As you know, Taith360 was initially developed with input from school leaders across Wales, and the majority of features added since it was first released have come from further conversations had with such individuals. This latest development is no different.
Initially, Taith360 was built using the published descriptions of learning provided by Welsh Government for use in schools. We used these because
The descriptions of learning are included on Taith360 to help inform learning and teaching, signposting pupil strengths and areas for development. They are not intended to be used simply as a checklist, or a series of criteria to be assessed against to arrive at a best-fit judgement. Using it as a tick box exercise to produce data should be avoided, as this is not a useful/meaningful use of teacher time and has no benefit for the pupils in their care.
The system has always been aimed at using any data collected in a formative manner, ensuring that planning will always cater for each individual pupil’s needs. One of our previous blog posts goes into more detail about this: https://assessment360.org/2022/06/21/taith360-is-it-the-new-incerts-dispelling-the-myth/)
However, as you will have seen, Taith360 is continually developing and improving, and as the previous quote points out, although the descriptions of learning ‘provide guidance’ which is extremely useful, it is not necessarily expected that the published descriptions be used as the sole basis for assessment. This goes hand in hand with our aim that the system be used as an additional method of signposting where the focus may need to be for each individual pupil.
Elsewhere in the Curriculum for Wales documentation, it states that schools
To this end, over the Summer 2023 break, we have added functionality to Taith360 to enable schools to completely re-write their assessment frameworks. This could be as little as simply tweaking the wording of a few descriptions of learning here and there to make them more pupil/parent/teacher friendly, right up to a complete overhaul of the assessment framework, starting from scratch.
But where should you start?
First off, it is worth pointing out that you don’t necessarily need to do anything at all. You can choose to stick with the descriptions of learning on the system, if you feel that they are appropriate to the needs and development of your pupils. But if you do want to make some changes, here are a few examples of how you could approach it.
At the easier end of the spectrum, you could start with the descriptions of learning already on the system and modify them to make them work for your setting. This could involve changing the wording of some, adding in some you think that are missing, removing any that don’t feel appropriate. And, of course, you can leave some as they are – if they fit your needs, there is no need to throw out the baby with the bath water!
You may, however, wish to make more fundamental changes, such as changing how the Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLEs) are displayed. So, this could be splitting out Expressive Arts or Humanities into their component parts (Art, Music and Drama, or History, Geography and R.E.) or it could be that you wish to add in completely new areas for assessment, which don’t currently seem to fit within the existing AoLEs but are necessary for your setting.
Of course, you may wish to go all out with this, and change everything. You will still want to stick with the existing AoLEs and the Statements of What Matter, as these are statutory, but within these you can start from scratch and write your own assessment descriptors to meet the needs of your school/cluster.
The way forward…
If you wish to do any of this, please get in touch with us, and we will be here to help you with it. You should be aware that, if you do change your assessment frameworks in this way, you will be starting from scratch with the assessments showing on the system. This means that all assessments recorded up to now against the existing descriptions of learning will no longer show on your Taith360, and any plans made for the descriptions of learning for this academic year will no longer be valid. None of this information will be lost as it will still be in our database, but it won’t show on your system as the frameworks will have been replaced with whatever you have added to the system.
Already started planning and tracking this year?
In that case, this may be something that you want to work towards for the future. Naturally, this won’t be a small piece of work for your school, and it is advisable that you consider the timings of making this change, for example the start of the academic year might be better than switching things around mid-way through the year, losing any progress that had been made up to that point. Naturally, we are on hand to help and guide you through this process.
If you would like to hear more about Taith360 and customisable frameworks, or have any questions about anything at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch.