Have been working on the first unit of Year 7 quite a bit lately. Part of our school set up requires a baseline level after the first week. This means that in geography we have to get a level for each pupil by the end of the first lesson. So the challenge was to create an engaging lesson that also provides an opportunity for a baseline assessment. One of the problems in the department is setting expectations too low using a simple ‘marks-out-of-ten’ test. This model just tests pupils’ knowledge rather than their geographical ability. From working with KS2 through induction lessons and primary projects, it had become clear to me that most primary pupils (at least in our catchment) are very capable geographers. Indeed, many primary schools seem to end Year 6 with a big geography project after the SAT examinations.
The existing baselines available don’t seem to be tied too tightly into the levels of attainment (yes I know that they are for assessing the end of the key stage – but I have to ignore that argument in order to tick SLT boxes. Plus I believe that pupils want (and need) to know how well they are doing) of KS 2 or 3. So, the department and I have put together a baseline assessment based upon these level descriptors that should enable pupils to access Levels 3,4 and 5. We also wanted to use shared criteria and other AfL techniques also observed being used in primary lessons. Trials in September will let us know how successful it will be!