The Elements of Progression: threshold concepts meet mastery learning

Screenshot 2015-11-15 18.05.04

Last Saturday I was lucky to present at the first ResearchEd Literacy event in Swindon, organised by David Didau at the fantastic Swindon Academy. It was an exceptional day with some brilliant talks and a fabulous keynote by Ray Land on threshold concepts, sadly lost to posterity due to a technical problem. You will have to trust me, it was an exceptional introduction to the day!

I have been meaning to write my session up all week, but have not had the time to do so. Next week looks just as busy, so instead of waiting a couple more weeks, I am going to take the easy route and post my slides and a link to a recording of my session instead.

My accompanying slides

In many ways the content of my session was not entirely new: I have blogged here, here and here about our KS3 assessment model, and have also written two posts addressing the issue of threshold concepts in English here and here. Despite being relatively proud of these two posts, they are by far the least read efforts I have written. I guess, Miltonic Vision Part I: Trivium 21C, Threshold concepts and the power of ‘powerful knowledge’ was never going to really capture the imagination!

In the main my presentation summarised where we are with assessment as a department and indeed as a school, where the English model has been adopted by other subjects. It is certainly not a perfect model, and I am aware of some of the issues that will need to be amended in the future in order to increase both reliability and validity. What I do think, however, it that it is a much better, more purposeful means of assessing progress and driving up achievement than was ever the case with national curriculum levels.

A big, belated thank you to David Didau and Tom Bennett for putting together such a brilliant event, and to Ruth Robinson and Nick Wells for being so welcoming and well organised. It was a magnificent day.

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