By John Sibbald

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Planning for assessment - the elephant in the room?

Friday 9th September

Here at The Manchester College we are now working with over 40 schools and colleges supporting them in developing their remote delivery plan, training digital champions in ‘What does good asynchronous learning and synchronous teaching look like?’, cascading training back in school, providing regular Teams drop in sessions in addition to general and technical inquiries. 

Schools are developing their capability in adapting existing content for delivery in the online setting. This includes adding narrations to PowerPoints and using technology such as a Loom to record activity on the desktop.  Many teachers now have the knowledge to create content that supports engagement, is suitable for mobile access and fits the agreed pedagogy. 

Now that teachers cannot ‘mark’ books in traditional ways they need to find alternatives to checking in on learning through surveys, polls and questioning techniques.  Teachers are starting to ask how to build in formative and summative assessments into their online provision. This includes sequences of asynchronous learning and during synchronous ‘live’ lessons.  Teachers need to find ways of including exam-style questions into their remote teaching through MicroSoft Forms and using synchronous ‘live’ lessons to review responses, provide feedback and build confidence. 

We have collated the following research from the EEF, Oftsed and the Research Schools Network and provides current best practice in both synchronous and asynchronous settings.  They provide eight ways in which teachers can provide opportunities for challenge whilst still engaging students in learning and providing extrinsic influences of motivation: 

Asynchronous learning – 4 take away tips

1. Use built-in analytics to evaluate your students' quiz results and provide feedback. 

2. Export data, such as quiz results, to Excel for additional analysis or grading. 

3. Use diagnostic ‘hinge point’ questions in multiple choice quizzes that include more nuanced misconceptions using these to probe and further develop an understanding – branching and sections:

  • A reminder on hinge-point questions can be found here.   
  • Other STEM examples here
  • An example of how this done in Forms can be found here.

4. Use a shared document to collaborate on a response as a group or class to create a ‘perfect’ response with prompting and immediate feedback from both peers and teacher. 

Synchronous teaching – 4 take away tips

1. Create surveys, quizzes, and polls, and easily see results as they come in live. 

2. Flipped learning - a question set is used to provide multiple-choice questions for students to explore an idea independently before arriving at the lesson.  This means the synchronous lesson can then be used to stretch initial ideas and responses. 

3. Use ‘Wait questions’ via the chat function on online lessons – everyone has to prepare an answer and can only post when told to do so, providing wait time and a no-opt-out structure. 

4. Use 1-1 or smaller group ‘break out’ tutorials to provide feedback whilst the rest of the class work independently through a task.