It’s all about the Learning

St Joseph’s College,
Before AFL
• Dublin school
• All-girls’ Catholic Secondary
• 900 students
• 66 Staff
• Mix academic, cultural &
• 39 nationalities
• 2012 school at a crossroads
in planning
• Evaluated life in the school
through questionnaire
• All unhappy with student
learning and their lack of
responsibility to it
• Teachers felt they were
doing all the work
• What do I want the students to learn?
• How am I going to get them to learn?
• How can I get them to improve their learning?
• How am I going to assess their learning?
Curriculum – broad based
Do I value only memory?
What about the Key Skills?
Holistic student?
Information &
Working with
Staying Well
Being Creative
They help the learner develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to face
the many challenges in today’s world. They also support students in
learning how to learn & take responsibility for their own learning
What do you want YOUR
students to learn?
Enables teachers and students to focus on three
key questions 1. Where are students now in their learning?
2. Where are students going in their learning?
3. How will students get to the next point in
their learning?
NCCA Assessment Guidelines p9.
AFL Process
Learning Intention and Quality Criteria are the
foundation stones
‘If learners are to take more responsibility for their own learning,
then they need to know what they are going to learn, how they will
recognise when they have succeeded and why they should learn it in
the first place.’
(An Intro to AfL, Learning Unlimited, 2004)
‘What’ and ‘Why’
Features of quality
‘How to recognise success’
Introduced AFL & Key Skills
1. Quality Criteria
2. Learning dialogue
3. Feedback – Two Stars and a Wish/Traffic Lights
4. Peer and self assessment
5. Evidence of improved learning – Learning Log
6. Learning Boot camp
Character Question
Romeo and Juliet
Underline the keywords in the question
Brainstorm ideas thinking of the main qualities of the character
Plan the essay into 5-6 paragraphs
Write an Introduction. In the introduction I must refer to the keywords in
the question, name the play and author using the correct spelling and
capitals. I must outline what I am going to talk about in the essay.
Put every new idea into a new paragraph referring to the keywords in
Add in suitable quotes and examples from the play to back up my points
Write a concluding paragraph referring back to the keywords in the
question and summarise what were tha main points of the essay
Check for spelling, grammar and punctuation
I must not tell the story
• Quality Criteria act as scaffolding for learning
& Key Skills
I have written at least 2A4 pages.
I have appealed to all five senses.
I have used a variety of rich and interesting adjectives.
I have used similes, metaphors or vivid images.
I have used onomatopoeia to describe sounds.
I have divided my text into paragraphs.
Each paragraph clearly deals with a separate point.
I have written complete, grammatical sentences.
I have used capitals at the start of a sentence.
I have used commas and full stops to show where a sentence
11. My spellings are mostly correct.
Jig saw
Murder Hunt
Verbal tennis
Hot seating
Circus time
Role play
• The Teacher’s Toolkit by Paul Ginnis
• All these methodologies lead to learning dialogue
between the students and the teacher
• The teacher adapts her lesson to meet the
learning concerns – Traffic Lights
• Building a growth mindset
• Changes the pupil-teacher
The main goal of feedback is to reduce the gap
between the current understanding and
performance and a goal. (Hattie)
The only good feedback is feedback that is acted
upon. The relationship between the student and
teacher is paramount.
• Helpful
• Immediate
• The process understood
• Students actively involved
• Dialogue between learner
and teacher
1. Feed Up – Where am I going? What are the
2. Feedback – How am I going? What progress
is being made towards the goals?
3. Feed Forward – Where to next? What
activities need to be undertaken to make
better progress?
Break assignment into stages
Provisional grade – oral dialogue
Withhold the grade – comment only
Peer assessment
Self assessment
Group work on feedback comments
Oral Feedback
Staggering feedback
• Two Stars and a Wish - Handout
• Teacher corrects using “Two stars and a Wish”.
• Peer and Self Assessment
• Offers exemplars of work
• Comment only marking for First Years
• Conversational marking
• No personal comments – we kept to the task
Show Me Boards – teacher can assess whole class
Wait time
No hands up
Drafting and redrafting
Hard on content, soft on people
• Growth Mind set & Key Skills
Students set and
complete learning
Students recognise
what went well
Students recognise
what needs improvement
• What I need to do?
• What went well?
• What needs improvement?
• What is my learning goal?
Joey’s Boot Camp
Time to get tough with our 6 steps to
achieving your goals!
• A proper learning ‘workout’ helps you achieve
your specific learning goals
• With a well-thought-out plan it’s easy to create
effective learning
• Have you got the right ‘gear’ for class?
• The right ‘gear’ consists of all the books,
copies, etc. you will need for each class
• So be prepared, you cannot do a proper
learning ‘workout’ without the right gear!
Warm up
• Are you ready to learn?
• A good warm up routine helps you to concentrate
on the learning to come
• Warm up routines vary in each class but generally
involve roll call, getting books out, correcting
homework, recalling the work of a previous class
Core Learning Exercises
• Focus and Listen to your instructor (teacher)
• Do you know what you are about to learn in
this lesson? – Learning Intention
• Do you know what you are to do during the
lesson? – Success Criteria
High-Intensity Learning
• Are you actively engaging in and learning from
the lesson?
• Are you adding to the lesson by sharing prior
knowledge or asking pertinent questions?
• Are you fully partaking in class discussion and
• Revision refreshes & hydrates your mind
• Did you take notes during and after the
• Did you go over and learn those notes?
• Did you do your homework to practice what
you learned?
Cool Down Routine
How have you done so far? – Self Evaluation
What are your learning strengths?
Are you achieving your learning targets?
What areas of your learning do you need to
improve to reach your learning targets?
• Deskercise (revision) every weekend is the perfect
cool down routine!
Do our assessment practices give students
enough feedback and targets for improvement?
Do they encourage continuous hard work and
responsibility from the student?
Are they consistent across all subjects?
• Christmas Exams
Term Exams in November
• Class tests
Ongoing Assessment
20% Juniors/30% Seniors
Task criteria given
• Revision list of chapters
• Report with
Report with Learning
advice and literacy
• See handout in file
100% for on-going assessment
Use of Distinction, Merit, Pass, Not Working...
100% for Term Exams
Students not taking assignments seriously unless
they were on-going assessment grades
• Fear of inflating the marks when combined at
Senior level
• Gives greater flexibility to teacher
• Each Subject department decides common
• Change in the culture of the school to one of
learning and teaching
• 86% students say they now are more responsible
for their learning
• Students working harder
• Grades have improved
• Students staying at Higher Level
• Student collaboration building better
relationships with each other
• Parents have agreed it helps with study habits
More collaborative & culture of planning
Awareness of the need for CPD
Teacher’s role in the classroom has
ICT helped with collaboration
Hard work needed to integrate AFL & Key
Teachers are asked to be progressive,
professional and pioneering.
Working smarter not longer
• Stress levels were initially
very high for students and
• Quality criteria and class
planning takes a lot of time
• Teachers unsure of how to
give effective feedback
• Assessment is complex
Learning Pauses
ICT – sharing and collaboration
Croke Park hours are very subject based
Lots of CPD from outside and inside. Staff doing
CPD on-line
Health flag – staff well being
MLL gave us all a positive lift
SSE helps us to see if there is progress
Evaluating and tweaking
How do we know we have improved learning?
Tracking literacy and numeracy
Showed above the national average
Questionnaires and Focus group interviews
Noted students who needed assessments and
extra help with learning
• Found lack of consistency in correcting exam
papers and need for moderation
Knows their learning strengths
Believes in a growth mind set
Values collaboration and working with others
ICT competent
Stays confident and well
Peer and self evaluation is a natural process
Communicates with ease and confidence
Finds meaning and purpose in life
Skilled at thinking for themselves in a creative
Where are you on the path?

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