Science – Policies

Key Stage 3Key Stage 4 – Revision –  Assessments & Exams – Policies


The Science Department operates policies in line with those of St. Joseph’s whole-school policies [available on-line December 2014].

Assessment & Feedback

Student work assessment and feedback will take place in line with the school policy and be monitored through book scrutiny.

Written assignments, exam questions and tasks are assessed using the school’s WWW/EBI or SWAN marking policy and the school’s literacy marking policy.

A Progress Tracker is available to pupils on the school network. The Progress Tracker shows each pupil:

    • Their target level
    • Their performance for current and past units
    • Achievements and successes in each unit
    • Steps they need to take to improve their work

Homework

The purpose of Homework is to encourage students to develop confidence with independent learning skills.  It extends the school day by consolidating and reinforcing skills learned at school whilst helping students to organise and manage their time with the support of parents and carers in the home-school partnership.

Merits/postcards are awarded for good effort/achievement/progress. Postcards are sent home for consistently excellent effort and/or progress.

After school sessions are available for pupils to complete homework and for revision. Working on exam technique has helped students to raise their attainment in Key Stage 3 & 4.

Key Stage 3

Homework is given every lesson and must be completed by the next lesson unless otherwise stated. Homework is not required to take more than 60 minutes. The teacher will indicate the medium that should be used and how it should be submitted. The Science department use www.Kerboodle.com – Activate Science for homework and online assessments. Of course, students may be asked to complete research and other various activities. This on average is set once/week.

Paper-based submissions should be neatly presented, otherwise completed again for the following lesson.

Homework that is not attempted, incomplete or completed to a poor standard will lead to class teacher/parent communication.

Key Stage 4

Homework usually requires at least 60 minutes and is set on average every week.
Homework mostly takes the form of a research and exam question practice, but other activities may be given.

 

Communicating with Parents

Merits are awarded to pupils for effort/behaviour/achievement. These should be recorded by the pupils in MyStickers, whereupon parents will be alerted that they have received a merit from the Science Department. For excellent and consistently high achievement/effort, postcards are sent to parents.
If a homework is missed or of poor quality, teacher/parent communication takes place, usually using the School Communication system to alert parents. If there are more serious homework concerns, the Head of Department will contact parents.

Rewards and Sanctions

Merits are awarded to pupils for effort/behaviour/achievement.
For excellent/persistently high achievement/effort, postcards are sent to parents.
Sanctions are administered in line with whole-school policy.

Quality Assurance

Outcomes from the following Quality Assurance policies are recorded in the Science Department Self Evaluation document and actioned as necessary to maintain and improve quality.

Lesson Observations

Formal observations take place 3 times a year, in line with whole-school policy.
Informal observations take place several times per week. Science Department staff work closely with one-another to ensure the highest quality of teaching and learning.

Work Scrutiny

Takes place post-trawl, as part of the process of identifying underperformance and exceptional performance.

Learning Walks

Formal Learning Walks take place every half term to ensure a high quality learning environment is maintained.


Science Department Homework Policy

The purpose of Homework is to encourage students to develop confidence with independent learning skills. It extends the school day by consolidating and reinforcing skills learned at school whilst helping students to organise and manage their time with the support of parents and carers in the home-school partnership.

 

 

 

Category  and strategy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Process

 

 

Purpose within the Science  Department

 

The purpose of Homework is to encourage students to develop confidence and independent learning skills and to enable students to extend their learning in the Science subjects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We expect parents/carers to play an important part in their child’s learning by explaining to them that homework is a valuable and vital part of their education and providing them with a reasonable place where they can study.

 

The homework that is set can take many forms. It may include activities such as:

 

  • Practising skills and using knowledge and understanding learned in lessons
  • Written assignments
  • Revision
  • Preparing for an oral presentation
  • Individual research
  • Collecting materials
  • Exam questions
  • Project work

 

 

Regularity

 

It is expected that generally:

 

In KS3 some homework activities will take place every half term

 

 

 

The minimum of 1 hour per week, or equivalent if  working to a project deadline, will take place across KS4

 

 

 

An appropriate schedule of home learning/ independent study will take place at KS4. Once/week for each subject.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The students complete the homework activity and it is then marked and returned within one week.

 

 

 

KS3 online activities through Kerboodle and Activate project based work; and/or Levelled Questions for revision/exam technique.

 

 

 

KS4 Exam Questions provided to support/re-enforce topics covered in class. This also to aid exam preparation and technique.

 

 

Assessment and Feedback

 

 

 

It is expected that assessment and feedback will take place in line with the school policy and be monitored through book scrutiny.

 

 

 

Written assignments, exam questions and tasks are assessed using the school’s WWW/EBI or SWAN marking policy and the school’s literacy marking policy.

 

 

 

Research and materials collected are checked by the teacher and comments are made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Substantial pieces of work are marked using the school’s SWAN policy where Strengths, Weaknesses and Next Steps will be identified. Students then respond to their next steps.

 

 

 

The school’s literacy marking policy is also used when marking work. Spelling, punctuation and grammar errors are all identified and the students then correct these errors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recording

 

It is expected that teachers are responsible for their own system of record keeping in relation to home learning.

 

 

 

Students record homework tasks in their planner.

 

 

 

Teachers keep a record of homework submission and parents/carers are contacted if it becomes apparent that a student is not submitting it.

 

 

 

 

Students are responsible for recording homework tasks in their planner and checking their planner every evening to ensure that they complete work set. Parents/carers should encourage their child to meet the deadlines.

 

 

 

Teachers are responsible for keeping a homework record for each class that they teach. Grades are recorded for written assignments, exam questions and other assessed work to aid progress tracking.

 

 

Monitoring

 

Using their homework records for each class teachers are responsible for identifying students that are not submitting homework activities and informing parents/carers.

 

 

 

The regularity of the setting and marking of homework. Homework is also monitored through work scrutiny carried out by SLT and Heads of Department.

 

 

Parents/carers of students that are not submitting homework activities can be informed through texts or phone calls home.

 

 

 

Work scrutiny is a calendared activity that is carried out by SLT and Heads of Department at various points during each half term. Students will write the title ‘homework’ on pieces of work completed at home so that the regularity and marking of homework can be monitored.

 

Quality assurance of Homework

Teachers will set Homework opportunities regularly as directed by the Head of Department and in line with the Whole School Policy on Homework. Teachers will ensure that Homework opportunities are relevant, varied and that the activities contribute to the extension of student learning in order to improve the progress of the learning. The setting, assessment and quality of Homework will be monitored each half term by the Head of Department.


Science Department Marking Policy

Marking within the Science Department should be constructive in its criticism and have a positive impact on student’s motivation towards further progress. Marking involves reading and checking class work and homework. It should allow teachers to monitor progress in knowledge, effort, understanding and skills; offering written and oral feedback, with a view to how the pupils can move forward.
Quality assurance of marking

Category  and strategy

Process

Presentation

Must be corrected throughout.

Teachers must ensure that students:

  • complete written work in blue or black ink;
  • use pencil for diagrams;
  • use rulers for underlining and  graph work;
  • use a title and date each piece of work;
  • finish all work set;
  • leave a gap after each piece of work for comments;

Quality of Written Communication, Spelling, punctuation and grammar

  • All subject specific vocabulary must be corrected throughout.
  • Teachers must correct repeated errors and monitor in order to develop progress in these areas.
  • Students should be encouraged to check spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  • Encourage students to always answer exam questions using correctly applied subject specific terminology.

WWW/EBI

 

SWANS

Must be used at least twice each half term and the methodology of WWW/EBI or SWANS used throughout. WWW/EBI SWANS/Assessing My Progress can be completed by staff and students.

Encourage the students to be realistic and thoughtful in their completion of SWANS/Assessing My Progress. One detailed Strength is preferable to three poorly addressed or generic ones.

“ANS” or EBI needs to refer specifically to the requirements of the course the student is studying and could include help and advice on actions such as improving:

1) quality of exam answers – QWC

2) depth of questions related to mark scheme or number of marks

3) comprehension of the exam questions

4) detailed following of assignment briefs

5) improving planning deal to help achieve required standard

6) completion of homework

7) responsibility for learning

Assessment

 

Feedback and feed forward

A feedback and feed forward loop is a review of a piece of work followed by a SWAN or similar self or teacher evaluation, this will help the student to identify and understand  strategies to improve performance.

When work is marked or assessed staff should ensure advice is given how to improve as well as enabling the students to identify what it is they have done well. Strategies

  • Tracker graphs
  • All syllabus and mark schemes are shared with students
  • Exam work based on mark schemes which can be used to inform learning
  • BTEC work uses set criteria which are shared
  • revisit previous SWAN before completing a new one
  • review previously written next steps regularly to help make progress
  • feedback and feed forward loops to be competed at least every three weeks

Verbal feedback (VF)

When a student has been given verbal feedback ask them to mark in their work what it is the teacher said. Or Staff to record in students work when they have specifically commented or given advice.

Grade descriptors and grade boundaries for assessments have been agreed as a department to allow a parity of judgment between teachers and thus comparability of grades and work between groups. This will aid all pupils’ progression and group changes at the end of each year. Quality Assurance of marking will take place every half term and books will be chosen at random to cover all cohorts.