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Classroom examples: ranking

Classroom examples of collecting evidence of learning using ranking methods such as ranking diamond 9, ranking continuum and continuum lines.
CAROLINE: I’m going to ask you to form a new government that is really prioritising the health of the British public. And what your job is is to try to pick some of those factors and the things that cause other things which cause other things which link in with other bits and to come up with a kind of set of rules or a manifesto of what you would do if you were in power in order to improve the health of the British public. Now that is a bit of a mammoth task. Because you’ve just seen how crazy and how complicated all those links are.
So one of the things I’m going to ask you to do to start with is, it’s basically a card sort. We call it a Diamond nine. So I’m going to pass some cards around. There are nine cards. At the very top of your diamond, you need the card, or the opinion, that you agree with the most. And then, right at the bottom, the one that you agree with the least. Now there’s no right answers. It’s totally your opinion and what you think. Have a good read of all the cards. And then you’re going to have maybe five minutes, four minutes to put them in order dependent on which you agree with the most. [INTERPOSING VOICES]
STUDENT: What do you think about the [INAUDIBLE] one [INAUDIBLE]?
[INAUDIBLE], yes. We can pretty much say the same now. [INAUDIBLE]
CAROLINE: So you think if it affects everybody, so even something, like, I don’t know, eczema. Everyone gets eczema, so that should be our focus for the NHS?
CAROLINE: Are you confident of that answer?
STUDENT: Actually, it might, I might change that around.
CAROLINE: Aw. so I’ve come over here to be devil’s advocate. I’ve changed your idea. So what do you think now?
STUDENT: Maybe that one.
CAROLINE: Diseases that cost the NHS the most, OK.
STUDENT: Because then you’re saving money. And if it costs the most, it’s probably a more deadlier disease.
CAROLINE: OK. So even if it’s a disease that we might have to spend lots and lots of money on, like cancer, we haven’t got a cure for cancer, so we’re going to focus on that because it costs the NHS the most?
STUDENT: Yes, because in the long run, it’ll save us lots of money.
TEACHER: So you’re going to have a line like this of your cards. I think that there is six of them altogether, or eight. I can’t remember. So you just need to put them in order. Start with the thing that you think is the most important thing that would help you survive, finishing with the least important thing. [INTERPOSING VOICES]
STUDENT: It’s what you need more.
TEACHER: So let’s have a look, there. Which one do you think is the most important out of all of them?
STUDENT: Should we have started the most important things [INAUDIBLE]
TEACHER: OK. So tell me why did you put air over here?
STUDENT: Because you need that to stay alive. Because is what you believe through. So if you can’t breathe, you can’t do anything.
TEACHER: And why do you put these ones next?
STUDENT: Because food and drink, say drink water, and it keeps you full and it’s just, like. –because it’s important to have exercise.
TEACHER: So why is this one all the way down here, then? I think this one’s really important.
STUDENT: It’s not important, because it doesn’t– it just keeps you [INAUDIBLE].
TEACHER: But what if you get bored?
STUDENT: I’ve got–
TEACHER: What if you get bored?
STUDENT: It doesn’t keep you alive, [INAUDIBLE]..
TEACHER: OK. I know what you mean. So it’s important to keep you entertained, if you get bored. But it’s not going to keep you alive, is it? Not like food and water.
DREW: What have we done, what have I said up in this wall here? Can anybody tell me why you think I’ve chucked a zero and one up here?
STUDENT: Because you doing a probability line.
DREW: Probability lIne, brilliant– and what we’re going to do in our groups, OK, we are going to discuss where we are going to put certain events on the probability scale. So that was our important information. And the first thing I want you to do, discuss in groups, I’m not going to give you long, maybe only 30 seconds maximum. Hopefully, you’ve taken down the important information. From that story, what is the probability of removing a blue ball? I’m counting down. Discuss in your groups. I don’t want to hear just yet. [INTERPOSING VOICES]
STUDENT: There were two reds.
STUDENT: So what’s wrong with number two?
STUDENT: Um. One, eight–
DREW: What’s the probability of removing a yellow ball? 20 seconds, pick your representative, go and stand on there.
STUDENT: If you don’t believe it, [INAUDIBLE]..
DREW: Why? George, why has everybody gone there, correctly?
STUDENT: Because they weren’t any yellow balloons.
DREW: So there was no yellow ball. What word would we use, Stan, in probability speak to say that the probability would be zero?
STUDENT: Would it be, like, zero over eight?
DREW: So zero over eight, which is just zero. But I’m thinking words. What words could I attach to that? What’s happened there? Matt?
DREW: Never.
STUDENT: Impossible.
DREW: Impossible– I was going to go for impossible. Yes? OK. And if that’s impossible, this is certain.
In this second selection of activities for gathering evidence of student learning you’ll see examples using ranking approaches.
Our examples come from both primary (aged 5-11 years) and secondary (aged 11-16 years), but the approaches can be applied in any context. As you watch the examples, think about the usefulness of the evidence you could gather for your own teaching.

Diamond 9

0m10s – Science, Year 10 (age 14-15) – Students work in pairs to rank a set of 9 statements. They start by placing the statement which they think is the most important, or they agree with the most, at the top. Then the next two most important statements underneath, and so on to create a diamond shape. The order must be mutually agreed, allowing students to argue their case, or challenge each other’s point of view. During the activity, you can listen to the discussion and probe children’s understanding.

Continuum lines

3m00s – Ranking continuum. Science, Year 2 (age 6-7).
4m35s – Continuum line (probability). Maths, Year 7 (age 11-12).
Place two statements at either side of the classroom so that there is an imaginary line between them. Students choose where they will stand on the continuum line to indicate their response to a question or which of the two statements they most agree with. If students are working in groups, you can ask each group to send a representative to indicate their agreed answer.


From the suggestions listed below identify which for you is the most important reason to use ranking activities, (you can add an idea of your own if you prefer).
A. To collect evidence so you can regroup pupils into groups where they have similar ideas.
B. To collect evidence so you can regroup pupils into groups with differing ideas.
C. To collect evidence of pupil’s ideas, including alternative thinking.
D. To collect evidence of pupils’ understanding or misunderstandings.
E. To collect evidence to influence the next steps in your teaching.
F. To collect evidence to identify different activities for pupils to move onto next.
G. To collect evidence for you to consider at a later time.
H. To collect evidence to reinforce your judgements about pupils abilities.
I. To get pupils active and thinking during the lesson.
J. To help the lesson activities transition from one concept to the next.
K. To help the pupils make links to previous or future learning.
In the comments below, say which reason you chose and describe why you ranked this as your number one reason. You could think about how would you plan for using a ranking activity for this purpose with your pupils? Draw upon each other for input and suggestions on these examples or some from your own teaching.
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Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

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