Week1: The team agreed that assessing students in their first week would be counterproductive. Students needed to feel that FE education was a move away from secondary education. The resources in week 1 allow students to settle in and feel that this is a fresh start in their learning journey. English is not a subject to be feared.
Week 2: It is very important to accurately assess students’ starting points in order to tailor their journey, using their areas of greatest potential gains. The team chose to use simplified assessments rather than complete examinations as they can give us the same understanding of their skills without overwhelming students. Once you have assessed students, you should decide which of the assessment objectives will lead in their learning. It is likely that students will gain most marks from the higher mark questions. However, each student is an individual. Your professional judgement is required. Students will spend much of their time mastering their two areas of greatest need so consider this very carefully.
Weeks 3 – 5: In each of these weeks, you will find teaching resources split into three sections: a) Simple b) Fluent and c) complex. Students will work through each section as their confidence in the skill increases. Students are not trying to cover every skill for the examination in the short time they have. Instead, they are mastering their two areas of greatest need. The home learning section allows students to dip into any of the other assessment objectives in their own time. You might also choose to direct students’ home learning to a third area (indicated through their assessment) to cover as much content as possible.
The Mastery Structure
Simple: This assumes that students have not mastered this skill. They need to be taught what it is. How to put it into practise. Look at worked examples. Learn new vocabulary and so on. This is a teaching resource, designed to be used by a teacher in either live or online lessons for direct instruction.
Fluent: This task assumes that students have now been taught the skill. It is not an assessment but rather a chance to practise what they have learned. This is student led and includes notes for self-assessment. Students are encouraged to check their learning and use the revision (home learning) resources to continue to build their skill.
Complex: This task is an examination question, linked to the assessment objective that they have been mastering, as it would appear on the exam. It appears alongside another question that would be on the alternate section of the examination. For example, if they have been mastering evaluation (reading). They would answer this question first followed by a writing question from the same exam paper. The purpose of this is to build students’ stamina in writing for longer periods of time. It also reminds students of the bigger picture of this examination. A teacher assessment of complex tasks is advised so that students can receive targeted feedback for improvement. Teacher notes are provided with each complex task for this purpose.
Week 6: Students sit another simplified assessment to help direct their revision before the examination. As students have spent time focussed on their area of greatest potential gains, it would be hoped that improvements to this area are clear in this second assessment. Once again, teacher judgement is required to decide upon their final areas for revision and preparation. If sufficient gains have been made, it may be possible to redirect students to a new area of greatest potential.
Week 7: It is the aim of the curriculum to have led students towards a more confident approach to their English studies. They should feel that they are able to make progress. They should know how to revise independently thanks to accessible home learning tasks. This final week should be as student led as possible as they prepare for their November resit.
Next Steps and T-Levels
At the start of this project, the team identified the need to develop the November resit page into something that allowed T-Level students to see the purpose of English in their curriculum areas. Splitting the content into assessment objectives was a purposeful move for this next step. The team are currently exploring ways that we can mirror the mastery strands into resources that show students the purpose of reading and writing beyond examinations and into their chosen field of study. We want to create usable resources that help students identify (simple) use (fluent) and improve (complex) English in their area of work.