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Assessment Week


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Hi everyone!

 

In the dark, dark, past when we had 'rigid' half-termly topics :ph34r: I used to allocate the last week of each half-term as 'assessment week'. The time was spent 'catching up' on any assessments or observations that were needed with key children; the children spent much of the time in 'free, child initiated play'. The assessment week happened in the last week leading up to a half-term, so in the 'Christmas', 'Easter' and 'Summer' terms it was set mid-term because of the busy period leading up to Christmas etc. It worked well. This 'fizzled out' when the curriculum became more child-friendly and less topic led. However, I have decided to reinstate the general idea and to dedicate a week, mid-term, to 'Learning Journey Week' to give the staff time to update learning journeys with their key children.

Does anyone else do this? What do you think? :huh:

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We used to do this in the olden days, and yes it did work very well. Practitioners certainly felt liberated (well the ones who didn't rely on a rigid structure, anyway) and it was really interesting to see children playing on their own terms without feeling they needed to engage in all those adult-led activities to keep us happy! This was a strategy recommended to us by our advisory teacher who always did 'observation week' in her nursery school.

 

As you say, the need to do this receded somewhat when we moved to a more child-led planning system, although in a way it did kind of happen naturally towards the end of a term anyway, when the key person was thinking about their key children and the progress they had made in order to write reports or just to update their learning journeys.

 

How will you 'sell' it to your staff team? I'll be interested to hear how you get on!

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During the 2 weeks leading upto an inset day (where we discuss, review and set next steps), I cut back the amount of adult led activities and just include minimum letter and sounds and evaluated activities based on an area of learning so that my staff can do exactly what you are describing. It gives everyone an opportunity to step off the papertrail rollercoaster and look at their children without feeling that they have to be noting everything

Edited by max321
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We used to do this in the olden days, and yes it did work very well. Practitioners certainly felt liberated (well the ones who didn't rely on a rigid structure, anyway) and it was really interesting to see children playing on their own terms without feeling they needed to engage in all those adult-led activities to keep us happy! This was a strategy recommended to us by our advisory teacher who always did 'observation week' in her nursery school.

 

As you say, the need to do this receded somewhat when we moved to a more child-led planning system, although in a way it did kind of happen naturally towards the end of a term anyway, when the key person was thinking about their key children and the progress they had made in order to write reports or just to update their learning journeys.

 

How will you 'sell' it to your staff team? I'll be interested to hear how you get on!

 

The team are eager to return to our 'assessment week' - just not quite sure how to 'sell' it to the parents (and possibly headteacher)!

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My only worry with "assessment week" is when it becomes the only main time that assessment is really done thoroughly - every day should be assessment day I feel and I've been in settings where they can't tell me about certain children's progress or some areas of the curriculum because it's not been assessment week yet!! If the balance of child initiated to adult supported activity is correct what observations do you get by doing it in a set week that that are better than those you would normally get?

 

Cx

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I was wondering that too - and thinking I must have got the wrong end of the stick. Do you mean that, or do you mean that it's extra non-contact time to physically update folders and paperwork and collate everything together. Looking at the development statements and 'ticking off' the ones that are achieved that you have no written evidence for?

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I was wondering that too - and thinking I must have got the wrong end of the stick. Do you mean that, or do you mean that it's extra non-contact time to physically update folders and paperwork and collate everything together. Looking at the development statements and 'ticking off' the ones that are achieved that you have no written evidence for?

 

I mean that it is extra non-contact time to update learning journeys and carry out focussed assessments that, for one reason or another, didn't get done - perhaps the child was absent or we had other unexpected activities going on.

 

We have three staff and each week one person has a morning to carry out long obs/tracking obs or whatever she deems necessary; but that is not the only time that staff observe/assess - that goes on 'all of the time'! The children don't all come every day, so when e.g. it is my 'observation' morning only half of my key children might be in and then perhaps the following week a particular child might be absent. If only children came five mornings or five afternoons it would make observation and assessment SO much easier!!

 

I know that all my staff are able to talk in depth about their key children - so I have no worries about that!

 

I am really surprised Catma, that some staff in settings cannot tell you about certain key children's progress - I would have thought that all keypersons get a good knowledge of the children in their care in view of the OAP planning/PLODs etc. That said, it can be difficult when children attend only once per week or whose attendance is poor.

X

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I am really surprised Catma, that some staff in settings cannot tell you about certain key children's progress - I would have thought that all keypersons get a good knowledge of the children in their care in view of the OAP planning/PLODs etc. That said, it can be difficult when children attend only once per week or whose attendance is poor.

 

True! I was thinking more of some schools where the focus of assessment week is to assess ie test right across the school and the EYFS staff feel they have to follow suit. Because the trackers are not updated until these points in time they struggle to define the sumative judgements sometimes. The week also becomes a time when they try to "assess" simply to tick off EYFSP scale points, which wouldn't be best practice.

 

Cx

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I mean that it is extra non-contact time to update learning journeys and carry out focussed assessments that, for one reason or another, didn't get done - perhaps the child was absent or we had other unexpected activities going on.

 

So do you have a 'quota' of observations that you have to do each term? We dropped doing that a while ago as I found that staff were 'observing for observing's sake' and there was no real reason behind them - just to get a specific number of obs. Now we do observations to a specific criteria of a need to record something ;

It is a behaviour incident

I want to remember it for future study

It is an exciting development for this child

It gives me ideas for an activity for this child

In practice this may mean that we get a couple of observations in a week for a specific child and then nothing for a while, or sometimes a child is developing so rapidly that

there's quite a spate of observations as there's lots of exciting stuff!

Edited by Cait
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No, we do not have a quota of observations Cait; we try to do one 'long obs' per half-term if we can - apart from that we record 'useful' observations as and when they arise. We record very briefly on the PLODs sheet (this is an A3 map of each the inside and outside area) - just child's initials and what he/she/they were doing in the area they were doing it; the key person then puts this info onto the planning sheet for the following week - some PLODs however, are implemented immediately of course, but still recorded. Like you, I find that some children have very few observations for a time and then wow! they just explode! :P

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