Every year our Year 9 and Year 10 students sit their asTTle tests for writing and we are given a level that they are working at.
It has been a continuous weakness of mine that I did not really understand how I could apply this knowledge in my subject and to my teaching. This is something that I am determined to rectify this year.
With this is mind, the opportunity came up to learn how the asTTle writing tests are marked by members of the English department and we had our first session in the staff room after school yesterday. Mark, our literacy coordinator had the exemplars ready that they had used for the recent asTTle moderation meeting. He also had all the marking schemes ready for us to look at.
I found the exercise frustrating, hard and fascinating all at the same time. The frustration came from having to try and read student's hand writing while learning something completely new. I found my own understanding of structure hard to use and apply to the task and it was a fascinating process to see exactly what goes into one little number that you are given as a level.
I managed to get through one exemplar in the time and that was with the help of two English teachers pointing things out and guiding me every step of the way.
The next step for me is to sit in with the English department next week and look at work that they have marked and go through the process myself to see if I can see why they decided on that mark / grade.
I was talking about this to +Robyn Anderson today when her class were here for their Technology lessons. She has suggested that I look at the instruction language used in tasks.
So the second plan for next week is to visit Robyn's class at Panmure Bridge School where she will be doing explanation language tasks with her class. Then I will visit the English Department Teachers at Tamaki College to see what language is used in the English lessons at the collage and how they do it. Then I will analyse what instruction language I use in my lessons.
Seeing how these different approaches affect how the students understand what I am asking them to do will hopefully change how I structure literacy based tasks to the better.
If we all speak the same language to the students will this make it easier for them to understand what they are being asked to do?
So, a lot of learning from a lot of different people. Sharing is good.