iCompute’s Computing Assessment Tests and Tasks – designed to complement our comprehensive Primary Computing Schemes of Work and existing assessment toolkit – will be out soon.
Developed by our author – a computer scientist and primary computer science master teacher – the tasks and tests support schools in accurately assessing attainment, pupil progress and target setting in primary computing.
Our assessment toolkit is aligned to the Computing At Schools Progression Pathways colourways, but starts from the EYFS, contains much more detail and is matched to the National Curriculum for Computing at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
For each iCompute unit in your chosen year group, we have produced an associated end of unit diagnostic test and an end of unit assessment project. Diagnostic testing assists progression planning and helps identify gaps and/or misconceptions. The end of unit assessment projects enable teachers to check skills in computing and computational thinking. The provided answers and assessment guidance informs assessment judgements and can be fed into our interactive digital pupil progress trackers.
Our diagnostic tests match the National Curriculum for Computing at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. They are divided into iCompute units and are intended for use following each unit to assess pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills.
Our interactive, fun, quizzes are played online and bring a gamification aspect to assessment. Aside from being a powerful tool in measuring pupil progress, they also help increase engagement, motivation and encourage children to challenge themselves.
Further to my previous post on assessing primary computing I’ve been working on the primary computing assessment toolkit for iCompute. Along with the end of unit assessment guidance, new-look computing pupil progress trackers have been updated for each year group. This also now includes the Early Years Foundation Stage and revised P-Scales for computing to reflect the addition of our EYFS Computing pack and to support inclusion, computing and SEN.
Download a guide
We’ve also added a Quick Look Computing Skills Progression Grid to use alongside the other guidance and tools.
Computing Skills Progression
Coming soon is our whole-school primary computing assessment tests and tasks. Online diagnostic tests and end-of-unit assessment tasks that feed directly into our pupil progress trackers within the primary computing assessment toolkit.
Click to download a sample from our main website
Existing iCompute schools can access the full toolkit by logging in to our main website at www.icompute-uk.com Our Assessment Tests and Tasks pack will be an optional extra.
Assessment presents particular challenges for computing and many schools have not yet addressed how to accurately assess pupil progress and provide evidence of it. Let’s see what David Brown, HMI Ofsted’s National Lead for Computing, has to say about computing in schools.
Mr Brown’s message is overwhelmingly that of outcomes with no specific advice about how to achieve them. Having taught Computing in primary schools since 2013, I have found that the time required to cover the programmes of study for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 is one hour of computing each week for Years 1-6, coupled with cross-curricular work to practise and consolidate skills in other subjects.
Assessment can be particularly daunting for teachers of computing as traditional methods of marking and feedback are a challenge given its digital nature. A range of assessment strategies are therefore necessary, with discussion and questioning being key. To support evidence of progression, I use a variety of methods and tools. I maintain an e-Portfolio for each of my pupils on the school network where they store digital work using version numbering and dating, this allows me (and anyone else) to track the progress they have made more easily. I also update iCompute’s pupil progress trackers (forming part of our assessment toolkit) after each unit of work. Feedback is face-to-face, in writing for worksheet activities and by video or online where appropriate in the form of commenting. Examples of this are with Scratch where I insert comments next to the children’s blocks of code and in Microsoft Kodu where I edit the project descriptions to provide feedback and suggest next steps.
Self and peer assessment is hugely beneficial to pupils providing an opportunity to reflect on work, learn from mistakes and evaluate for improvement. Recording audio can be particularly good for these forms of assessment where projects can be described in detail in terms of their design, functionality, problem solving and potential future improvements as they are being developed and/or used. The audio can be embedded within the project and ‘hidden’ so as not to interfere or distract from the core project by programming playback to happen on a given key stroke or button press which is commented in to the code – see screenshot.
Record audio or video screencasts for self-assessment in computing
Potentially one of the most powerful tools for assessment in computing is engaging our modern digital citizens in creating screencasts – combining images, audio and text into video.
Research indicates that by making learning visual and documenting thinking through screencasting pupils more naturally engage in self-assessment.
Even when recordings are made without any intended audience and in the absence of any prompting, pupils automatically listen back to themselves, reflect, assess and adjust.
This promising tool could be used to further develop IT and digital literacy skills whilst also engaging pupils in the assessment process by editing screencasts for an intended audience with audio and creating visual effects such as captioning. They could then be uploaded to individual or class blogs, using categories and tags mapped to the appropriate strand of the National Curriculum for Computing, as evidence of learning or saved as a video file for storage on file servers either at school or in the Cloud. Similarly, teachers could use screencasts to provide audio/visual pupil feedback by recording when reviewing work. The screencasts could be cross-referenced against a project and uploaded into the pupil’s e-Portfolio. Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is the best free screencasting software currently available.
Whilst evidence of progression and attainment can be more of a challenge for computing than for some other subjects, addressing how it can be achieved presents an excellent opportunity to rethink how we assess our pupils. We teachers can use what we learn about assessing children’s learning in technology to move our assessment strategies forward and fully embrace the advantages assessing with technology offer.