School effectiveness

Key stage 3

Assessment

Assessment for learning, or formative assessment, is an on-going process. Teachers should:

  • make the learning objectives and success criteria clear to pupils

  • review whether the objectives have been achieved

  • give pupils guidance on how to improve in order to achieve the objectives

  • give pupils opportunities to develop skills of self and peer assessment

  • use assessment outcomes to inform lesson planning

Assessment of learning, or summative assessment, takes place at the end of a unit of work, a term, or school year.
The science gap analysis spreadsheet is produced yearly. The questions are summarised and typed onto the spreadsheet in order, ready for the school to go through the papers and note the gaps.

A learning wall is one way to communicate clear success criteria to pupils. It covers the learning objectives for a few weeks of work, with easier ones at the base of the wall and more difficult ones near the top. Pupils should be encouraged to use it for self-assessment by colouring in the 'bricks' they think they have achieved.

Download an example of a learning wall - energy sources (word) or a template (word) for making your own walls.

Effective lessons

Effective science lessons are likely to have an engaging starter activity, one or more main activities and a plenary to review what has been learned and how it has been learned.

Download an effective lessons checklist (word).

Download examples of starter activities:
Cells key words loop (word)
Cells sentences (word)
Particles sentences (word)
Plants sentences (word)

Scientific enquiry

It is vital that science departments and teachers plan for progression in scientific enquiry as well as Sc2, Sc3 and Sc4. Pupils need frequent opportunities to develop and practise the skills required before they are asked to use them to complete a full investigation. Learning objectives for Sc1 should be included in schemes of work and lesson plans alongside objectives for the other attainment targets.

Short focussed activities can be used as starters to develop these skills.

Download examples:
Describing graphs (word)
Scientific enquiry skills (word)

These cna be easily adapted by changing the graphs or the details of the experiment.

More detailed materials can be found in the AKSIS packs available from ASE booksales.

Thinking skills

All science teachers should plan for the development of thinking skills through their science teaching. To ensure that pupils develop and practise higher level thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation, teachers need to plan carefully the questions they will ask and the activities they will do.

Bloom's taxonomy is one way of classifying thinking skills into a hierarchy. Download a table showing the levels of Bloom's taxonomy and possible questions for each level on the topic of gravity: Bloom's taxonomy - gravity (word)

As a department, you can develop similar grids for other topics to ensure all teachers have access to a bank of questions at the higher levels to use with their classes.

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Last updated: 14 Mar 2017