Why use this approach?
The advantage of this approach is that it enables you to make a detailed assessment of one or two aspects of scientific enquiry at a time, within the context of a whole investigation. This means that assessing the full range of children’s science enquiry skills and understanding of science processes becomes more manageable with a whole class. Specific areas for development can be identified and subsequent teaching can take this into account with more clearly defined learning objectives - the assessment is formative.
Teachers in the IST project found that carrying out these focussed assessments helped them to develop their own understanding of progression in scientific enquiry (SC1).
They are intended to fit into a normal teaching programme and not require additional time.
These focused assessments can also contribute to an ongoing summative record of children's attainment in scientific enquiry.
What is focused assessment?
An activity is identified from medium term planning that is appropriate for a focused assessment of scientific enquiry (SC1). Ideally it should occur about two thirds of the way through a topic - far enough that the children have had the opportunity to develop their understanding and skills, but not right at the end of the topic so that there is still time to act on the assessment information. Although in the original IST project this was matched to the QCA SoW, the general approach could be adapted for other schemes of work or planning that you may be using.
Learn about the plans for focused assessment
How to use the focused assessments
It is not an 'off the peg'
solution to the assessment of scientific enquiry. It is a flexible system that
means you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Each of these focused assessments
was written for a particular group of children, working in a particular
school. We strongly recommend that you download and amend any plan to suit your
own school group and circumstance.
The planning sheets for scientific enquiry (Sc1) focused assessment are available here.
You may want to refer back to the relevant QCA Units to find where the focused assessment fits into the sequence of lessons.