In the following video, Dr Nancy Ferguson, depute principal psychologist, explains why the POLAAR resource has been created.
POLAAR for Gaelic Medium Education
Education Scotland has worked in partnership with Argyll and Bute Council on the adaptation of these POLAAR resources. The materials support children’s learning and development through total immersion. In the zipped folder, practitioners will find guidance documents and assessment items, along with pedagogy, to promote total immersion and fluency.
The project received support funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Fhuair am pròiseact taic maoineachaidh bho Bhòrd na Gàidhlig.
Explore the resource
1. Observing the literacy environment and taking action
Children’s literacy abilities can only be accurately assessed when they have had appropriate literacy learning experiences. Observing the literacy environment and taking action is, therefore, a key component which should be addressed first.
Once areas for action in the class environment have been identified using the Early Literacy Environment Assessment, more accurate judgements about the child’s own literacy development can then be made.
See how to use the early literacy environment assessment - In the following video, Dr Nancy Ferguson, depute principal psychologist, and practitioners including Jill Cameron, head teacher of East Calder Primary, discuss how to use the Early Literacy Environment Assessment.
2. Observing the child and taking action
Observing the child and taking action comes next. The Child Observational Assessment is designed to be used with individual children rather than with groups or whole classes.
It is in two parts – an observational schedule (questionnaire), which is done with the child first, then a list of suitable actions and experiences which relate to each of the 20 questions of the observational schedule.
The observational schedule offers 20 questions to be answered on the basis of teacher judgement which are highly predictive of children’s future literacy abilities. Each can be scored on a four point scale of independence.
As children require less adult support and move towards greater independence, the scale provides a good index of their current literacy skills. Of course, children will normally only approach full independence across all 20 items towards the end of P1.
For each of the 20 questions, associated actions to improve each skill are suggested in the Child Observational Assessment with Actions section of the resource. Look at the question(s) you are interested in to see the suggested actions which relate to it/them.
It is advised that the P1 teacher initially uses this assessment with any pupils whom they consider to be struggling with early literacy development fairly early on in Primary 1.
See how to use the child observational assessment - In the following video, Dr Nancy Ferguson, depute principal psychologist, and Carol-Ann Campbell, class teacher at Holytown Primary, discuss how to use the Child observational assessment. Jill Cairns, class teacher at East Calder Primary School, then demonstrates an example of an intervention that can be used to support pupils.
3. Three-minute teacher assessment
Over time, your actions should have an effect. You may wish to complete the Child Observational Assessment checklist a second time to demonstrate progress.
If your action is not working, you may wish to change the action or focus on a different literacy skill from the checklist.
Alternatively, you might decide to do a more detailed assessment using the three-minute teacher assessment, below.
This provides three measures to take for each of the three areas most predictive of future literacy development according to the Literature Summary research. This will take around 10 minutes with one child.
See how to use the three-minute teacher assessment - In the following video, Dr Nancy Ferguson, depute principal psychologist, and Lynne Brennan, head teacher at Holytown Primary, discuss how to use the Three-minute teacher assessment. Head teachers then give their endorsement of the POLAAR resource.
4. Further detailed assessment
In a further three months, you might want to undertake a more detailed assessment of a child’s strengths and areas for development using a computer-assisted assessment.
These generally take more time, so you may wish for a classroom assistant to sit with the child during the assessment.
Various commercially-produced, computer-assisted assessments are available which administer, score and report the assessment.
Computer-assisted assessments are of two kinds: attainment and diagnostic. Attainment assessments tell you the level the child is at. Diagnostic tests try to give you some idea of why the child might be struggling with certain aspects of their literacy development e.g. reading.
For further information on computer-assisted assessments, see the summary of research findings in the related links section.
About the author(s)
This resource was created within Education Scotland’s literacy team.