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Observations As Assessment


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I have recently attended our termly moderation meeting run by our LEA early years team. They said that assessments used towards the profiles shoulld now make up 80% of the assessments used. The point being that

f children are truly able to do something they will do it in their free play. This i agree with , however as the LEA stated, focus taks and inputs still need to be done in order to 'teach' the children. Our problem is that we have 44 reception children and 3 staff. We do a numeracy, literacy, pse, KUOW, creative and physIcal focus each week. It takes all week to get through 44 children with each of these focuses. We plan obsrevation time but this is very little and more often than not does not happen due to lack of time. Therfore at the momnet most of our assessments are based on focus tasks, with a few post it note obsrevations and annotated photographs. Does anyone have any ideas on how we can increase the amount of time to do obsrevations whilst still having time for 44 children to do focus activites?

 

Lola

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We have started to so 'Spotlight' observations, where we observe children for only 5 mins at a time. There's a little space for a general running commentry, but most of it picks out what learning (or lack of it) there is within each area. This is done on child initiated activities as well as during PE, carpet sessions etc to get an overall picture.

 

This means we can get round the children more quickly, as we have exactly the same ratios as you!

 

However, much of our assessments are still done during focused tasks, as you can gear it towards the specific objectives you need to assess. Otherwise, you may never see evidence of achievement of particular objetcives, as some of the children don't access certain areas/activities during free play. We use a traffic light system for this, along with room to comment if we need to.

 

This is only for some focus activities though, as otherwise I think you can become so bogged down with assessing, that you forget to actually teach! Despite all the recent push on 'learning journies' and 'child-initiated' etc - which I think is great - I also believe there is room for us to be teachers and not just facilitators.

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Lola we have much the same problem. I can see that it would be wonderful to 'observe' each child during free play achieving the ELGs (and therefore against the profile) but in reality this is HUGELY time consuming and a very long-winded way to do it.

 

We have been told that we only need to do obs during child initiated for 2 mins per child which helps and this year I have found class observation sheets really, really useful - I must confess we do tend to use these during a teacher directed activity but we have used them during child initiated.

 

I will attach one

Class_Observation_Sheet.doc

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Hi Bungalow, I have wanted to say 'thank you' to who ever did that observation sheet as I have adopted it from a previous post and then couldn't remember whose it was - much better than the one I had devised. So...THANK YOU :) . I have added a space for my assessment criteria as this helps me to focus on what I'm looking for; I have a butterfly brain!

 

new_assessment.doc

 

Sorry Lola - the above doesn't help you at all. I try to keep Friday morning as 'free time' when I'm not working with groups but am just around and can see what the children are doing when they're playing. I'll try to put out activities/equipment that compliments the work we've done through the week so that I can see what the children have got out of it.

 

I've had a student who, this last week, has been doing the teaching and this has left me to float all week and I've really enjoyed it and have got so much out of it and feel I know the children so much better. That's really sad isn't it? I am currently asking my Head nicely if next year I could have another TA so that we could have 2 adults working on focused activities whilst another floated. My dream is that we could rotate who was the 'floater' on a weekly basis (to allow for different children relating/reacting differently to different adults). I think this would be ideal, not only in enabling me to build a really rounded picture of each child but having someone who's supporting/extending the children's play and just generally being around has really reduced the noise level which sometimes makes me really miserable.

 

I also think this would help with transition, allowing 1 TA to go up to Y1 for the first half term, providing continuity for the children and 'insider' knowledge for the class teacher.

 

I think I've gone off on a tangent now but when I started typing it seemed relevant! :o

 

Is it set in stone that you have to have all of those focus activities that are assessed? Could you do some things every other week? Maybe this wouldn't impact on the children too much and would help to free up some of your time.

Edited by Guest
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I don't know if you've come across Learning Stories but we are using them in Scotland in various places to try and replace the two minute rapid fire assessments - it allows you to look at a lot more and look in depth at what the child is doing and learning. I've attached an example I've done so you can see the sort of thing I mean. (This is based on the model being used in Midlothian and originally based on the work of Margaret Carr.)

Learning_Story_filled_in_anon.doc

 

These are hugely time consuming, but you need only do one a fortnight per child, or even one a month, and if you group children in a keyworker system we find it works out nicely at about one per session, per member of staff (in principle!). We still make quick notes on sticky labels, but the children enjoy the input they, and their parents get from this.

 

It may just confuse things but it may help!

Krissy :o

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not really sure if it's what you meant but we use a sheet like the one attached if we have a certain scale point that we're observing through a particular activity... anything interesting we put on post-its - this sheet is really to keep with the planning so that when we revisit the same scale point we can refer back to see who struggled and who needs extending.

 

In terms of other observations, because of the saem time constraints you've mentioned, we just observe when there's a specific need, for example, social issues or behaviour problems. Though obviously incidental observations (on post-its) are going on all the time!

 

~ Porl

Microsoft_Word___Scale_Point_Assessment_Proforma.pdf

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  • 1 month later...

Hi

The 80 /20 rule from QCA is that to make your decisions you should use 80%observation info (incidental. logged in your brain when you glance and notice or when you are doing focus groups) or planned observation - which will only need recording if it is significant, and 20% focussed task - specifically set up to gather info such as collecting a piece of writing from each child over the week, playing a maths game to see if they can add 2 dice together, making a note of each child's throwing and catching skills during outdoor / hall sessions over the unit /theme/fortnight/etc

You are observing all the time but if you spend more time on focus tasks when the learning is teacher directed you will not notice the child initiated learning (unless you are super woman and can see and be every where at once - which I can't- although we all try don't we!)How do you know PLOD(poss lines of dev't / next steps) unless you see childrens independent play /interests/ learning styles etc and interact with them (when appropriate ) during their own initiated play in a carefully planned learning environment which you have set up together. EPPE research talked about most effective learning during periods of sustained shared learning - usually during child initiated play.

You have a legal , statutory obligation to observe children for FSP so you must allow yourself time to sometimes stand back and look at an area/group/ individual for a while. You say observation time goes out of the window so what do you move to put it back in, perhaps you are trying to do too much at the same time and could simplify times when observations are planned to happen (ie don't try to do focus group activity needing adult support and observation at the same time ) Most of the people I support found that when they give observation time a highr priority they found it very valuable and they started to see things that they had not noticed before then it became an even higher priority across the week.

Sorry there is no magic answer to obs. plan it, do it, review it

remember the planning cycle

>observse>reflect> modify planning>observe>>>>

LGM

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You have a legal , statutory obligation to observe children for FSP so you must allow yourself time to sometimes stand back and look at an area/group/ individual for a while. You say observation time goes out of the window so what do you move to put it back in, perhaps you are trying to do too much at the same time and could simplify times when observations are planned to happen (ie don't try to do focus group activity needing adult support and observation at the same time ) Most of the people I support found that when they give observation time a highr priority they found it very valuable and they started to see things that they had not noticed before then it became an even higher priority across the week.

Sorry there is no magic answer to obs. plan it, do it, review it

remember the planning cycle

>observse>reflect> modify planning>observe>>>>

LGM

54456[/snapback]

 

 

I think many of us are hung up on the idea that observation isnt 'real teaching' and that we need to do the 'chalk and talk' bit to earn our wages. If we dont give observation a high priority how do we know what children are LEARNING?

Ros Bayley talks about teaching CLEVER maybe something for us all to consider :o

teaching_clever.rtf

Edited by Marion
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Thanks for all the other proformas - is great to share ideas, rather than be reinventing the wheel! Have attached a few proformas I have used in Nursery and Reception - I agree - changing the perceptions of observing is difficult but so worthwhile - I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders when I got into the swing of it, realised its massive potential and had advisors telling me what good practice it is. I love it now!! There is nothing better than sitting watching children grow and lead their own learning. Parents love to read schedules as well. I think they are much better evidence than worksheets etc. "Observation record" is filled in over a period of between 5-20 mins depending on what the child is doing and we quick-ref the leanring by highlighting the ELGs at the bottom. "Record sheet 3" is great for group observing with/without an adult lead - we jot notes down as we go along. "Record sheet 4" is useful for the SEF as well as everything else.

observation_record.doc

Record_sheet_4.doc

Record_sheet_3.doc

Edited by Guest
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