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Number of observations


melc
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Good evening,

 

We have been using Tapestry for about a year now. This year there is only myself who has actively used Tapestry during that time.

I have given my new team the first half term to acquaint themselves with it.

However, I am now in a situation where there is insufficient evidence I.e. Number of observations. I am looking for some ideas of what we should be expecting.

Has anyone got an agreement about the number of observations that should be recorded per week? Do you have a minimum amount for Lit/ Maths?

many thanks

mel

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My general advice is, it is the quality not the quantity that is most important. If you require a number a week you would probably have hundreds of observations all telling you the things you already know and don't need to observe to demonstrate you know them!

in my opinion, observations should focus on the things you are seeing that are emerging and are new skills for the child. You don't need observations for every statement in any non-statutory guidance to prove your judgement is right - that comes from discussions and moderation of judgements within the setting. The quality of judgements is not judged by the quantity of them.

Could you try to focus your team on what it is they are trying to do with observations. They may need some CPD to understand fully what the point is, otherwise you will just end up with a work overload of unusable observations just to meet an arbitrary quota!! An other down side is that then all adults do is roam around trying to "observe" when in fact some good old fashioned engagement with children will give them probably fewer but better observations in the long run!!

Maybe you could:

  • Analyse areas of learning/skills your team are less confident in observing and focus on those skills collectively across the setting to build awareness. We generally assess what we think is important - you'd be surprised how few observations get made on some aspects of the statutory curriculum because the practitioner doesn't consciously think of it. Confidence in really knowing the whole curriculum and what we must provide/teach is important here.
  • Go through observations made and see if the full assessment potential is being captured - are comments only focused on one area of learning or are you really looking - e.g. the child drew a picture. What language did they use - even what tense did they use, how did they manipulate the tools they used, what type of grip? what comments did they make about the picture that might link to PSED/UTW or EAD? DId they show an awareness of print/retelling a story? Were ther mathematical marks within their drawing? A good observation would give you loads of evidence across most areas of learning if you capture the right moment. Maximise the time you use to make an observation by making them good ones. Choosing not to record an observation is as important a skill as choosing to capture something.
  • Look at each child's records to see if obserations are being pitched at their agreed next stage of development to show progression rather than just confirmation of known skills.(or even regression!!) "Poured water from a jug" is pointless if a) you already know they can do that and b) the child is now using skills far in advance of that!

Observing is about building a picture, and we use the evidence to "support and illustrate" our judgements - whatever system you use it is the professional that makes the final summative assessment, not the system!!

Cx

Edited by catma
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1 hour ago, catma said:

My general advice is, it is the quality not the quantity that is most important. If you require a number a week you would probably have hundreds of observations all telling you the things you already know and don't need to observe to demonstrate you know them!

in my opinion, observations should focus on the things you are seeing that are emerging and are new skills for the child. You don't need observations for every statement in any non-statutory guidance to prove your judgement is right - that comes from discussions and moderation of judgements within the setting. The quality of judgements is not judged by the quantity of them.

Could you try to focus your team on what it is they are trying to do with observations. They may need some CPD to understand fully what the point is, otherwise you will just end up with a work overload of unusable observations just to meet an arbitrary quota!! An other down side is that then all adults do is roam around trying to "observe" when in fact some good old fashioned engagement with children will give them probably fewer but better observations in the long run!!

Maybe you could:

  • Analyse areas of learning/skills your team are less confident in observing and focus on those skills collectively across the setting to build awareness. We generally assess what we think is important - you'd be surprised how few observations get made on some aspects of the statutory curriculum because the practitioner doesn't consciously think of it. Confidence in really knowing the whole curriculum and what we must provide/teach is important here.
  • Go through observations made and see if the full assessment potential is being captured - are comments only focused on one area of learning or are you really looking - e.g. the child drew a picture. What language did they use - even what tense did they use, how did they manipulate the tools they used, what type of grip? what comments did they make about the picture that might link to PSED/UTW or EAD? DId they show an awareness of print/retelling a story? Were ther mathematical marks within their drawing? A good observation would give you loads of evidence across most areas of learning if you capture the right moment. Maximise the time you use to make an observation by making them good ones. Choosing not to record an observation is as important a skill as choosing to capture something.
  • Look at each child's records to see if obserations are being pitched at their agreed next stage of development to show progression rather than just confirmation of known skills.(or even regression!!) "Poured water from a jug" is pointless if a) you already know they can do that and b) the child is now using skills far in advance of that!

Observing is about building a picture, and we use the evidence to "support and illustrate" our judgements - whatever system you use it is the professional that makes the final summative assessment, not the system!!

Cx

Thank you Catma! 

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Thank you Catma.  I am in total agreement with you, that quality is better than quantity. However, when I was moderated last year, ( this was in response to LA review), it was recommended to the school that we didn't have enough observational evidence to secure judgements and a lot had to be done through discussion with me, which I argued is best practice in moderation. 

i was an accredited moderator for a while so I know what and how moderation is done. I believe that these judgements about our practice was based on a book scrutiny approach.

i am concerned that I am going to have endless observations that tell me nothing new and are just ticking boxes and as you say, I will just see adults wandering with iPads and not engaging with children. 

I do understand that we need to ensure we are getting a good quality, purposeful evidence base for each child and we can actually see where are children are/ are not going or which AOLs our environment lends/does not lend itself to. 

We are all good at getting the full potential from observations, if I think there are any missed opportunities I will work with that member of staff and discuss their observation and judgement. I think we do need to work on what is important and what makes a good quality observation. I also think we often miss an opportunity to say how we moved the learning forward e.g. Rephrasing an incorrect tense, scaffolding a child's enquiry. 

Mel ?

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