By Debi Cullen, Maths Content Writer
Meet the Writer
I have been a maths content writer at Twinkl for just over a year. I have over 20 years’ experience of teaching maths, mainly in secondary schools in Kent, and I currently teach part-time in a further education college. I was a middle manager for ten years in posts involving curriculum, mentoring and pastoral care. I also mark GCSE maths exam scripts in the summer. I now live near Snowdonia and its stunning scenery and I also run a holiday let from there.
The background to baseline tests?
The UK government implemented the new Programme of Study in maintained schools in September 2016. As a classroom teacher I, like many others, was keen to find resources which not only mapped to the new curriculum, but which also helped to assess students. This was particularly so with the new year 7 students arriving from many feeder schools and led to the Twinkl Secondary Maths team developing the idea of producing differentiated year 7 assessments.
What’s great about our Year 7 Baseline Tests?
The assessment pack is differentiated and suitable for all year 7 students. The first one we produced has since been renamed Test 2 and assesses the core content. It is ideal as a generic assessment or if you have no data available for a student. It works well for setting a student who joins later in the year. Due to its popularity and positive feedback, two further assessments were produced. Test 1 is aimed at students who may have struggled with the content of the year 6 curriculum. Test 3 is aimed at stretching the more mathematically able students whilst still sticking to the content of the curriculum. These assessments are also fabulous for parents wanting to help their children with the transition from primary to secondary. Each assessment is accompanied by a marking scheme, with clear instructions on where to award marks.
What about processing the results?
Having these differentiated assessments really helps but, as a class teacher or head of department you also want to see the bigger picture. This is especially true if you need data for a meeting or even just a quick visual way of seeing which question a class did well on or struggled with. I worked on producing Gap Analysis Spreadsheets which map to the assessments. They change colour as results are entered (green for a solid answer, amber for some points achieved or red if not understood). They’re perfect for teachers, managers or even parents to identify strengths and weaknesses and also good for selecting groups for intervention or setting targets for improvements. You can find them here:
If you download our Free Maths Taster Pack you’ll find one of the Level 2 Tests included alongside a number of other resources for you to try out.