Sunday, 17 November 2013

Make it visible - colour coding progress

As John Hattie says "Know thy impact" If you don't know what I'm talking about see this video or get a look at one of his really interesting "Visible learning" series of books....

Progress walls
We've previously done this for year 11 but this year we're making the progress of all our classes visible... every classroom now has a progress wall, and on it is a really clear summary of the progress that each class taught in that room.

With a tweak to our departmental spreadsheets we have made it easy to print out these colour charts for all of our classes. The colours represent the most recent assessment grade or level vs target. We use colours to avoid the issue of students worrying about others either seeing their target or their assessment levels. It gives an easy way for staff and students to see both their latest status and their progress during the year. They look like this...

This KS3 example illustrates that some students in this class are well above target, some on target and others well below target. It provokes powerful discussions about what students will do next to improve. I've even had a student who has a well above target blue colour code in their first assessment ask if another colour can be added so they can go beyond blue! (Purple is in the pipeline!)

Progress over time
It  becomes even more powerful when more data is present - You can see from the yr 11 one here that in general the class has made good progress between the two tests shown. 

In fact even when you look at a large part of the year group the colours allow a good judgement of progress, and easy selection of those that appear to be stationary.

The students like it
The next example here is a completed version from last year, the format is a little different as this one was done by hand rather than automated for the current ones. (note this is in advance of the final grades; 95% of this class met or exceed target in the end)

You can see that progress isn't always linear and isn't always secure. That's fine so long as a discussion is had and the students know what to do to improve - this kind of thing has to be integrated with good feedback and support.

Publishing a new sheet with a class always generates a good discussion in the room - the students always want to see what colour they are and then want to talk about next steps. It's also a great thing to refer to when reminding students on the need to revise or do homework!

Visibility helps for staff too - it helps to focus the mind if one student is clearly not making the same progress as others.

If you don't do something like this already then I urge you to give it a go - I suspect the more visible you can make progress the more progress you can make.

As always, all comments welcome...

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