The problem with levels- gaps in basic numeracy skills identified by rigorous diagnostic testing

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27 Responses

  1. Rebecca Wheatcroft says:

    I really enjoyed reading what you have done and discovered. MathsBox now has weekly skills checks for KS3 based on the new curriculum, and have a skills checklist for the pupils to monitor what they need to improve. If you haven’t already it might be beneficial to look at that while your creating your ‘five-minute-every-lesson, fluency-building product’.
    I cant wait to seeing what you produce, and THANK YOU for wanting to share it with all schools!

  2. Ruth Partington says:

    A fantastic article thank you for sharing. I had not heard of quickKey app before so I will be looking into this sounds great for diagnostic testing. I totally agree the gaps students have when we get them in year 7 are overlooked in our quest to move them up the levels and show “progress”. I will definitely be using your diagnostic test on our new intake of year 7 students in September and possibly year 8 too, and I look forward to your 5 minutes fluency builder. Once again thank you for taking the time to write and share such an interesting article and resource.

    • Thanks for your comments, Ruth. Do let me know how you get on in Sept and watch out for the fluency-building free product I’ll be launching on this website this summer 🙂

  3. Anthony says:

    Hi,

    Is there a way for you to share the marking grid across quickkey?

    Love the idea, going to use it 🙂

    • Hi,

      The marking grid is in the PP at the end of the blog article.

      Hope that’s useful and thanks for getting in touch!

      Will

      • Deborah Kitchingman says:

        Sorry Will I cannot find the marking grid. Please can you sent to me. Have you also got a date when the fluency building product will be available? I loved this power point. Excellent, thank you.

        • Hi Deb,

          The fluency practice product is live, see http://www.numeracyninjas.org. Over 170 schools signed up so far! Hope it’s useful for you.

          As for the marking grid, I’m not 100% sure what you mean. Could you explain a bit more please and I’ll do my best to help you out.

          Thanks,

          Will

        • If you mean the grid that students mark their answers on, you download it from the Quickkey site; they’ve updated it recently so using the one I used a year ago would now be out of date. Was that what you meant?

          • Anthony says:

            The answer grid, for example q1- D q2 – A

            To save time going through the test and doing the answers ourselves. We’re very lazy!

  4. Mark Horley says:

    Really interesting approach. 2 (quite different!) questions:
    1) 3 hours sounds like a long time to scan in score sheets – is there no way you can just feed them into a photocopier scanner and get a multi-page pdf document rather than “photographing” each sheet individually.
    2) Was the test demoralising for the level 3 students? I can imaging my students panicking and complaining loudly as the questions disappeared and moved on to the next one before they had chance to work out an answer.

    • Hi Mark,

      1) 3 hours wasn’t so bad! One evening’s work and we did get a 18 000 data points out of it! Good idea re the scanning via photocopiers. QuickKey doesn’t offer this option, but others might. Do you know of any?

      2) We briefed the students on what to expect, told them the reasons why we are doing it and made sure they knew it was low-stakes. We told them we wouldn’t be setting classes off it or even reporting their individual results to them. I think the key to keeping them engaged was about being honest and up front with them and managing their expectations.

  5. Marc Evans says:

    I love QuickKey and the way that you have applied it.

  6. Leigh says:

    In primary school we are very aware that old SATs could be guilty of giving false impressions of understanding and skills of our Y6’s levels, marking fundamental gaps. If secondaries are to be given levels for new Y7’s, then exact marks for each paper, at the very least, should be handed up so that levels are given some context. I prefer a more detailed document of a breakdown of the papers from the ‘marker’, so that strengths and weaknesses, when children are performing at ‘best’, are reported on. When children arrive with secondary school they can re test to see what has been retained etc and move on from there. Having 2 sets of basic data can then highlight areas to work on.

    • Yes, some very well made points here; thank you Leigh. I fully agree with you that more in-depth data is needed about what students’ strength and weaknesses are. I’m glad that levels are going, but hope we’re given enough time to develop something better and another govt doesn’t bring back a levelling system in the mean time…

  7. Kelly Morris says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this Will, this is just the kind of thing I wish I had invented. I am eagerly awaiting the resources that you are working on to address the issues. I have been doing a similar thing in terms of addressing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills and measuring progress but this is so much more!

  8. Derek says:

    Love this, trialled it yesterday with 20 low ability year 10 pupils (I know not the target audience) but a valuable insight into their abilities, plus they loved the instant feedback, I had time to scan in lesson.

    If anyone is planning on doing it in Sept I would recommend a trial as I ironed out many bugs and learnt a lot about the system. Pupils have to be very careful about filling out boxes, for example, I tried pencils but thick whiteboard pens worked much better.

    Would you consider making your data analysis sheet available so I can use it to analyse the data I have?

    • Lisia Muller says:

      How did you scan it in? I looked at QuickKey and it appears you need to upload both class and answers. Can you guide me through how to do this so can scan our students answers please.

      Thank you

  9. Mike says:

    This article was really interesting to read and I have since downloaded the quickkey app and am thinking of trialling it in September!
    Thanks for sharing all these ideas, any tips for a first time user of this?

  10. Jacqueline says:

    Thank you so much for creating this resource. It is really great. Will be using this with Years 7 to 11 as part of their first lessons back. Cannot get the app to work so team will be marking them unless I can work out how to use the app.

  11. Therese Black says:

    Thankyou for sharing this wonderful work!
    Will be using this powerpoint to assess our incoming Yr.7’s next summer
    (Australia!)
    Will also be accessing Numeracy Ninjas
    Many thanks!!

  12. Hayley says:

    This is awesome! Thank you for sharing 🙂

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