CSciTeach Evidence

10Jul17

It’s odd, in some ways; for a profession which is all about leading and tracking progress for our students, we’re remarkably bad at agreeing any kind of consistent way to record what we do.

Years back I put together a Google Form for me to record what I was doing. The idea then was to match different activities to the Teacher Standards. To be honest, I didn’t use it for very long, although the process was useful in itself. Since then I’ve thought several times that a better way to track what I do is in the context of professional accreditation. For science teachers, who I work with in my day job, there are several things to consider for CPD tracking.

  1. Performance management forms are very specific to institutions, but in most cases having a record of what’s been done in between school-based INSET would help.
  2. There are several ways for a science specialist to become accredited; this is about recognising current knowledge and skills, not jumping through new hoops. CSciTeach is the route I chose, through the ASE (now also available via RSC and RSB). You may also wish to consider the new STEM Educator pathway. I have just completed the Chartered Physicist accreditation, which is available to physics teachers and teacher-trainers with appropriate experience. (I should point out I’m involved with making this better known to teachers/teacher-trainers and more information, exemplars etc will be out this autumn.)
  3. Having this information to hand can only be a good thing when it comes time to apply for new roles. I personally think it’s bizarre that there isn’t a single national application form, universal* with perhaps a single page ‘local detail’ for stuff a school feels just has to be asked. Otherwise colleagues have to waste time with many tiny variations of badly formatted Word forms, rather than their cover letters.

The thing is, who writes down every time they read/watch/observe something which ends up in a lesson? And if you do make a note of it, mental or otherwise, what are the chances of it being recorded in one central place? We end up with a formal record which has a few courses on it, and all the other ideas are along the lines of:

I think I got it at a teachmeet – was it last year? Might have been the one before. I’m pretty sure there was an article, I’ll have a look for it in a minute…

 


 

My Proposed Solution

What I’ve produced didn’t take long, and it’s only the first version – I’d really welcome ideas and suggestions for how to improve it. The idea is to gather information, reflect on impact and be able to refer back to it as evidence of professional practice.

If you want to try out the form, then feel free – this link takes you to my trial version and is not linked to the downloadable version below. You can also look at (but not edit) the resulting spreadsheet; note that the ASE guidance is reproduced on the ‘Notes’ tab. Thanks to Richard Needham aka @viciascience for some suggestions.

I’ve used the CSciTeach standards, but obviously (1) you need to do more than this form to be accredited and (2) other accreditation schemes are available.

Slide1

Slide2


Want to play around with your own version, editable and everything? You’re in luck:

1 Set-up

You’ll need a Google account. Go to the responses sheet (starting here means the formatting of the final spreadsheet is preserved.) Select ‘File’, then ‘Make a Copy’. Choose ‘Form’, then ‘Go to live form’; save the form URL as a bookmark on each of your devices. The spreadsheet URL will probably be most useful on something with a keyboard, but YMMV.

2 Capture

The form is set-up to get a few brief details fast, and then gives the option to skip to ticking relevant CSciTeach standards. If preferred, you can add the details of your reflection and impact in your setting at the same time. This completes the entry, but often you’ll want to come back when you’ve had a chance to think or try something out with students.

3 Reflect

Assuming you skip the in-depth reflection during step 2, you’ll want to return to the spreadsheet the form generates. I’ve included a few formatting points to make it work better which should be preserved when you copy it.

  • Column headings are bold
  • Columns are sized so it should print neatly on landscape A4
  • Text is justified ‘left, top’ and wrapped to make the columns readable
  • If empty, the columns for further reflection and impact are shaded red to prompt you to fill them in
  • The standards cells are shaded if at least one in that category has been ticked.

The point of CSciTeach, or any other accreditation is to recognise that ‘doing CPD’ is not a one-off event or course. Instead, it is a process, and one which should have reflection and consideration of measurable impact at its heart. This impact may be on students, teachers or both. This will very much depend on your role.

4 Share

You may prefer to keep the spreadsheet for your own reference only, using it to fill in other forms or complete applications. Sharing a Google spreadsheet is easy enough, of course; that’s the point! Just be aware that if you give ‘edit’ access, whoever it’s shared with can change your details. If you want their input – for example a professional mentor or coach – it might be better to give them permission to ‘view and comment’.

Alternatively, you might wish to search for particular examples and copy the results to a fresh document, depending on context. It would be easy to modify the form so that the Stimulus question was multiple choice, allowing you to categorise different kinds of formal and informal CPD. If colleagues think this would be more useful, I’ll create an alternate version centrally.

If, as a HoD or similar, you want to try something like this collectively, then it would be easy to adapt. Give the form URL to all team members and ask them to contribute. Whether you wish to add a question where they identify themselves is, of course, a more sensitive issue!


 

What Next?

Firstly; tell me what might be worth changing using the comments below. If I agree, then there’s a fair chance a version 1.1 will be shared soon. If you’d rather play around with it, feel free. I’d appreciate a link back if you share it.

Secondly, there are a couple of features which would be great to add. Being able to upload a photo or screenshot would be much better than copying and pasting a link, but I can’t see how to do this with a GForm. Related, if you think this could be developed into a mobile app then I’m sure the ASE would love to hear from you.

Lastly, yes, the SNAFU above* was on purpose. Those readers who understood can feel smug for exactly five seconds.

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7 Responses to “CSciTeach Evidence”

  1. 1 LInda N

    As well as things that ‘work’ we should encourage reflection on things that don’t work, and thus what you might do next. Must not give the impression that can only get accreditation if you are brilliantly good at everything and it all ‘works’
    STEM educator isn’t new, its just got a new name.. used to be called teacher and Support staff recognition scheme (you can see why the name changed!). All these recognition scheme depend on you doing SOME subject specific CPD each year, but it doesn’t all have to be science related.
    I think its a good idea to develop a way of quick recording. My Evernote just tried to link with the google form, which I think would suit me, as I tend to make my notes in Evernote (which is also always there) However I couldn’t remember my google password, so haven’t set this up yet.
    The notes tab is quite off-putting, but so is the CSci teach form, would it work without the extended ASE standards, and just have your column keep the references. people could then know where about on the form their reflections would sit, without been overwhelmed at this recording stage??

    • 2 IanH

      Linda

      Thanks for commenting, glad you think there’s some mileage in the idea.

      You’re absolutely right about it being valuable to try and record things which “don’t work.” Sometimes the best possible learning is “I’m *never* trying that again!” I’ll adjust the wording to take that into account.

      I also use Evernote – not as much as I used to since the subscription jumped – but that’s a good place to have the linked reflection and comments. It is also an easy way to have integrated text and photos, which is often helpful. Using a few labels (I like a structure suggested here http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/organize-evernote-tags/ ) rather than notebooks helps. But I wanted something which would prompt users to consider different aspects, saving brainpower for the actual reflecting!

      If colleagues wanted to delete the ‘Notes’ tab that would be possible; the idea was just to provide a reminder without having to go to another application. The text is mostly from the CSciTeach guidance anyway, which, yes, is not always clear. Hence my simplifications! My thinking was that by choosing which standards are relevant early on, which shouldn’t take long, it would be easy to sort the entries later on. Assuming, of course, that colleagues were planning to actually go through CSciTeach accreditation. The process of reflection and considering impact is where the real value is.

      A simplistic aim might be for the accreditation form to auto-fill based on the spreadsheet, but I think a second level of reflection – on the process, rather than any particular stimulus – is worthwhile. That’s what we do when the form gets filled in, consider which experiences are most significant. That’s particularly true if, as is possible with this system, even fairly transient activities can be documented.

      Thanks again for commenting!

      • 3 LInda N

        I’ll look at your Evernote link, thanks for that

  2. 4 Suzy

    Ive been pondering such a thing myself for a little while – I never seem to get around to noting down the training I’ve done, even less noting books or conversations. This will be really useful for me I think and I’ll be trying to make it a new habit! Thanks for sharing

  3. 5 IanH

    Suzy

    Thanks for writing; I’m pleased you think it might be helpful. The balance is between making the process easy enough that it happens more, but not so easy that it happens without getting our brains involved in the response/reflection phase. If I knew how, I’d set the spreadsheet to prompt you a fortnight after putting in the initial entry to do the reflection part. A proper chance to think!

    Please let me know how it goes, and if you think it’s been useful in practice – with or without going through the accreditation stage!

    • 6 LInda N

      STEM Learning do exactly this with their impact evaluation process linked to CPD. You develop a set of actions immediately afterwards, then get reminded to reflect on the impact later. All on-line, can act as a space to look back on when compiling evidence for recognition.

  4. 7 Richard Needham

    Handy to have the ‘official’ criteria for reference, but could also add a simplified and more friendly version as comments to the recording sheet.
    Eg Applying for CSciTeach requires you to describe your learning and explain how this makes a difference to others. Usually ‘others’ means pupils you teach, but could also include ‘other adults’. The Review Panel would rather you describe one or two key examples in depth, rather than listing everything you have done. The areas of professional learning should include:
    knowledge of teaching and learning
    professional practice (what you do in the classroom or beyond), and
    professional attributes (how you deal with people and how you are perceived)

    If you already have been awarded CSciTeach, you need to maintain an annual record of professional learning. This should show evidence of further learning, and the impact it has had on others. Using this recording sheet will provide the evidence you need if called on to submit an annual review, which on average will happen every four years.


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