KS3 baseline…

Hiding from the heat I’ve been trying to get to grips with the new Key Stage 3 levels, I’ve produced a baseline to encourage extended answers (2mb doc). We already do a place baseline, I’d be grateful for any feedback.

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  1. Jo Blackmore
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Hello Tony

    What a fantastic baseline activity! It has given me some much needed inspiration to work on the new KS3 levels! I think I’d be tempted to add ‘Explain your answer in as much detail as you can’ to the extended pieces to avoid the one word answer, until students have been better ‘trained’ to always explain their answer. I love the inclusion of the wind farms/energy issues. Your resources always look so professional. Thank you for sharing this baseline. No doubt it will be appearing in many a classroom at the start of September!

  2. Tony_Cassidy
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Jo, I agree with you about the ‘explain your answer in as much details as you can’. I was also worried about the spaces for answers and whether this would scare some students.

    The one area I don’t think it covers is human and physical processes, I was going to add these to the annotating the photos task, but I knew for our cohort that it would be pointless because they usually have little grasp of Geography. I suppose it defeats the point really. What do you think?

  3. Jo Blackmore
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Well, I did wonder whether to run this after the first ‘what is geography?’ lesson. That way, I can check their learning from the first lesson and how easily they grasp new ideas. But then it would defeat the point of a baseline, as it then starts to resemble a test. Unless they actually have a keywords box? That way you could see how easily they understand keywords and can relate them to an image. The weakest will just label the people on the seafront, and the more able will be able to label the pavements, buildings etc.

    I am starting at a new school from Sept and have a Year 7 Set 5 (an SEN class of approximately 12 students). It will be interesting to see how they cope, but I think it will be the ideal way to get the measure of them! I have only taught mixed ability to date. I will ask the other Geography teachers to run the baseline, so will be able to give you further feedback after the event.

  4. Tony_Cassidy
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    I agree, there is a balance to have. I want a measure of their previous geographical understanding, whether from school or their life experiences, but I don’t want to demotivate them at the beginning. I try to be quite light hearted with my approach.

    Thanks Jo, I appreciate your feedback. I have always found teaching SEN students an opportunity to be more creative in your approach, you gain so much.

  5. Pauline Wright
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Hi Tony
    Thanks for this. It gives lots of food for thought. Just a couple of points – I like the way you have indicated where your pictures and images have come from. This is something we all should be doing and it flags up to the students the issue of copyright and acknowledging sources from Day 1.
    Knowing my Year 6s handwriting I think they would find the line width just a bit too close together. Lower ability children might find the large amount of writing space quite intimidating. Alternatively blank page with some bullet points For the same reason on the picture question about Llandudno I think you might need a bit more white space around the edge.

  6. Tony_Cassidy
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    Hi Pauline,

    Thanks for the comment about the line width, I tend to be paperless at home, so haven’t printed out a copy. I’m wondering about whether to remove these and just have a set of questions, then an individual sheet for the photo task.

    I’m also going to produce a PowerPoint to support the task, basically some of the images at a larger scale.

    The photo task, both of which are my own, was two different images on separate pages, but I wondered whether this was wasting paper.

    It is interesting you speaking about handwriting. I also wanted to produce an extended writing task with just one question that students can take away to do. There has been a lot of debate about how students’ quality of writing declines with transition from primary school, it was lead to some discussion about students having a copy of their best writing included within their organiser to act as a reference.

    Kind regards

  7. Lindy
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Great stuff! I agree with Jo that it would be great after – what is geography?

  8. Helen
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Tony I am really impressed with what you have produced. I like the range of questions which should mean all students can at least do something without being threatened.I think the mark scheme is extremely clear and helpful. Tony can I ask what you think about subdividing the levels? I know they weren’t designed for this but I guess most schools are doing this to try and show progress. Are you in the same boat?

  9. Tony_Cassidy
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 11:38 am | Permalink


    Oooh, its difficult Helen. The problem is with the levels themselves and I’m disappointed that they haven’t been tackled and made more user-friendly. But on the other hand I wouldn’t like to use a outcomes description tick sheet, which would then potentially limit the content we could deliver.

    We have never been asked to subdivide levels, which I believe is wrong, but for this assessment I wanted to try and relate each individual question to a level related judgement, by looking at different strands. From a personal perspective it has also allowed me to become familiar with the levels, i.e. level 4 being able to spot the feature, level 5 being able to describe the processes…

    In terms of the baseline we, and the students/parents, need a judgement of which step of the stairs they are own, we can then think about the necessary steps to help them progress. I think that much is gut instinct, but perhaps that is professional judgement with experience.

    I don’t subscribe to assessments like this providing a summative judgement of success, but rather they are part of a formative process that will ultimately lead to a formal judgement at the end of Key Stage 3.

    Don’t know if that makes sense. 😉

  10. Alan
    Posted August 31, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    I really like your assesment materials. up until now i have not used any form of baseline assesment in year 7 which i know is criminal!
    How long a period would you give pupils to sit this assesment and how would you give feedback?

  11. Tony_Cassidy
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Usually give a lesson, then feedback through the usual means- cheers

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