate on learner work, but only show the learner were the assessment criteria met has been targeted in the margins of the learners work/evidence submitted (only when appropriate). The assessor must not annotate on the learner work informing the learner what they need to do to improve the evidence submitted at first submission.
 
It is only after final submission and after internal verification has taken place that the assessor can provide the learner with any feedback upon the attainment of particular assessment criteria that were targeted in the assignment. The assessor should also not provide the learner with any guidance on what they need to do improve the work submitted. However, the assessor in their feedback to the learner can inform the learner what they have not done to meet particular criteria.
 
If the learner has not met all of the targeted criteria for an assignment, and the work has been authenticated as their own by both the learner and the assessor for the unit, and the learner met the agreed assignment deadline for the assessment. The learner will be allowed to re-submit the evidence for a second time (re-submission). Learners can only have one resubmission per assignment.

Using a learning mat in BTEC Sport lessons

This guest post was written by Peter Watling @PE_PWATLING.

In the new BTEC Sport specification, it is imperative that students understand the theory behind their coursework, given that now it is essential that all students must sit an exam at the end of the course. With this in mind, like many PE practitioners I am in the process of trialling a variety of teaching and learning methods with my current Year 10 BTEC Sport group to develop and consolidate learning. This will hopefully lead to students sitting their exam and being able to recall the information they require to complete questions by thinking of content delivered in high quality PE lessons and activities which they have taken part in.

The following method was adapted from a variety of ideas online not only in PE but across whole school subjects where many practitioners had achieved great success with their classes. The idea at the forefront of my recent successful lessons was the inclusion of a learning mat which encouraged students to visually see the lesson tasks on one document as well as being aware of the lesson objectives and success criteria, this provided a great focal point to facilitate students learning. The learning mat utilised was aimed at assessing students prior knowledge on the long term adaptations exercise has on the cardiorespiratory system and to show student progression throughout the lesson. This learning mat can be seen below:

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The learning mat

 
The beginning of the learning mat set the tone for the lesson as the objectives were clearly labelled and students were aware of the focus of the lesson. The student’s success criteria were also visible which allowed students to visually see what they needed to do to reach each specific target within the lesson and an area where students could continually refer back to. The starter within the learning mat initially assessed student’s prior knowledge and allowed myself to check the key terminology which they were aware of after having spent the last academic year being taught by another PE practitioner. Following this, prior knowledge was assessed in a self-assessment box where students would rate initial knowledge on a scale of one to ten. Again, this was useful information for myself and provided a solid indication around each child’s knowledge within the group. Following on from the starter phase of the learning mat, the students were then able to work through the next three activities at their own pace as this made up the main phase of the lesson. The students seemed to enjoy their sense of ownership and thrived on the challenge of working individually and in paired tasks which provided a great variation to their learning. Along with these tasks there were additional resources prepared for each activity which can be seen below.

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Glossary from @Ange_miniPE GCSE resources.

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Long term adaptations where students could take notes from in order to help with Task One. Key information sheet created by @PE_PWATLING.

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Task three answer sheet created by @PE_PWATLING.

Throughout each stage of the lesson students were able to divulge key information through in-depth conversations and this in turn provided a positive learning environment. Throughout the lesson, task one was aimed at gaining initial knowledge where some students were clearly more advanced than others. The beauty of this lesson and the use of the learning mat was that not only could students engage in conversations with their peers relating to the work but the use of technology in the form of iPads were used to further enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of the topic.

The use of the learning mat enhanced student engagement as there was a clear focus and the students were extremely keen to progress on through the tasks. My experience with this was that it also created a sense of competition as all students thrived upon the challenge of progressing answering each specific task to the best of their ability. This further supported the use of a learning mat as a tool to enhance student engagement, inspiration and motivation. As well as creating a sense of competition between students to excel this also demonstrated a supportive environment where students could assist peers who were struggling. This worked particularly well as I arranged a seating plan which was based around a more able student working next to a lower ability peer. Students also found the learning mat a lot more interesting and fun given that it was created on comic life and was extremely colourful which looked more interesting than a standard sheet which I have used previously with this group and students were not as motivated when using the standard sheets as oppose to the learning mat.
 

Summary

 
The use of the learning mat was very much a trial as I am currently trying out different methods of learning with this current Year 10 BTEC group, however I was extremely pleased with how this worked. I have used task sheets again which were created using comic life and can be seen below however I found that given the mixed ability of students in my BTEC group this did not provide enough structure for some of them in comparison to that of the learning mat which provided the full structure to the lesson and allowed students to use as much help as they needed or to flow through the activities at their own pace. Given that this group of students is very diverse and students are at different levels, with different learning styles which is quite often the case in secondary BTEC Sport groups it is imperative to find a teaching and learning method which brings the best out of our students individually to ensure that they can all achieve and that all are challenged consistently. I am very interested in keeping an open mind and am certainly looking forward to trying out different teaching and learning methods with this group however I feel that the learning mat has been a huge success for me with this group. It is definitely a teaching and learning method which I would advise all practitioners to try out with their BTEC and GCSE groups and one I will certainly use again through my ongoing process of aspiring to get the most of the students I teach.

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Practical Solutions to Applying Internal Assessment Rules for BTEC Sport

As we quickly approach half term, many of you will be well underway with your BTEC assessments, with others planning to start in the near future.
I am sure by now you have all had a chance, with your teams, to take a look and discuss the new assessment rules for both the QCF and NQF frameworks. You can obtain guidance documents on the BTEC website which clearly explain the internal assessment rules for the BTEC first and nationals.
With the rules in place centres need to look at ways in which the learners can continue to reach their maximum potential and gain the highest grades possible while at the same time demonstrating a higher degree of independent learning.
This blog is going to look at some practical solutions for centres to think about, which will help maintain quality standards and in many cases improve the learners’ ability to work and think independently.

Teaching and Learning

Key to any success within BTEC is the quality of teaching and learning, with many centres delivering high standards, but with the changes made by BTEC a change in teaching strategy within some centres may prove to be beneficial. Previous guidelines used to encourage centres to lean towards greater ‘coaching’ methods, pointing out in clear detail how the learner can achieve grades, with clear detailed action points which identified content to be included within a specific structure. Regular reviews of work and draft copies may have been submitted, with actions identified by the tutor for the learner to complete before final submission.
Centres should now focus on teaching content which provides the learners with a full understanding of the assessment strategy and expectations. Specific tasks could be set which covers course content and would reflect the potential final assessment which will be handed to the learner to complete within a specific time frame. The learner should be taught relevant academic skills to stretch and challenge their levels of learning and help them understand the meaning of the key grading criteria descriptors, for example describe, explain, analyse.
Different assessment methods could be used within the tasks, (i.e.) presentations, observations, essay, report, case studies, written test, posters, leaflets. These are the forms of assessment you would use in your final assessment but you should use a different method in the class tasks compared to the final assessment as this could be deemed as coaching. This however would not apply in certain circumstances the most notable being a mock coaching session for example.

Examples of tasks could include:

  • A mock practical session in coaching
  • A mock presentation on hydration effects in sports performance
  • A case study report on the influence of the media in sport for current issues
  • A written test on the structure of the skeletal system

Clearly the list goes on and I am sure you all have a variety of teaching methods and final assessments in place. A piece of advice would be that the learners keep a portfolio of all the tasks they have completed so they can use this for reflection or revision before embarking on the final assessment. This portfolio would be comprehensive, having looked at all relevant content and criteria as well as the many different forms of assessment. The skills and knowledge gained are easily transferable into the final assessment with the information readily on hand for the learner to use as a guide.
The tutor feedback within this teaching and learning phase should be comprehensive with the learner being in no doubt the grade they are working towards which would reflect a mock grade of pass, merit or distinction. You could also in this instance identify clear and specific actions the learner would need to take if they were to achieve higher grades. This is similar to how feedback and actions were presented under the old system which is perfectly acceptable within the teaching and learning phase. At this point you would reiterate that when under final assessment under no circumstances would feedback of this nature take place. These processes should have already been made clear to the learners.

Feedback during the Assessment

As we know, the learner must work independently during the final assessment so the feedback you provide will be in a different context. You are now in a supporting role so you should not provide any theoretical content to the learner. Much of your support will be reaffirming the requirements of the assignment brief and timescales, as well as study skill approaches.
If your teaching and learning phase has been strong with the learner having a portfolio of work this can become part of the reaffirming process. You will not talk to them about specific pieces of work they have completed, but you may well encourage the learner to think more independently and reflect on the work they have done so far in class.
Simply saying “Think of the tasks we have completed about this topic within your portfolio. You clearly demonstrated in those tasks your knowledge and understanding.”
This should encourage the learner to reflect on their portfolio which will help them complete the final assessment. You are not mentioning specific content or grading criteria you are pointing them in the right direction, reminding them they have the skills.

Feedback following Assessment

This feedback is now straight forward explaining your decisions and how you have achieved the grades against the criteria. You should not provide a clear list of actions against the criteria you have not achieved to subsequently achieve it under the resubmission rules.

Resubmission of Evidence

Remember, only the Lead Internal Verifier can authorise one resubmission chance for each assignment and only if the learner has met all the initial deadlines. It is stated that a resubmission should only be granted if the learner would provide improved evidence without further guidance. This could be justified through the teaching and learning phase with the portfolios. If a learner has only achieved a pass in their assessment but their class work has achieved a higher standard, then the evidence is there if you as a tutor decide to made the judgement that they are capable of a resubmission. The portfolio not only becomes a tool for the learner but also for the tutor when making these decisions.

Retakes

Retakes are only allowed on the QCF as the learner has to pass all the pass criteria to complete the unit and qualification, so there are NO RETAKES FOR NQF programmes.
Once again the Lead Internal Verifier is the only one who can authorise a retake but the learner must still have met all the deadlines or agreed extensions. This is a straight forward process with a new piece of work set for the pass criteria only. If this work does not pass then there are no further retakes resulting in a fail.

This new system is far more robust and fair which should result in the learner being able to, and having to, think for themselves. It fits well with the vocational model and will reduce ‘coaching’ in the classroom which can result on a learning becoming too dependent and then taking these bad habits into the workplace or higher education.
The new assessment rules will work, but what takes place in the classroom is paramount to the success. The learners have to gain the knowledge base in the teaching phase or the learner will fail to implement the final assessment to the best of their abilities.
This is just an idea I have talked about today which can be adapted and used according to the level and number of students you have, it wouldn’t suit everybody and I am sure there is a lot of excellent teaching practice taking place out there which will see many of our students walk away with high grades.

Level 3 BTEC Sport Update 2014

In this final blog of this academic year we thought we would update you on the developments around the Level 3 qualification. For the foreseeable future the current suite of QCF qualifications will continue to be available for all centres. Although at present, Pearson are in the development of a new suite of qualifications that will replace the existing qualifications. At present there is no set date for first delivery.

It is important that moving forward, the consideration of assessment changes that are set to be implemented in September 2014 are considered by all staff. The rules will impact all new registrations from September 2014. However, the rules will not apply to the learners who are currently registered on the course.

What are the new rules? (in short)

The new rules will reduce the number of submissions that a learner will be allowed to have for each assignment; the rules will also reduce the amount of support that an assessor can give a learner when the assignment has been handed out to the learners.

The rules will also require learners to ensure that they meet set deadlines and complete all parts of an assessment. Failure to do either of these will result in the learner not been able to resubmit evidence from the assignment. A resubmission should also only be permitted if the assessor believes that the learner has the ability to meet the demands of the pass criteria.

Another key rule is that learner are required to declare on submission that the work that they submit for assessment is their own, as well as learners completing a declaration that the work submitted is their own, the assessor has to sign a declaration on the summative assessment form (Pearson documentation) that states that as far as the assessor is aware, the work submitted is the learners own work.

If the learners are given the opportunity to re-submit they will be given only one opportunity to resubmit the evidence, this must be done within 10 days of the feedback been given from the learner receiving their summative feedback from the assessor. Learners will only be given one opportunity to resubmit their work. From a centres perspective, if learners are to be given the opportunity to resubmit it is really important that a formal process is but in place to monitor and record this.

For learners who do not complete the assessment on time or in full, the learner will be required to complete another assignment. The assignment that the learner completes must be different to the first assignment that they completed. In this assignment the learners will only be able to achieve the pass criteria. Again the assessor must be confident that the learners are capable of achieving the pass criteria to allow the learners to complete this alternative assessment.

The new rules will have a significant impact on the attainment of QCF qualifications, as in order to pass the overall qualifications learners must pass all units. It is therefore important that learners pass all units of the qualification.

The rules around feedback have also changed. Assessors now cannot provide learners with any support during the assessment process.

When the learners have submitted the final evidence, the feedback upon the learner work should only be limited and simply demonstrate in the margins of the learner work where criteria have been met in part or in full. The assessor should not provide any other commentary or support on the learner evidence apart from this.

Summative feedback sheets should now only comment upon the criteria that have been met in a particular assessment by the learner. For the criteria that the learner has not met the assessor should not give written advice and guidance upon what the learner needs to do.

Pearson have developed a number of new pro-forma’s that I would strongly advise centres use to ensure that the administrative element of the course is carried out effectively and in line with the required format.

In preparation for the new rules I would suggest that the centre considers the following areas to support the assessment process and the learners;

– Consider the submission dates of assignments – possibly delay these?

– Ensure learners are ready to complete the assignment tasks

– Ensure all appropriate unit content has been delivered to learners prior to the submission of assignments

– Leaners should fully prepare for the assignments and keep an orderly file and prior to starting assignments they should compile an assignment plan that details what they are required to do in part of the assessment.

Assignment Briefs

Finally it is important for the new rules changes and standards verification purposes that assignment briefs are fit for purpose to support the learners. However, when developing assignments it is also important that centres remember that BTEC qualifications are vocational qualifications and because of this all assignments and tasks within assignments must be contextualised to the programme area.

Administrative information, all assignment briefs must include the following;

Qualification title

Unit number and title

Assessor’s name

Internal verification name and date of internal verification

Hand in and hand out date

All assignments must have an appropriate vocational context that includes an appropriate role for the learners. The context of the scenario should flow through the assignment tasks. Assignment tasks should not just be the assessment criteria. Unit content should also be built into the tasks to ensure that learners can met the requirements of the assessment tasks in full.

Marking by Co-ordinates

This guest post was written by Callum Jackson @CJackson_PE.

The following method of marking was adapted from the concept ‘marking by numbers’. This method has proved very effective for BTEC marking. It is a very quick and easy way to give detailed feedback to students that they are able to act on.

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Grid Explained

 

Green – This is a positive comment that you do not need to act on.

Yellow – These are areas of your work that require improvement.

Pink – These are areas of your work that you may not of started.

 

Student Response: Once you have responded to your feedback you must get your teacher to sign them.

 

Raising the profile & effectiveness of marking contributes to a continuous drive to improve assessment for learning across the school.

 

The thought underpinning the idea:

I aimed to highlight those elements of marking that have greatest impact on learning, namely:
• Sharing the key marking points with students before they begin the assignment (Success Criteria). A student is much more likely to be successful if s/he knows what they are trying to achieve. You may choose to use a “spoof assessment” to help learners understand what the key marking points are. You can give learners two model answers of different quality and get them to use the ‘marking by co-ordinates grid’ to assess grade / level the work and give reasons why.
• This method gives every student a personalised action plan. Not only do they get specific and detailed feedback, but crucially it makes sure they respond to your marking by correcting their work or re-doing it, using your comments to guide them to a higher standard.
• Is there a gap between the learning you wanted and what actually happened when you looked at the work submitted by the learners? You can use this method to identify common errors. It happens to all of us but the important thing is to spot the “gap” in learning and then go back and address it again. Plan the re-teach: What, When, How & Why?
Peer/Self Assessment Opportunities: Learners need to develop these skills and it’s worth investing time in doing so. Try to get to the point where the ‘marking grid’ has gone “self, peer, self” in terms of assessment & improvements before you look at it.

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You can also download a flyer that Callum has put together explaining the process from here.

Integrating Assignments –Level 3 BTEC Sport (QCF)

Firstly before we consider the integration of the assignment brief it is important to consider the method which should be followed in order to design an effective assignment brief.

Assignment design

Assignments must be designed to motivate learners, to allow learners to achieve specified unit grading criteria in vocational contexts, and must call on learners to produce varied forms of evidence.

When designing assignments it is possible to:

• have one assignment brief to assess all the grading criteria of a unit

• have two or more smaller assignment briefs for a unit

The scenario

The assignment should be based within an interesting vocational scenario so that learning can be applied to the real world of work.

The tasks

Each assignment is divided into tasks: detailed descriptions of the activities learners will undertake in order to produce evidence to meet the unit’s grading criteria and complete the assignment. Each task must:

• Specify the extent and nature of evidence that learners should present
• Be clear, specific, time-bound, stepped, relevant and realistic
• Address the grading criteria it targets, paying careful attention to the operative verb of each criterion (‘describe’, ‘explain’, ‘evaluate’, etc.)
• Reference the grading criteria it addresses
• Be presented in learner-friendly, engaging and inspirational language, not simply repeating the grading criteria
• Address the grading criteria in full, and not split a criterion across more than one assignment.

Evidence

Clearly state what learners are expected to provide as evidence for each task. Forms of evidence can include:

• Recorded discussions
• Log books/diaries
• Artefacts
• Presentations
• Performance
• Brochures/leaflets/posters
• Case studies
• Web-based material (websites, blogs, VLE, podcasts, etc)
• Role plays
• Reports/written investigations
• Annotated photographs
• Promotional material
• Work-based evidence.

Assessment and grading criteria

• The assignment must state exactly which assessment and grading criteria are being addressed. This should be done at the end of each tasks and should be done through the use of brackets at the end of each task. For example, for an assignment task which targets P1, M1 and D1, at the end of the tasks the assessor should highlight this in the following format :
(P1, M1, D1)
• Centres must not rewrite any aspect of the unit’s assessment and grading criteria nor add their own centre-devised criteria.
• Centres may provide additional guidance, explaining criteria requirements in learner-friendly language, but the exact wording of the published criteria must appear on the assignment.
• An assignment can have one unit as the main focus, but learners may also be producing evidence towards other units at the same time.

Appropriate Context

Assignment briefs should always be developed and adapted to meet the needs of learners at your centre and to take account of your centre’s resources. They must also be checked by someone in your centre (internally verified) to ensure they are fit for purpose before they are given to learners

The assignment brief will often need to be supplemented with further information, for example:

• A demonstration
• Handouts
• Videos or DVDs
• References to books
• References to websites
• Visits to source primary research materials within the locality of your centre
• Visits to sport and exercise science laboratories, leisure centres, museums, exhibitions or other places where research can be undertaken
• Visits from guest speakers/local practitioners.

The context should always provide the learners with a specific role which is linked to throughout the tasks of the assessment. Assessment tasks should not simply be the assessment criteria and the unit content copied from the unit specification. Tasks should be linked to the context which is initially set in the scenario.

Relevant to your learners

The most successful assignments will engage and excite learners to take responsibility for the progress of their own learning. The assignments should be linked to contexts which learners can relate to. When using a vocational context learners are much more likely to relate to the context if they can personally relate to the context.

Integration of Assignment Briefs

When designing assessments it is also an option to assess criteria from one unit to be integrated with assessment of criteria from another unit.
When considering merging the assessment criteria from two or more units it is important that the assessor firstly considers the links to the other units appropriate for the qualification pathway. To do this the assessors should firstly look in the ‘Essential Guidance to Tutors’ section which can be found in each of the unit specifications. In addition to the detailed guidance and support around assessment and delivery there is a section which links units from across the whole suite of BTEC Sport units, this section is entitled ‘Links to National Occupational Standards, other BTEC units, other BTEC Qualifications and other relevant units and qualifications’. Using this section from the unit specification for one unit should then enable the assessor to further investigate the links to other units.
When looking at integrating units it is very important that the assessor has a thorough understanding of the assessment criteria and content requirements across the units which are to merged together.
The assessor should ensure that when writing a scenario that the context is linked to each of the units which are to be addressed in the assignment brief.
It is in the tasks themselves that it is important that the assessor has covered the requirements of the targeted assessment criteria and unit content for each of the units. In some instances the assessment criteria may be very similar across units. However, there may be content requirement’s which differ across units. In these instances the assessor may simply provide further support in the main body of the task (which should be linked to the vocational context), there is no need for the assessor to differentiate the differences of content in the task.
At the end of the task when the criteria are merged the centre should identify which criteria at the end of the task have been targeted. This should be shown highlighting the unit number and the criteria targeted. For example; for a task which targets Unit 5 P4, M4 & D2 and Unit 3 P4, M3 and D1 the assessor should display at the end of the task like below;
(UNIT 5 – P4, M4, D2)
(UNIT 3 – P4, M3 D1)

However, in some of the tasks which are devised as part of the assessment the criteria requirements may be very different. In this instance the tracking should be split within the task and not simply listed at the end of the assessment. For example if part of the assessment ask the learners to Plan a sports coaching session (Unit 5, P4) and the other element of the task ask the learners to complete a risk assessment for the session (Unit 3 P4). The tracking of the criteria in the criteria should be as follows;

Task 2:

Plan a sports coaching session

(Unit 5, P4)

Carry out a risk assessment for the sports coaching session

(Unit 3 P3)

(NOTE – the tasks would require much more guidance and support from the assessor to ensure the learner met the criteria in full. The tasks would also need to be contextualised against the vocational scenario.)

In some instances the criterion which is merged in an assignment may only meet partial criteria. This is not best practice but if this is done then the assessor should ensure that this is also stated in the tracking of the criteria in the task.

For example:

Task 2:

Plan a sports coaching session

(Unit 5, P4)

Carry out a risk assessment for the sports coaching session

(Unit 3 P3 – partial)

The most important role of the programme coordinator is to manage the integration of assessment criteria across units and track the whereabouts of the criteria to ensure that over the duration of the course all of the criteria from all of the units required to be completed are covered in full. Failure to meet one assessment criteria from one unit would result in the learner not achieving a pass in that unit and as a learner is required to pass every unit in order to pass the programme which the learner is registered upon. Failure to track one criterion could result in the learner not achieving the overall qualification.

It is strongly advised that assessors do integrate the assessment of various units and there is a lot of opportunity for an assessor to do this using the suite of BTEC units in the BTEC Sport qualification. However, the assessor must ensure that when they do integrate criteria into assignments that careful planning and preparation goes into this.