beginning teacher using the ARBs for formative assessment in English
Lia is a beginning teacher with
a Year 5 and 6 class in a low-decile multi-cultural school. She uses the Assessment
Resource Banks extensively in her instructional reading programme, particularly
with her top two groups. Lia has many students in her class who are reading
at or above their chronological age. Lia felt these students needed to be
challenged in their thinking, rather than just answering literal questions
about what they had read. “They needed more inference stuff so they
could be bringing in their experience and their knowledge.” They needed
probing questions that would encourage them to think about why they made the
inferences they did when reading, and to have opportunities to talk and write
about their thinking.
When planning her reading programme,
Lia searches the ARBs using the key words “inference” (an identified
need) and “school journal ” (as this is a resource readily available
in the school). “I then check out whether the resources are appropriate.
By that I mean for the age level of my kids and whether it’s what I’m
looking for in inference.” Lia considers the questions are more important
than the text itself and she will often select relatively easy texts if the
questions encourage high level processing.
Lia introduces the text to the
reading group and has a general discussion about it with them, asking questions
to focus students and to clarify potential difficulties. Students then read
the text on their own and answer the questions from the ARB that has been
selected. Initially Lia was taking the students’ responses home to mark
but found that they did not respond to her feedback, continuing to make similar
mistakes. She now calls the group back down to the mat after they have finished
their work. They re-cap the learning intention of the session, reflect on
their learning and “mark” the work together. Lia can very easily
identify any aspects the group is struggling with and these become the next
learning steps, informing Lia’s planning. In this way she is using the
ARBs both as a teaching resource and for formative assessment.
As a beginning teacher, Lia says
by using ARBs in her reading programme she is able to save time both in planning
and finding appropriate resources and can feel confident that the students
are being asked searching questions about their reading.
Using ARBs interactively
for reading comprehension
Caro and her middle school
students use ARBs to address particular reading comprehension needs. Knowing
that her students are good decoders, but need support with their reading strategies,
she uses the ARB English free-text search to find assessments that relate
to specific teaching and learning points. She then selects particular ARBs
that she thinks will appeal to students' interests, build on their prior knowledge,
and are at a level to either support, extend, or challenge her students.
Caro explains how she
uses ARBs with her reading groups:
'Using an ARB means that
students can individually interact with the text, because they have the hard
copy, and we can manipulate it. One of the ways we do this is by reading the
questions first, before even looking at the text, and use highlighters to
identify keywords in the questions. We might just read one question first,
underlining keywords, and then read only a part of the text, underlining the
bits that relate to the keywords. I have found this process helpful for my
students to be able to summarise text, as well as comprehend it. Their responses
indicate which individuals need extra support, so this feeds back into my
teaching, and their learning. My kids know their next learning steps as their
"learning points". They know what their learning points are for
reading, as they do for all other areas, be it curriculum or social behaviour
or whatever. So sometimes, knowing what their learning point is, a student
may use an ARB independently. Again, the alignment between their learning
point, the task purpose, and their responses, indicates whether they have
achieved what they set out to achieve.'
the ARBs when planning a science unit
The senior syndicate had
decided to study mammals. The teachers were keen to base the unit of work
on the BSC book, Mammals. They also wanted to explore what other resources
were readily available to support their teaching. The teachers were familiar
with using ARBs in their English programme but had not used them in science.
The teachers went into
the science resource bank. They clicked on BSC Links to ARBS. They used the
shortcuts menu to access the ARBs that link to the Mammals booklet.
group living things according to their evolutionary relationship.
For this topic there were
a lot of ARBs. Teachers were able to use them flexibly, for a range of purposes.
a Level 2 resource, lent itself to both introducing the topic and providing
diagnostic assessment information. Students are each given a card with an
animal on it. They find which other students have cards of animals belonging
to the same group as theirs. They then work together to identify the features
that characterise their group of animals. The co-operative nature of this
activity makes it accessible to students with varying degrees of background
knowledge. It also generates discussion and is likely to uncover existing
is an animation. Students work on-line putting animals into their correct
groups. Staff felt this interactive resource would provide additional support
for students with special needs.
looks at the platypus and which of its characteristics are typical and atypical
of mammals. This could be useful as an extension activity and a springboard
for individual research.
involves students reading Venn diagrams. It could provide useful support in
the development of skills in processing and interpreting information. LW0034
provides students with practice in these skills as they read a key to classify
different sorts of whales.
looks at the differences between fish and sea mammals. It asks students to
identify some of the characteristics of mammals. It could be a useful resource
for summative assessment at the end of the unit.
This planning session
reinforced the idea that assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning,
rather than a “tack on” at the end.
a year 4 science plan to cater for students who are new learners of English
year 4 class was studying the local river in science. The class teacher planned
this learning outcome for the class:
children will understand how humans influence our natural environment.
this particular class there were three students with limited English language.
The teacher was concerned about how she could make this learning outcome relevant
to these students.
the stated learning outcome, the focus of this unit of work for the whole
class needed to be on the relationships between things within an environment,
rather than on things in isolation. Any such study for young children should
start with relationships that can be directly observed.
students who are new learners of English it is especially important to feed
in the vocabulary that allows children to think about the relationships, rather
than just learning nouns. The vocabulary about relationships is important
because students need it in all sorts of contexts. The nouns are likely to
be specific to the subject being studied – in this case, the river. This focus
on relationships though also allows the teacher to reinforce this vocabulary
in every curriculum area and incidentally in class throughout the unit. This
gives students more opportunities to use their new vocabulary.
sort of vocabulary is it important to develop?
events is an example of showing relationships at a very early stage. (First,
then, next, after, last).
next stage could look at cause and effect relationships. At a very simple
level this would involve using the word “because”.
outcomes for this unit, for students with limited English, then could be:
children will use simple vocabulary relating to sequencing events.
children will use simple vocabulary relating to cause and effect.
these learning outcomes to be achieved it is important that these students
have opportunities to talk, read and write using the target vocabulary. The
objects in the relationships could be very familiar things. Sequencing pictures
and then talking about them would be helpful. At a very early stage students
might sequence just 2 pictures and say, “this is first, this is next”. Repetition
rewording the class’s learning outcome with a focus on the vocabulary of relationships
these children can be involved meaningfully in the class programme and be
working on their specific needs with little additional work for the classroom
secondary teacher's nature of science (NOS) experiences
following comment was written by Rose Gerven, a science and chemistry teacher
at Onslow College in Wellington. We’ve included it here because we are
in the process of shaping new ARB items that include NOS components. These
will be hyper-linked to the ScienceIS website that Rose talks about. You can
access it directly through the front page of the science community on TKI
was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to work with the contract team
developing NOS statements and activities, for the TKI website called Science
IS. It was a huge change from classroom teaching – 16 hours to thrash out
small details of what scientists do, and how that differs from classroom science.
Those 16 hours were built on the shoulders of others on a 7 year journey.
This stuff has been processed well.
a result, 19 short statements (plus supporting information) were developed
to support teachers – this NOS stuff is going to become a much bigger part
of our teaching.
found the process amazing. What amazed me more was how easy it was to integrate
this stuff into ordinary teaching.
1 with Year 13 science, doing a quick (?) summary of the world, the Universe
and everything. The student question is "Have we been there?" (galaxies).
The answer is no. "How do we know that scientists are right if they can’t
see it?" What a gift!
response went something along the lines of "Scientists turn their questions
into science ideas that can be investigated", "Scientists design
investigations to test their predictions", When an explanation correctly
predicts an event, confidence in the explanation as science knowledge is increased",
"Scientific explanations must withstand peer review before being accepted
as science knowledge", "Over time, the types of science knowledge
that are valued change" and so on.
34, Year 10 Science, last spell on a hot day. Everyone is tired and hanging
out for Easter – or the weekend – or even the end of the day. A video! Just
what we need to help us through. The topic is "Forces and Motion",
the video is …."If Earth Had No Moon". The link is tenuous but we
had talked about gravitational forces last week. The video is full of changed
theories of how the moon formed. A student says at the end "Why did we
watch that – the scientists keep changing their minds. They don’t know the
gift! My response included "All science knowledge is, in principle, subject
to change", New scientific ideas often meet opposition form other individuals
and groups", There may be more than one explanation for the results of
an investigation", "Scientists think critically about the results
of their investigations"… Before long the rest of the class were adding
in reasons why ideas change.
ideas and words are there. The statements don’t need to be quoted as written
(and they weren’t in the examples above), but they form a framework that helps
you leap from one idea to another. And as for all the differing explanations?
– well that is the nature of science.
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