This page will talk through where the terminology "sits" in Classroom Monitor and where it has an impact, as well as looking at some of the choices available. There are two different areas that we can talk about with regard to terminology:
- Markbook hexagon terminology: Teachers click hexagons in the markbook to record assessment judgements against individual objectives. They record a Red, Yellow, Green or Blue according to the terminology that has been associated with each colour.
- "Steps" terminology: This relates to the 3 or 6 steps that you may have for each stage/year. These represent the bands that feed into tracking.
Why is the Terminology so Important?
This is a seemingly simple question with a tricky response - or certainly one which is hard to convey in writing! The terminology is, essentially, as important as you make it to you. In some cases, a simple change in terminology could unblock a difficulty you have had within the school in discussing assessment with pupils, parents, or inspectors. In other cases, the change could create issues in discussions as emphasis is placed where it is not intended.
In terms of national consistency there is very little to go by other than the end of Key Stage descriptors, such as "Working at the Expected Standard" or "Working at greater depth within the Expected Standard" etc, so anything that you use in addition to this must be meaningful and beneficial to your school.
How is the Terminology Used Within Classroom Monitor?
The markbook hexagon terminology is used in a number of ways. Each colour of markbook hexagon is associated with a word (e.g. Almost, Developing, Amber). This word will show on outputs such as the Assessment Summaries and Online Reporting to Parents. Classroom Monitor also uses the Red hexagon to denote a "Target" when feeding through to the written reports area. There is also a shortened version of each word which will display on the hexagon itself (e.g. A, D).
The steps terminology is shown at the top of the markbooks, in the Attainment and Progress area when viewing graphs and tables and can also be fed into written and online reports for parents. Each step is associated with a percentage threshold which can be adjusted for your framework.
What is the Default Terminology Within the System?
The default depends on the curriculum framework you have chosen; you can access the defaults for all of our partner frameworks from the frameworks page. As an example, we have shown the default settings for the Rising Stars Progression Framework below. If you are using a different framework, or have already made some changes, this may not represent your set up.
How Can I Change The Terminology?
You can essentially change any of the terminology above within certain character limits. However, terminology can be very important so there are a number of points that you should consider before doing this:
The hexagon terminology: Each colour needs to be associated with a word and a shortened version. So you could have Secure, for example, and set this to be an S on the hexagon. The shortened version should preferably be only 1 letter so it is particularly useful to choose words which enable you to use different letters for each colour e.g. (Target (T), Almost (A), Met (M). A system such as Red as Emerging, Yellow as Expected and Green as Exceeding would be acceptable in the system but shortening to one letter would be E for them all. The system will allow you to have up to 3 letters (e.g. Em, Exp and Exc) should you definitely require them but be aware that this will make the markbook look more "messy" and it will be harder for teachers to use as they will not be able to tell the three apart as easily when using the right click menu etc.
The "steps": You have the option to have either 3 or 6 "steps" within a stage; for example, within Year 6 or within Upper Key Stage 2 depending on your framework. You may choose only 3 steps to just have e.g. Beg, Dev and Sec without having Beg+ etc. You may change the names to whatever you wish so long as you have either 3 or 6 per stage. If your markbook covers 2 years worth of coverage then you can have 3 or 6 steps for the whole markbook. You could choose to have percentages with no steps displayed if 3 or 6 does not work for your curriculum choices.
What is worth bearing in mind when selecting your steps terminology is that it has to be useful to you when you need it at any point of the year and not just the end of the year. For example, it might seem useful to give the step which represents 10% coverage of the curriculum the name "Below Expected". At the end of the academic year this certainly would reflect a child who was working below age related expectations. However if you looked at data in December, any child on the "below expected" band would actually represent being AT age related expectations for that point of the year. This means that using this kind of terminology can be confusing when sharing with governors and parents and in many cases also involves calls to us from worried teachers! Our default steps terminology, outlined above, works at any point within the year, which is why it is our default.
How Do I Make the Changes?
Visit our help page for instructions for changing scoring thresholds and scoring terminology.