Using highlighter pens in the classroom is far from a revolutionary idea, so bear with me.
How you use highlighters to make a difference is the point of this blog post. There are many ways you can use highlighters and make them an integral part of your classroom and your children’s peer assessment, self assessment and target setting.
To get a greater understanding of how highlighting can be used in all three key areas of assessment I will break this post into those three sections.
The use of highlighting of key features for the purpose of self assessment is simple. Below is an example of our self assessment tools for highlighting:
The above resources can be used in many ways. The WWW ones (which are already three-way differentiated) can be used after the lesson. The children write 2, 3 or 5 great features of their work and then choose a highlighter for each key feature and highlight an example of it in their work.
The EBI resource is a more interesting tool in many ways. Also differentiated three ways, they help children say what’s missing of what could be improved. They have to highlight areas that can be bettered. A useful tool when the class our working on a first draft or plan.
The use of highlighting for the purpose of peer assessment is certainly interesting. Give each pupil one of the resources below:
Once they’ve been paired they can look at their partner’s work and decide which is the best part and why and which part can be improved, and once again why. They can then choose a highlighter colour for each part and highlight examples of great practice and bits that can be improved.
I’ve tried it out recently and it worked really really well. The children go so much more from this form of peer assessment. Below is an example of what one pupil came up with:
The use of highlighting key features for target setting has to be done in two stages, one at the start and one at the end of a lesson. Give each pupil one of the below resources:
They can then choose 2, 3 or 5 features they’d like to include in their work (the resource comes three-way differentiated). For instance when my class were writing diaries entries they chose which key features they were going to include (first person, chronological order, time connectives, etc) in their diary entry.
At the end of the lesson they can then go back and highlight where they have used each key feature in their work, thus proving they’ve successfully completed their work. If there are any key features they can’t find examples of then they know what to do to improve their work.
So dust off those highlighter pens. They can be one of the most simple and most powerful tools for classroom assessment.
Please comment on and share this blog post.
“Oh no, we haven’t done any peer assessment for a while!”
How many times as teachers do we realise that we’ve neglected to use any peer or self assessment in our lessons and fear it will reflect badly on us if anyone else finds out?
The issue, though, is finding a way to do regular and effective peer assessment. Solving that issue is something I have been focussed on recently. I mentioned in the ‘How to Peer Assess’ post about using three key areas of peer assessment (WWW, EBI & Next Step).
What I have come up with to help you regularly and effectively peer assess is a ‘Peer Assessment Starters’ poster. Below is the poster, which aims to guide children towards great peer assessment statements. Click the image below to see it more clearly.
Regular use of the sentence starters in the poster can be so powerful. I have quickly found that it really helps guide children towards productive and investigative responses to their partner’s work. Also worth mentioning is that on the ‘How to Peer Assess’ poster it importantly does state that the children cannot just make comments about their peer’s spellings or handwriting, or just say “it was nice”, as this is not going to help their peer improve their work (this is a policy well worth adopting).
I have started to use the ideas from this poster in three ways:
1. Getting the children to swap their books with a peer and then after reading each other’s work they have a conversation where each sentence starts with one of the starters. They can use only one of the three areas (WWW, EBI, NS), or all three.
2. Asking the children to swap books and then write a comment after their peer’s work where each sentence starts with one of the starters on the poster.
3. Copy some of the starters onto a Word document and produce a peer assessment sheet for them to fill in about their peers work. Below is an example of this in practise.
Great peer assessment starts with great guidance. I have found already that the starters on the poster really help guide them towards really helpful peer assessment comments.
The only other concern people have is whether or not the peer assessment will actually have an impact on the children and help them to make progress. To help tackle this area of concern I have also produced a ‘Next Step’ resource for children to stick in their books after they’ve read their peer’s comments about their work and for them to show they are aware of what they need to do to improve. Below is an example of this resource in use.
The ‘Peer Assessment Starters’ and ‘Next Step’ resource are just the start of loads of exciting peer assessment resources we will be launching on this blog. Keep coming back to find more useful assessment tools.
Please comment on and share this blog.
Peer assessment is highlighted as such a great and effective assessment tool. However so many people struggle to find a way to use peer assessment so that it has an impact on their children’s learning.
Too many times I’ve furrowed my brow or sighed in despair at a child responding to a peer’s work with ‘your handwriting could be neater’ or ‘be better at spellings’ or of course my favourite response when asked what their peer could improve is when they write ‘nothing’ or ‘it’s perfect already’. While I’m happy that my children see presentation and spellings as very important, I know that that comment will have no lasting impact on their partner. Of course I’m happy that they want to tell each other how wonderful they are, but I do still want them to know that perfection requires a lot more work before it’s achieved.
Establishing good quality, investigative peer assessment is what is required to ensure when I use peer assessment it will create a lasting impact on the person who’s work is being peer assessed, whilst also moulding a more reflective approach for the person doing the peer assessment.
To start us of on the process of exploring great peer assessment I’ve made a poster to highlight to the children what great peer assessment looks like.
Download this poster and stick on your walls, on your tables and perhaps in the children’s books. Every time they are going to peer assess they need to have these sentence starters bounding through their brain.
As I blogged about in the ‘How to Self Assess’ post, great child assessment requires training. Give the children time to be absorbed within the world of great peer assessment. Use this poster and the ideas on it regularly and the children will be so comfortable with the correct way to peer assess you’ll hear them talking to each other in lessons asking the questions on the poster without prompting.
Let’s look a bit more at the three main elements of the poster. Over the next few months we’ll release many new resources on our website and on this blog which support you with each of these elements of peer assessment.
What Went Well? – It’s a classic assessment idea. Ask your children to recognise what their peer did well in their work. Link it to the lesson objective and/or the child’s targets. It’s easy to spot the good features of someone else’s work, but avoid letting the children give little puppy dog comments (‘well done’, ‘good work’ etc).
Even better if… – A bit trickier. The assessor must think about what’s missing or what could’ve been added to make it even better. KS1 and lower KS2 children really struggle with this. Make sure you reiterate that it’s important they’re honest and fair. If they’re honest and fair their partner won’t be upset about anything they write.
Next Step: – This area will take some training. I would strongly advise you to set clear targets for each child and have them stuck in their book. I will blog about the best way to do this soon. After saying what’s great about the work and what would make the work better, now the peer needs to think about the next lesson and what their partner needs to do to improve their work or continue to make great progress.
This poster is just the start. Soon there will be loads of other Teaching Essentials resources to support your use of this poster and to promote great peer assessment, self assessment and target setting. Keep popping back to the blog for more resources.
Please comment and share this blog.
I thought it was time for a change to this blog. Gone are the short updates about the new Teaching Essentials resources.
Now this blog will be used to promote our new self assessment, peer assessment and target setting resources. However it’s not a marketing blog, I will provide you with in-depth information about how to use these new assessment tools. Each new resource will come with ideas of how to use them, occasional photos of them being used in a classroom, and more input about the role they play in your teaching.
Also along the way we will be bringing all the ideas together into one marking system, called 6Step Marking. It’s still in development, but will hopefully be very effective.
I hope you enjoy reading this blog and downloading our new resources.