How do you collect and show evidence of progress where no physical end result is (or even can be) produced by the learner?
This is a common challenge in any SEN setting, and one which is often compounded where learners have Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) and progress occurs in very small and subtle increments.
Wilson Stuart School (in Birmingham, UK) is one of many special schools around the world that are using the Evidence for Learning app to meet this challenge and improve the way they assess, track and collect evidence of learner progress…
“We would definitely recommend ‘Evidence for Learning’ to other schools. The flexibility it offers through frameworks and the reports that are produced create a comprehensive end-to-end process that most school staff should welcome.” Aron Davies (Strategic ICT Operations Manager,Wilson Stuart School (www.wilsonstuart.co.uk)
Observations, evidence, learning outcomes and assessment all in ONE handy PORTABLE place.
Teachers use the app on a daily basis throughout school and in PMLD it is now an essential part of their recording process.
“We set up a lesson, open the Evidence for Learning app… record photos for each learner, add a comment, and then link the evidence to the relevant statement in each learner’s personalised assessment framework.“
Elsewhere in the school, the staff is starting to use the app to evidence participation and add value to the existing photographic evidence that has been taken. This is done via the app’s capability to add comments and link to schemes of work, assessment criteria and targets. Evidence and assessments can be quickly collected and made either of individuals or groups of learners at the simple tap of a few buttons.
“We often had far too many photos and we would find it hard to locate the one that shows precisely what we need. The only way around this was to get the photos into a text document where they can be annotated and linked to work. However that is very time consuming and produces inconsistent reports.“
Tracking individualised outcomes and assessment criteria for each learner!
Often within any SEN setting, learners will be working towards an individualised set of attainment targets. In some cases these may incorporate learning outcomes from one of the common assessment frameworks such as EYFS or P-Scales; but often schools need to adapt these or create their own targets and descriptors to more precisely reflect the needs of the learner.
The ‘Evidence for Learning’ app will support ANY and MULTIPLE assessment framework(s).
Aron (ICT Operations Manager at Wilson Stuart School) had found another software product that would allow staff to easily collect evidence but unfortunately this was only specific to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), and the school needed a common solution that would allow staff to make use of it across the whole school. According to Aron…
“Evidence for Learning was easy to find as it is well named! We compared the Evidence for Learning app with a similar product that does the same thing for EYFS, and as Evidence for Learning supports pretty much any assessment framework it stood out as the more versatile and capable product.“
It has a Framework Library that contains an ‘open’ collection of education, curriculum, and assessment frameworks from all around the world. You can choose to use these pre-loaded assessment frameworks or follow a similar approach to Wilson Stuart School by adding your own custom frameworks to meet your exact needs.
“We have been able to import frameworks of our choosing very easily and find this feature to be essential now.“
Reporting and Planning
With dozens of observations and pieces of evidence being collected via the app each week, at any time teachers and school leaders can instantly generate profiling documents, work evidence files, or coverage grids to monitor progress either on an individual basis or looking at cohorts within the school.
Moreover, these documents and reports can used to share digital learning journals with parents and other stakeholders. They also provide evidence to support the conversations at parents’ evenings, observation evidence for assessment moderation purposes, and even to provide the invaluable information that can be sent to new schools when a child leaves.
“We regularly generate and email reports which are then printed and filed in pupil folders. We can then use the folders to show evidence internally, to Ofsted and to parents.“
About Wilson StuartWilson Stuart School is located in Perry Common, Erdington in the north of Birmingham, UK. It caters for 173 learners aged 2-25 years. Some learners have additional difficulties including sensory impairment, learning difficulties, communication difficulties or complex medical conditions. They have outstanding purpose built facilities and highly trained, enthusiastic and committed staff.
The nursery accommodates up to 12 children. They have separate Primary and Secondary Departments, with a sixth form programme supported by The Premier League and Aston Villa Football Club. They have a classroom at Aston Villa and students complete placements at the Club. September 2013 saw the launch of a vocational programme for students aged 19-25, which has been developed in partnership with University College Birmingham.