Simple Assessment for Yrs 7 & 8

With New Zealand in the process of reviewing the whole system of education here, looking at governance, curriculum (syllabii), community involvement and assessment (and the controller of assessments, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority – NZQA), it seems a good time to spread the word on what changes to schooling in NZ have happened in my lifetime (as pupil, teacher, tertiary student then lecturer.

When assessing children’s work, by the end of my career I was using a four-point scale to mark primary children’s work, and it irritated the hell out of all the bachelors and diploma holding secondary teachers.
Turns out I was right using my simple system – which even the children (ages 8 to 12) understood.

0 (zero) for no Attempt at all,
1 for an Attempt without Effect,
2 for an Attempt, that Achieved the Effect, and
3 for Accomplishing an Excellent Effect.

It was the word “Effect” that bugged the blazes out of the secondary teachers, all of whom held university qualifications in their particular field. (And some of whom would scornfully remark “You’re only a primary teacher”, as if that was a short-coming.)
assessing against others“What do you mean by Effect?” they’d demand.
(Simple answer – the result of reaching the learning goal or mastery set for that task: “Has he/she achieved it effectively?” *)

My pupils seemed to like the four-point system, as it came with no ticks or crosses nor did it compare them with others, but came with suggestions of how they could improve the rating of the work next time. And the emphasis was always on the work, not the child; on the process and end product, not the producer.
The children were happy to read the suggestions, and would come for consultation on them. They were eager to learn what they needed to do or know for their next task.
They passed on suggestions to each other, and the atmosphere was a cooperative one, not competitive.

If that’s not a success in teaching, what is?


* TO AFFECT or TO EFFECT?
This can be puzzler in speaking or writing. Many English lecturers, masters or even doctors will attempt to explain the correct usage. Online expertise is easy to find – just start at any search engine.
Many mnemonics attempt to assist – I like this…
Affect is an Action, Effect is the Ending.
or… Affect is an Attempt, Effect is the Eventuality.

Opinions welcome.

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