School of Education An evaluation of the collaboration

School of Education An evaluation of the collaboration

School of Education An evaluation of the collaboration between Mathematics and Science ITE tutors in developing teaching strategies to support their students with M level writing Maarten Tas and Sue Forsythe www.le.ac.uk Overview Introduction Aim Extra support for Mathematics and Science PGCE Students (UA1 and UA2) Methods Results Conclusions Recommendations Introduction

In 2007-2008 the proportion of Mathematics and Science PGCE students at the University of Leicester being successful in writing assignments at Masters level was worryingly lower than the whole cohort of Secondary PGCE students. In 2008-2009 an extra programme of support for Mathematics and Science was put in place, in particular peer assessment of a synopsis for the second assignment, resulting in a much higher percentage. Subject All secondary PGCE subjects Mathematics Science No. of students achieving Masters 2007-2008 2008-2009 126/152 (83%)

131/142 (92%) 5/11 (45%) 14/19 (74%) 22/38 (59%) 28/34 (82%) Aim for 2009-10 For the Mathematics and Science Tutors to work collaboratively supporting the Mathematics and Science Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) students at the University of Leicester, leading to an even higher proportion gaining Masters level credits.

Extra support for Mathematics and Science PGCE Students (assignment 1 Support for Mathematics UA1) Support for Science students students Subject session on writing a practice assignment, Harvard style of referencing and introducing a mark scheme Critical Review Library session Peer marking the practice assignment Session on structuring assignment and marking exemplar assignments using level descriptors and mark scheme

Peer conversation following on from the peer marking Twilight session with tutor in December University tutor feedback on the practice assignment Session with university student support staff on writing skills Title: Extra support for Mathematics and Science PGCE Students (UA2) Peer assessment of the synopsis and tutor feedback using the following framework: Content Introduction Focus

Why questions What questions How questions Outline of some learning and teaching strategies Literature To be added Not needed Other comments Methods Questionnaire after submitting UA1: Mathematics n=29 Science n=37 Questionnaire after the support session for UA2,

comparing the attitudes of current students and cohorts from the previous year: 2008-2009 Mathematics and Science n=33 2009-2010 Mathematics and Science n=41 Interviews with PGCE students Mathematics n=4 Science n=6 Student feedback on the support for UA1 The Mathematics and Science students received different forms of support and therefore the questionnaires addressed different foci. However, through this collaboration clear needs and direction can be identified. Mathematics

Results of questionnaire on support for UA1 n=29 Support strategy Helpful Not helpful Subject session on writing the assignment 27 2 Writing the practice assignment Whole course session on writing the assignment 27 11 2 18

Seeing the markscheme Marking the practice assignment of another student 27 22 2 7 Getting oral feedback from another student on your practice assignment 18 11 University tutor feedback on the practice assignment 26

3 Exemplar assignments on Blackboard 20 10 The peer conversations about the assignment 15 14 Help from university tutor 26 3 Some issues raised by the Mathematic

students: Wanted more tutor feedback on practice assignments There was not enough advice on how to structure the assignment Wanted more direct input on locating research material Science Results of questionnaire on support for UA1 n=37 Support strategy Helpful Not helpful Whole course session 1 Research/writing at Masters level 19

18 Whole course session 2 in mixed groups 17 20 Critical Review Library session 27 10 Session on structuring assignment and marking exemplar assignments using level descriptors 37 0

Twilight session with tutor in December 31 6 Session with student support staff (individual and/or group work) 11 0 Exemplar Assignments and other info on VLE 33 4 Handbook for Writing Assignments

32 5 Individual support from tutor 37 0 Some issues raised by the Science students Twilight session; good to know others were in the same boat Whole course session needs to be optional (2) Did not ask for any individual tutor support Handbook; more detail needed for requirement at each level Some kind of feedback on draft assignment would be helpful to know whether on track (2) One-on-one very useful, but needed more

Suggestions for further support Extra tutorial in Marking more Peer marking a practice (Science) small groups n=16 An extra workshop on professional writing in TDC n=0 exemplar assignment (to check the assignments using referencing and academic the marking criteria writing for Social Sciences) and level descriptors n=8 n=13 Opportunity to read

the work of your peers n=11 Other suggestions: -Time management seminar -Extra individual tutorials I didnt find this assignment aided my teaching in any way and provided lots of stress and extra work at a time when all I wanted to focus on was my classroom persona and ability to teach This is a comment by a student; How do we address this and make it relevant to their training? Conclusions Sessions in subject specific groups are more valued than the whole course sessions

Individual support from tutor is more valued than support from peers Students need more training for being peer assessors Writing and assessment of the practice assignment in Mathematics was successful A session on structuring the assignment and marking exemplar assignments using level descriptors in Science was successful The Mathematics and Science students identified needs which were fulfilled in the support strategies in the other subject. Recommendations for UA1 support in 2010-2011 Session 1: On the structure of an M level assignment, including referencing; The marking of exemplar assignments using the mark scheme and level descriptors; Homework to write a practice assignment. Session 2: Peer review of the practice assignments on

Assessment for Learning (AfL) Session 3: Students bring in a one page draft (either written or diagrammatic) for Learning Conversations in small groups Individual tutorials Support for UA2 Results of questionnaire on verbal and written feedback on the synopsis by fellow students . Was this feedback worthwhile in your opinion? YES NO 2008-9

85 15 2009-10 80 20 Results of questionnaire on verbal and written feedback on the synopsis by tutor. YES NO Was this feedback worthwhile in your opinion? 2008-9 88

12 2009-10 90 10 Improvements suggested by students More discussion with more peers (4) Longer time given to read and assess synopsis (2) More feedback from course tutor (11) Do synopsis earlier (2) More help on understanding grid (2) Help on how to write a synopsis (6) Peer marking others work who is working on a similar topic (3) Other support reported useful

Blackboard material (4) Support from the librarian (3) Brainstorming ideas in an earlier session (2) Previous assignment feedback (1) Time spent on discussion on requirements (2) Finding another peer who worked on a similar topic (1) Example outline (1) Guidance from handbooks (1) Marking grid (1) Other issues raised Peer assessment didnt give any new ideas (1) Blind leading the blind for peer assessment (1) It (peer assessment strategy) brought the assessment into focus which was useful in planning (1)

Good exercise, very useful (peer assessment strategy) (1) Some good interactive debates would be good (1) Conclusion The questionnaire should have focused more on the relevance, perception and ideas about learning conversations rather than asking about the written feedback of the peer-assessment exercise. The main points raised in the interviews (1) (Mathematics n=4; Science n=6) Focus: Students learnt from their experience of writing UA1 and put this in place for UA2 Most students decided earlier on their focus Having to write the synopsis was helpful Peer assessment exercise:

Some students said the process was only helpful if the peers they were working with had the skills to be able to give good feedback and ideas In the Science group it was mentioned that it would be useful to work with peers who write about the same topic The main points raised in the interviews (2) (Mathematics n=4; Science n=6) Other support: The value of the tutors input, the help of the university library staff and the marking of exemplar assignments using the mark scheme with level descriptors were mentioned Suggestions for extra support: More one-on-one tutorials and unstructured discussion with their peers were mentioned

Discussion Students need to have good skills for self-assessment and peerassessment to make learning conversations productive The developed skills of peer assessment in our students can be transferred to their own classroom teaching and learning environment Bibliography

Black, P. and Wiliam, D.(1998) 'Assessment and Classroom Learning', Assessment in Education:Principles, Policy & Practice, 5: 1, 7 74 Bloxham, S. and West, A. (2004) Understanding the rules of the game: marking peer assessment as a medium for developing studentsconceptions of assessment, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 29: 6, 721-733 Elwood, Jannette andKlenowski, Val(2002) 'Creating Communities of Shared Practice: the challenges of assessment use in learning and teaching', Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 27: 3, 243 256 Minjeong, K. (2009) The Impact of an Elaborated Assessees Role in Peer Assessment, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 34 : 1,105-114 Norton, L (2009) Assessing student learning, in S. Fry, S. Ketteridge and S. Marshall (eds) A Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Enhancing Academic Practice. 3 rd Edition (New York and London, Routledge: 141) Rust, C., Price, M., and O'Donovan, B. (2003) 'Improving Students' Learning by Developing their Understanding of Assessment Criteria and Processes', Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 28 : 2, 147 -164

Sluijsmans, J., Brand-Gruwl. S., van Merriemboer, J.G., and Bastiaens, T.J. (2003) The Training of Peer assessment Skills to Promote the Development of Reflection Skills in Teacher education, Studies in Educational Evaluation, 29, 23-42 Smyth, Karen (2004) The benefits of students learning about critical evaluation rather than being summatively judged, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 29: 3, 370 -378 Taras, Maddalena(2010) 'Student self-assessment: processes and consequences', Teaching in Higher Education, 15: 2, 199 209 Topping, K.J., Smith, E.F., Swanson, I. and Elliot, A. (2000) Formative Peer Assessment of Academic Writing between Postgraduate students, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 25: 2,149 169

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