It’s all very well coming up with weird and wonderful ways of acknowledging students’ achievement, but at some point somebody, unfortunately, is going to ask you for a number. The number is important to them because they can enter it into spreadsheet and show, hopefully, that the numbers go up over time.
It may be, of course, that the number doesn’t mean very much in itself. But in the words of a teacher who showed me two graphs of his students’ achievement, as measured at the start and the end of a term, “See? The numbers have gone up!”.
“Yes”, I said, “But what do the numbers actually mean?”
He looked incredulous that someone could actually ask such a stupid question. “Who cares?” They’re higher, aren’t they?”
Well, a few days ago I was running a course on assessing Computing and ICT (comments such as “wonderful”, “stupendous”, “the best thing I’ve done in years” were being voiced, but as it was I who was voicing them I’m not sure that counts, but anyway), and we established that, at some point, someone in school is going to say something like:
“These badges/coloured zones/skills passports/whatever are all very well, but I need a number!”
We discussed that, but I remembered afterwards that I wrote an article about how to handle that sort of request. I’ve read it again, and I believe that my preferred solution still stands up. See what you think. You can read the article here: