Over the years I have tried many different ways to track student progress for both myself and the students. As a teacher I really like to have both a hard copy mark book as well as an electronic one that can do averages and colour coding for me. But when it comes to the students keeping track of their own progress and targets I have found it more difficult to find a method which they can easily update but also have to hand if they are asked by someone other then me what their target grade is and what they currently working at.
Over the years I have tried stickers in books, feedback sheets with space for AfL on them which students keep in folders, tracking graphs you name it, but nothing really seemed to be effective. Especially during observations when students are asked for this information about themselves and they look blankly at said observer as through they are talking a foreign language. I think it is slightly easier to do in Key Stage 4 or 5 because the students seem acutely aware of their progress and what grades they got on their last piece of work, however with Key Stage 3 it is more difficult, or at least I have found it more difficult.
So in another attempt at trying to get students to take ownership of their learning I have created an assessment tracking booklet. Now in my current place of work we have between 5 and 6 formal assessment tasks a year in Key Stage 3. By this I mean pieces of work which are not just levelled according to National Curriculum Levels but levels are recorded in a departmental mark book (as well as the Teachers), the assessments are retained by the department (just in case Ofsted comes in) and they are used for target setting.
I am going to use History as my example here as that is the booklet I have uploaded to the Box.net account. In history, at my current school, we have an assessment focus for year 7 and year 8. In year 7 we are looking at essay writing skills and skills of analysis and evaluation. In Year 8 we focus more in Source work and the interpretation and evaluation of sources. This works really well with the A4L and target setting as the students will have the same sort of assessment throughout the year so will be able to show progress in those areas.
The booklet it self contains an initial target setting grid that the students fill in a the the beginning of the year. I have 3 targets here; 1 for behaviour, 1 for skills and 1 for knowledge; and I make sure that the students use SMART when creating these targets. The first page also has the tracking bar graph which the students colour in after each assessment so that they can see very quickly how they are improving or not as the case maybe.
After this are the AfL tables where the students fill in the information on what they achieved as well as identifying two things that they did well (2 STARS) and a target (WISH) for next time. Although I do write comments on their work I think it is important for the students to identify what they did well and how they are going to improve in order for them to take ownership of their learning. This also means that you are giving the students the time to absorb what you are saying and advising them rather then just looking at their achieved grades and leaving it at that.
I have printed the booklets off so they are just under A5 size so that they will fit nicely on the back page of the students exercise books. That way they are to hand for both the students and any observers that come round.
These lovely booklets seem to be working at the moment but only time will tell and of course I will let you know how I get on.