Truly formative assessment - the role of "next steps" as part of the assessment cycle

by Jodie Lopez

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I have been working with assessment for a few years now and have made the move from levels to no levels/pseudo levels and new tests and all the other red tape that follows. Systems have made adjustments of course but Kinteract is the first system I have seen that puts “Next Steps” so firmly in the mix alongside observations and assessments. We talk a lot now about assessment as part of the teaching and learning cycle and that is key - that assessment is acted upon. So next steps form a really vital part of that.

I know that teachers know this and add next steps to pupil books all the time, or build it into lesson plans specifically. But what Kinteract allows you to do is share next steps really clearly and easily with pupils and parents via the app. When you are doing an observation or have evidenced learning via photos or videos then next steps are really easily added alongside that evidence and make up a vital part of a pupil’s learning journey, or timeline.

You can also use hashtags to tag next steps and filter them which I think would save me a lot of time in lesson planning! “Who needed to work on #tellingtimeanalogue?” Simply search the hashtag and I can find all the pupils with a related #tellingtimeanalogue comment! Simple! Then I can group those pupils on my plan or hand that to my teaching assistant for a focus group. Assessment suddenly becomes easy to use in planning and focus groups.

I could choose to tag groups too. “#Red group worked on whole numbers to 3 digits and need to work next on 4 digits” and then I can search for #red to easily find the comments relating to their work and a reminder of who was in the group, which makes it much easier to look back if groups are fluid throughout the year.

I can filter my search for hashtags, specific pupils, classes, and can also quickly see via the drop-down dashboard, how many next steps are outstanding. You can add as many, or as few, as you wish. Then you can feel the satisfaction of ticking them all off when completed. For teachers, who only ever seem to have a growing to-do list, it isn’t often we get to clear a load of our list so visually and easily.

The key here is also that these are shared with parents and pupils so they can see, and take ownership of, their own learning and next steps. Often we tell pupils where they are at - results of a test  for example - without offering them much follow up they can do immediately from home. This varies by subject and key stage, of course, but Kinteract makes it really simple for anyone to give next steps pupils can act on themselves and feed back on. Not just in books or on paper (fine for traditional core subjects maybe) but via documents, photos, videos and more - ideal for the arts, humanities, MFL and PE!

You can also use Next Steps boxes to add homework, reminders and share key documents - maybe the PowerPoint or worksheets from the lesson - so that resources can be used again at revision time of year. Never again will we hear “the dog ate the sheet” or “I forgot to write it in my planner” or “I forgot what you said in class”! A simple hashtag you create can also help you track similar homework or notices and group them together at any time.

If you are already thinking about ways you could build Next Steps into the online portfolios of pupils at your school, get in touch to arrange a demo.