Written Tasks – Baseline Assessments – works at all levels from Year 3 upwards. My lovely English departments in the Upper school did this every term for me – and marked it too. Having a thousand or so each term to mark is a daunting prospect
The “Newbury” Scale of measurement
Using this method of marking and recording your students written work. You will be able to note changes in the technical aspects of their written work.
The first piece of written work should be marked in this manner.
Allow 5 minutes for thinking about what to write. A free choice of subject is advisable. They can change topics if they run out of ideas on the
first topics – it’s all about “getting the words down”.
• Write for a timed period – 30 minutes works well.
• Pupils count the number of words they have written. and record this at the end of their work.
Award one mark for any error
for example :-
• one mark for every spelling mistake
• one mark for each missing or incorrectly placed capital letter
• Incorrect or missing punctuation
• Incorrect use of tenses
• Inappropriate or incorrect use of vocabulary
• and any other “technical” errors you wish to note
ONE WORD MAY GAIN A NUMBER OF INCORRECT MARKS – IT COULD BE INCORRECTLY SPELT, INAPPROPRIATELY USED, HAVE NO CAPITAL LETTER TO
START, HAVE A CAPITAL LETTER WRITTEN IN THE MIDDLE ETC.
• Divide the words written by the total number of errors to find your initial base line figure.
• This process should be repeated at the end of the year – each term – half term.
• You are looking for the number to rise.
500 words written – 100 mistakes = 500/100 = a score of 5
Next time 550 words written – 70 mistakes = 550/70 = 7.9
This will indicate if the basic mechanics of writing acceptable English are being absorbed.
This method can also be used to score directly for one skill only.
Or you can really go to town and use a different coloured pen for each skill area and produce separate scores for each area. Be warned – this takes hours to mark!
You may chose only to mark spelling/grammar/ etc.
Keep a record of how many words they can write in the given time – working out how many words they write each minute can be a salutary experience!
My students liked this assessment very much because it showed just how much their hard work had paid off. Learning to get the words down is a real skill. For GCSE you need to be aiming for 16 words per minute to fill one side of A4.
I hope you all find this as useful as I did.