Friday, 2 November 2018

How to Maximise Tapestry as an Assessment Tool

As an EYFS teacher, we all know that feeling of trying to split your time between each child, ensuring a good split of child-initiated and adult-directed learning while covering all areas of the classroom. The problem with this is that we are only one person and we're not superheros so we can only do what is within the powers of a normal human being.

We were finding it tough to get enough evidence of what our children could do until we made the switch to Tapestry Learning Journal and we haven't looked back since!  There are so many similar apps out there but Tapestry has worked the best for our school!

What is Tapestry?
As teachers, I'm sure you all know what Tapestry is. I will briefly explain for those who don't. It is an assessment application that allows you to document children's learning quickly and easily, communicate with parents and analyse data.

How We Utilised Tapestry
Schools use learning journal apps in different ways and it is completely dependent on the system that your school choose to adopt. We went all out with our use of Tapestry and it helped us to achieve great progress from our children.

Document Everything - Prior to introducing Tapestry, we used a different system and only documented 'wow' moments, which were described in detail. This was great for parents to see their children's wow moments and provided  a beautiful end of year memory book but wasn't great for assessment purposes.

When we introduce Tapestry we began to document as much learning as possible. We did this as both group and individual observations. The observations were factual, linked to objectives and the teacher text was minimal making them less time consuming for teachers, but the quantity of observations increased.

Level of Support - At the beginning of each observation,  we identified the level of support for each activity to support us in identifying whether the child was beginning, developing or achieving an objective. We did this using one of the below options:

AD - Adult directed
AI - Adult initiated
CI - Child initiated

Along with one of these  for each observation

I - Independent
AS - Adult supported

Identifying Gaps - Each week we reviewed the objectives achieved to identify the gaps in learning. This could be objectives that were not achieved for many children or specific children that you needed to target. This information was then used to plan adult directed activities and enhanced provision to target these gaps and minimise them.
Data Analysis - Each half term we used the data analysis tool to identify children making the most and least progress and curriculum areas which showed the most and least progress. From this information we created a plan of target areas or children in order to raise progress. This ensured we were constantly reviewing out practice and looking at what was working as well as what needed further improvement.

When we first began using Tapestry with such intensity, a lot of the team were concerns that it would be too time consuming, however, everybody quickly saw the benefits and within a term they were all sold!  Our end of year data improved drastically as a result of how we used Tapestry and I can't wait to see how it improves next year!

If you think Tapestry Learning Journal would benefit your school, you can get it below:
Android App

Get a free Q & A sheet to handout to parents on my TES Store.

What tools do you use to support assessment in the classroom?

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