By Carol McDonald, HM Inspector and Lead Officer for secondary inspection
Time to reflect on inspection evidence is always an interesting and key part of our work. Reviewing our findings for the recent report ‘Quality and improvement in Scottish education 2012 – 2016’ (QuISE) highlighted some important strengths in the secondary sector over a period with significant changes to the curriculum.
Inspectors appreciate the opportunity inspection offers to engage in dialogue with staff, parents, partners of the school and the young people themselves. We learn a great deal from our discussions which informs many aspects of our work.
You can read the secondary chapter from QuISE on our website. In secondary schools, inspectors found the curriculum in most schools evolving as new qualifications replaced old ones. Much of the work in schools focused on implementing new qualifications and increasing the range of accreditation available to young people in the senior phase.
Staff in schools recognised that to continue to improve attainment, improvements to learning pathways from S1 to S3 are required. Young people are well supported by the good relationships they enjoy with their teachers. However, too much variability was observed in the quality of learning and teaching. Schools need to continue to work to ensure staff share a good understanding of the best features of effective practice.
Our evidence shows that schools need to use the wide range of evidence available to ensure that school improvement planning is manageable and achievable. The evidence from Insight, and from teacher’s professional judgements on the progress of young people, needs better used to inform improvement planning.
Schools are working effectively with partners to develop the young workforce using a range of innovative approaches. Senior staff in schools are using the Career Education Standard 3-18 (CES), the Work Placement Standard (WPS) and Guidance on School/Employer Partnerships as a platform to promote and develop DYW in their schools. The use of the standards and the guidance to align and co-ordinate activity is still at an early stage. Teaching staff, young people and employers are not yet aware of the entitlements and the expectations within the standards and guidance.
Our inspections in the current academic year show improvements in arrangements for assessing and tracking the progress of young people across all aspects of their learning. Using this evidence to implement appropriate interventions for individuals is key to improving outcomes for young people. Collating the evidence at a department, faculty and whole school level allows staff to analyse and act upon necessary improvements. Central to this work is the reliability of the assessment evidence. We are seeing teachers beginning to make good use of the benchmarks to support them in this essential work.
In the best examples, schools are identifying, and taking account of, a range of features which may influence outcomes for young people. This includes factors such as being “looked after” (LAC), living in areas of social deprivation (SIMD 1 and 2) and having identified additional support requirements. These factors need taken into account when planning learning for young people.
As staff continue to work hard in the interests of their pupils, they recognise that they are part of a wider team of adults that provide the necessary support to help young people succeed. It is good to see, and hear about, the successes of schools in improving outcomes for the young people in their community.
As we look ahead to next year’s inspections, I look forward to seeing these areas develop further, helping improve attainment for our young people.
By Sadie Cushley, HM Inspector and Lead Officer for primary inspection
It’s been an interesting and rewarding process to review our primary inspection findings for the recent report ‘Quality and improvement in Scottish education 2012-2016’ (QuISE). In addition to that four year view, this year we have continued to observe improving practice, and this blog is a good opportunity to share some of that with you.
You can read the primary chapter from QuISE on our website. In primary schools, inspectors found that staff generally used a good range of learning and teaching approaches which enabled children to be more actively involved in their learning. Schools have taken many positive steps to develop and improve the curriculum and should build on this to meet the needs of all children.
Our evidence shows that schools now need to put in place better arrangements for assessing and tracking children’s progress, including having a shared understanding of standards within Curriculum for Excellence levels. As a priority, they should identify and address any gaps in attainment and achievement between their least and most disadvantaged children.
Our inspections continue to show that staff are working hard in most of the schools inspected to ensure that children are actively involved in their learning. Increasingly we see children less passive in their learning due to efforts made by staff to encourage children to think. A common misconception is that if children are moving around they are active in their learning. Our strongest schools ensure children are thinking and learning during activities.
Often on inspections we can observe really strong practice in an aspect of learning in one class but not in another. It is important that staff visit other classes regularly to learn from their colleagues. A particular strength we observed in one school was where, as part of the moderation at a cluster level, staff at the same stage across the cluster planned a series of lessons to ensure consistency in standards. In addition, they observed these lessons being taught in classes providing feedback on the quality of learning and teaching. In doing this not only did they share expected standards but they achieved more consistent high quality learning and teaching.
This academic year there has been a noticeable improvement in the number of schools who now have a system to track children’s progress more effectively. In almost all schools inspected the headteacher and staff now have an overview of children’s attainment. Where this works best staff all have a clearly understood approach to assessment within their classes which is robust and informs their professional judgement.
In the strongest schools this is articulated in an assessment framework to ensure staff are clear of expectations. We have had several strong approaches to assessment in some of our inspections where staff plan assessment as they are planning their learning and teaching. Assessment is then part of the on-going work, it is less bureaucratic and there is a balance between the use of summative and formative assessment to inform staff of children’s progress.
Already we are seeing schools making good use of the benchmarks to assess children’s progress and make judgements about achieving the level. Since August we have noted some strong practice where staff and the senior management team meet regularly to discuss the attainment of individuals and cohorts of children. In doing this, interventions are planned to raise attainment or close the gap in attainment, and previous interventions are evaluated as to their effectiveness.
A few schools inspected, in addition to having an overarching view of children’s attainment, drill down to monitor and evaluate the attainment of specific groups. For example, they look at specific cohorts such as children with English as an additional language (EAL), children who are looked after and accommodated (LAC) and children living in SIMD 1&2. This is particularly important in planning interventions to ensure the impact of pupil equity funding.
It is good to see these initiatives being implemented, and I look forward to seeing their impact on the outcomes of our primary pupils.
In a nutshell, it’s an online environment where a teacher can assign tasks, track who’s completed tasks with ease, or provide feedback to support learners, share in seconds OneNote pages to every individual pupil’s section which can only be seen by the teacher and that individual pupil, have peer-to-peer conversations for collaborative work between learners or for teachers to provide individualised support to learners through teacher-pupil discussions. It joins up features available in Office 365 for Education – the OneNote Class Notebook, messaging, calendar, feedback, groups and email especially for classrooms. It works via a browser, or computer or mobile app for smartphone or tablet.
Click on this link for an interactive step-by-step guide to Microsoft Classroom, what it looks like, how it works and how a teacher might use it with their learners. This interactive guide takes you through the steps combining video, audio, screenshots as well as inviting you to click on the sections to see what happens and move to the next step to find out how Microsoft Classroom works for a teacher.
Teachers and pupils in Scottish schools have access to Microsoft Classroom using their Glow login details. Just log into Glow, choose any Office 365 tile then, from any part of Office 365, just click on the 9-square waffle and choose the Classroom tile. Alternatively go to Microsoft Classroom website and use your Glow login details to log in straight from there https://classroom.microsoft.com/
The Microsoft Educator Community has an introduction to Microsoft Classroom guiding users through the features, setup and management of Microsoft Classroom. Educators are encouraged to sign up on the Microsoft Educators Community as recognition is then given for completion of a course and assessment in the form of badge and certificate https://education.microsoft.com/GetTrained/introduction-to-microsoft-classroom
When setting up the app on a mobile device it will usually ask for the Office 365 for Education – that will be the full Glow email address.
How to make use of existing OneNote Class Notebooks in Microsoft Classroom
Schools which have already been using Microsoft OneNote and have existing OneNote Class Notebooks can associate Microsoft Classroom with existing Class Notebooks. To do this ensure you have the desktop version of OneNote installed on your computer, and have added the Class Notebook Add-in. Then to associate an existing Class Notebook with a Microsoft Classroom click on > Connections > Map Class Notebooks.
Is there a feature you’d like to see in Microsoft Classroom?
Join John Swinney in another Glow TV event to discuss ways to reduce teacher workload on Tuesday 13th September at 6.15pm. You will have the opportunity to ask questions live to Mr Swinney or submit a question prior to the event.
To follow up his recent Glow Meet, John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, is offering an additional opportunity to education practitioners to discuss Curriculum for Excellence, the recently published Statement and Benchmarks, and other actions to help reduce teacher workload. He will be joined by Graeme Logan, Strategic Director, who was actively involved in developing the Statement and Benchmarks, and who is currently leading the Scottish Attainment Challenge for Education Scotland.
Once again, the questions will come from Scotland’s teachers and education practitioners. If you can’t take part on Tuesday, please send a question in advance to Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org. We will do our best to answer as many questions as we can during the Glow Meet and we will publish answers to any questions that we don’t manage to address.
Insight assists secondary schools and local authorities in identifying where improvements can be made in the senior phase as well as areas of success and best practice. It supports professional dialogue about performance at whole school, curriculum area and subject level as part of the improvement process to raise attainment and improve post-school participation in employment, further and higher education. Insight went live in September 2014 but did you realise that discussions are ongoing with awards providers with a view to expanding the range of qualifications in Insight, including, most importantly, those that support vocational learning. Qualifications must be credit-rated on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework, and aligned with the principles of Curriculum for Excellence.
Insight already includes attainment data on a range of qualifications related to vocational education. These include National Certificates, Higher National Qualifications, Scottish Vocational Qualifications, National Progression Awards and Skills for Work qualifications. From September 2016 there will be additional useful updates:
some increases in the tariff points allocated to some specific work-related courses. Some courses attract ‘added value’ – i.e., where there is deemed to be value to the learner over and above the sum of the award’s constituent components – which might be units or courses. This might be either because they contain an exam unit, an identified ‘added value unit’ (e.g. National 4) or because the award provider has made a case to the Insight project board that the course delivers added value in another way.
‘added value’ recognition will be extended to National Certificates; National Progression Awards; and Scottish Vocational Qualifications. Skills for Work already had this recognition. Of course, it is vital that choices about courses are made in the best interests of the individual learner, and not on the basis of tariff points, but the adjustments here will support effective self-evaluation by schools of their pupil cohorts’ outcomes
remember, Insight captures detail of awards gained by learners at establishments other than their base centre and these are included within the tariff-based benchmarking measures. From September a new ‘partnership attainment’ measure to make data on the learning achieved by young people in colleges or other training providers, as part of a senior phase vocational pathway, will be more visible and convenient for users to access.
There is more;
the new Foundation Apprenticeships will also be awarded added-value from the first certifications in summer 2018. As Foundation Apprenticeships will vary in SCQF credit points, the Insight tariff points for any particular framework will also vary depend on its characteristics. (Again, remember that course choices must of course be made in the best interests of the individual learner.)
a full review of the tariff principles (building on the annual health-checks) is underway, now that Curriculum for Excellence and the new National Qualifications are fully implemented. The review will consider whether any adjustments may be necessary to the tariff scale within Insight going forward, to ensure it is fulfilling its purpose as a benchmarking and self-evaluation tool. Keep your eyes open, we want to encourage as many responses as possible .
If you have any further question or wish to join the debate on Insight, please get in touch with Julie Anderson, Senior Phase Pathways & College Partnerships, DYW at the Scottish Government Learning Directorate.
Gathering feedback, taking quizzes to reinforce learning, undertaking surveys of views, signing up or registering for an activity – just some of the ways forms can be used by schools. And now there is the option to use Microsoft Forms – available as a free online tool which uses a Microsoft Office 365 account (available to all Glow users) to set up the form either by going to https://forms.office.com or, if already logged into Office 365, via the Forms tile in the office 365 navigation tiles waffle. Office Forms can be created by either learners or educators.
Forms work nicely on any smartphones, tablets or PCs. Setting up requires the creator to be logged in to Office 365 but those completing the created form can be completed by anyone without requiring any kind of logging in (if that setting is chosen by the form creator), or they can be anonymous (if that is the setting the creator of the form wishes to use), or if they wish to restrict responses to their class and to ensure their identity they can use the login details of office 365 users too (if that’s how the creator of the form wishes the form to be completed). So the form creator gets the choice to suit the purpose and audience of their form.
Feedback is immediate, real-time, to the form creator and the results can be displayed in different ways to suit the need of the form creator.
For Sway users you can embed a form created with office Forms live in a Sway presentation information can be shared about a topic being studied and a quiz included alongside the content.
Creating your form
Either go to https://forms.office.com and log in with your Office 365 account (for Scottish schools that will be your Glow account) or, if already logged into Office 365, choose the Forms tile in the office 365 navigation tiles waffle.
Click on + Newto start creating your new form (you can click on the title of any previously created form in order to edit that, and if you wish to base a new form on an existing form you can click on the … ellipsis to the right of the form title and choose copy – then you can edit the copy to create a new version.
Just click on “Untitled form” to edit the name of your form, and click on “Enter a description” to add explanatory text as you may wish to include to explain the purpose of the form and perhaps mentioning the intended audience. Then click “+Add question“
Choose the type of question.There are five types of answer formats:
multiple choice questions (where you can choose to accept only one answer or multiple responses)
free-text (and you can choose either short or long text)
ratings (you can choose number or star rating)
quiz-questions (where you can provide immediate feedback to anyone filling in the form as to whether the respondent gave the correct answer or not (click on the tick icon to indicate which answer would be the correct answer – and just click on the speech-bubble icon to add comments to any response choice, which may give encouraging comments or suggestions for what to do next in response to the answer given, or any kind of feedback you wish to display when a particular choice is chosen)
You can choose whether there can be multiple responses or only one answer accepted, you can require that specific questions have to be answered before a user can complete the form, and by clicking on the …ellipsis you can choose whether a subtitle (which could provide explanatory text for each question) is displayed, and whether you wish to shuffle the order of questions so that each time someone sees the form the questions are displayed in a random order.
Add as many further questions as you wish. You can re-order the questions by clicking on the upward or downward facing arrows above each question, and you can copy an existing question (and edit that copy), or delete an existing question.
Previewing your form
To see what the form will look like for people about to fill it in you can click on “preview” at the top navigation bar. You can see how the questions will be laid out on a computer, and you can also choose to see how it will look on a mobile device.
Sharing your form
Once the form is complete click on “Send form” – this will open a side panel with various choices. It will provide a link to share with those you wish to respond to the form. It will create a QR code for quick scanning by users using a mobile device, and it will provide html embed code if you wish to embed the form within a website page or blogpost. This screen also gives you the option to choose who will be able to fill out the form – you can choose only people within your organisation (for Scottish schools using Glow that would be Glow users only), and within that you can choose whether or not to record the names of those responding in the results, or you can choose to make the form available to anyone with the link (where no sign-in will be required for people responding to the form).
If you click on “See all settings” at the foot of this side panel you will get further choices:
Looking at the results of your form
When you wish to look at the responses to a form you have shared then simply open the form and click on the responses tab along the top of the screen. You will get an overview of the number of respondents, the average time taken to complete by respondents, and whether the form is still active or expired 9if you’d set it to have a deadline). There is also the option to download to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (which comes complete with auto-filter drop-downs to easily sort the information generated to suit your needs).
Steven Payne, an educator in Western Australia, shared the results of a mock use Microsoft Forms – showing the results, and the way in which they can be displayed, which the creator of the form can see once respondents have completed the survey.
Jim Federico commented in a tweet that Microsoft Forms being built into Office 365 for Education means no add-ins are required, and includes question types which auto-grade.
Kurt Söser, an educator in Austria, has provided a step-by-step guide to his experience setting up a quiz with Microsoft Forms and using it with his learners.
Vicent Gadea, an educator in Spain, described co-assessment using Microsoft Forms “1st time was complicated then was very powerful for us.”
Koen Timmers, an educator in Belgium, has described in a step-by-step guide, illustrated with screenshots, how to set up a form using Office Forms, and shared what the responses look like for a form he created.
Making use of Forms in the classroom
There is a range of online form tools available, each of which can generally be used in similar ways, so it can be helpful to look at how others have used these tools when thinking about how online forms can support classroom activity.
On a Friday afternoon I often share teaching resources on Twitter, like many other teachers do, using the hashtag #PedagooFriday. The Zone of Relevance resource generated a lot of interest. I was contacted by teachers asking for further explanation and asking questions, which is understandable as 140 characters can be very limited! The Zone of […]