Assessing Using ICT at Key Stage 3

Pupils’ skills in Using ICT should develop as they progress through Key Stage 3. Evidence of their competence will come from several activities carried out in subjects across the Areas of Learning.

When you plan for assessment, ensure that:

  • pupils have opportunities to apply their Using ICT skills and demonstrate what they can do in a range of curricular contexts;
  • pupils experience the breadth of ICT, covering the 5‘E’s (Explore, Express, Exchange, Evaluate and Exhibit).

Whole School Planning

To introduce coverage of the Cross-Curricular skill of Using ICT successfully, decisions need to be made at a whole-school level.

It is crucial to appoint someone to co-ordinate the assessment of Using ICT across the curriculum. This will enable you to ensure your school’s level portfolios for assessment are complete:

  • including evidence (electronic files) from a suitable range of planned assessment tasks;
  • including evidence from tasks carried out in different subjects; and
  • demonstrating what pupils can do across all 5‘E’s, taking into account that:
  • some of the ‘E’s may be covered several times in different tasks; and
  • some of the ‘E’s may be covered in some tasks but not others.

The co-ordinator’s role will include obtaining a complete picture of what evidence will come from which task.

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Departmental Planning

All subjects have a responsibility to ensure that pupils have opportunities to acquire and develop skills in Using ICT.

In addition, some subjects need to contribute to the assessment and reporting of Using ICT. Your whole-school planning should identify these.

At the departmental level, it is important to identify topics and activities that would be suitable as a focus for acquiring, developing and/or assessing Using ICT within schemes of work. For example, consider the following:

  • What Using ICT activities do we already plan to do?
  • At what level are they pitched?
  • Are they suitable to become the focus for an assessment task?

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Classroom/Lesson Planning

As a subject teacher, you may be considering questions such as these:

  • I've got an idea for an activity that features Using ICT: what hardware and software do I need?
  • I've been given a task to run in my department: what do I need to prepare?
  • How do I get my task approved by CCEA?
  • How and when do I plan to run the task?
  • What do I need to do about storing pupils' work?
  • How do I assess the level at which each pupil is working?

You may be able to use assessment tasks already developed by your department to assess your pupils, or you may be in a position to produce a task yourself. In either case, always consider your pupils’ prior learning in Using ICT.

Before running an assessment task;

  • Identify the software required,
  • find out the prior software experience of the pupils.
  • Provide time and opportunities for pupils to learn the skills and become familiar with the applications,
  • Ensure that the assessment task is differentiated to provide access to at least two levels.

Approved tasks have specific success criteria. These are customised versions of the statements in the Desirable Features for Using ICT. Customised success criteria will allow you to rate pupils’ work quickly in terms of the levels targeted within the task.

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Storing Work

Make sure all staff are aware of the need to retain files that will be used in the assessment of Using ICT. You need to guard against:

  • pupils accidentally or deliberately deleting work they are no longer comfortable with; and
  • staff deleting files to clear space in pupil accounts.

Teach and reinforce your pupils' good habits for file management, such as:

  • naming conventions;
  • controlling file sizes; and
  • using a range of media and locations to retain files.

It is safest to keep backup copies of pupil files that you may wish to submit at moderation. For example, using c2k for remote storage of backup copies of files

Working with Large Files

Activities that involve Working with Images, Working with Moving Images, Working with Sound and Music Technology can generate very large files. After pupils complete an activity, files need to be rendered in formats suitable for sharing. For example, they might compress large images by saving them as jpeg, and save music files as MP3.

Cross Curricular Using ICT Activities

CCEA have created context-free ICT learning, teaching and assessment activities for Key Stage 3 that can be included as part of whatever subject topic suits your scheme of work.

The activities guide you and your pupils through a plan, do, review process. They are differentiated so that all pupils have the opportunity to perform to the best of their ability.

To use ICT effectively, pupils need to know the technical tools available to them and to use those tools to realise their ideas successfully. Using ICT provides pupils with opportunities to develop and demonstrate their Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities.

These activities can be used to assess pupils' competence in Using ICT. These tasks have already been approved.

Quick guide to using the resources with your pupilsUICT Microsite