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By Treat Yourself Assessment
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About this project

What does it do? 

Treat Yourself Assessment saves teachers time by offering a way of accurately assessing pupils’ writing against UK Key Stage 2 National Curriculum for Writing criteria, gathering that data across different scales and presenting it so it can be instantly used for moderation purposes, target setting and lesson planning to positively impact the learning outcomes of pupils.

Our tool is designed by teachers for teachers. Our conceptual team of four all still work in the classroom full time, putting us in a unique position to drive this idea forward for the benefit of teachers and, most importantly, their pupils.

Simply, we require investment to develop our idea into a working piece of software that is easy for teachers and schools to use, so much so it becomes part of their day to day practice. Please r ead below for more!

Take a look at, login and explore, our wireframe site: https://ryan-brewer.wixsite.com/treatyourself

What problem are we solving, and how? 

Reducing workload / Saving teacher time:
As a concept, Treat Yourself was born because of changes to the moderation of KS2 writing (from a system where an external moderator assessed one piece of work, to a new system where teachers must build a portfolio of moderated writing throughout the school year – a minimum of 6 pieces, moderated internally). 

Accurately producing a portfolio of written work is a time-consuming task for any teacher. It takes approximately 4 hours to mark, record and produce targets for a class set of written work. This multiplied by a minimum of 6 times, means that teachers are at least spending approximately 24 hours of their working year marking a single piece of work. This does not factor time to moderate work internally and/or externally, which is again a time-consuming task. 

By reducing the time it takes teachers to mark, record, build and moderate pupils writing portfolios, teachers can concentrate the job they joined the profession to do: Teach!

Increased Accuracy/Reducing Contradiction:
The 2014 National Curriculum for Key Stage English was a turning point for many teachers. We now see a curriculum heavily based on the mechanics of writing; grammar instead of content and context. Unfortunately, introducing new, more difficult grammar opened a chasm of lacking teacher knowledge – many teachers were never taught the grammar used in the curriculum, resulting in subjective knowledge from teacher to teacher of the new writing criteria that is included in the current National Curriculum. 

From personal experience, this was evident in the internal writing moderation meetings I attend. One teacher would be confident of a specific grammar criteria, another would contradict them and another moderator will openly say, “I don’t know what that is.” 

Treat Yourself wants to cut through this by giving teachers a single platform from which their assessment is based collectively.

Effective data management:
The need for pupil writing portfolios has generated a need for more effective writing data management. At present, many teachers use a paper based method that often includes: a ring binder folder; a copy of a minimum of x6 pieces of work per child, a criteria marking sheet per child, a class tracking sheet. Understandably, this cluttered process is fraught with issues, including: - data loss - inability to quickly identify specific pupil achievements and evidence of said achievements - clumsy - time consuming - space consuming - doesn’t benefit the children.

An online personal writing portfolio for each child within each class will provide clarity to teachers, subject coordinators, school leaders and subsequently pupils as school staff will be able to quickly and easily put their hands on the work, information and evidence they need to generate pupil progression. 

Improve pupil tracking, target setting and lesson planning: An online portfolio at different scales is useful for several reasons:

- On an individual level, teachers can identify areas of strength, weakness and gaps in learning for individual pupils, thus enabling them to set diagnostic, meaningful targets that will generate progression.

- At a larger, class scale teachers, subject coordinators and school leaders will quickly be able to identify areas of strength and weakness across a whole class and will therefore be able to amend planning to account for the learning requirements of their pupils – again ultimately promoting pupil progression. 

Efficient, intuitive moderation: Key Stage 2 teachers, especially Year 6 teachers, are required to instantly produce evidence for the assessment outcomes they have come to for each child. This may mean that, against the end of Key stage 2 writing criteria for ‘at expected’ standard, a teacher can be asked to provide evidence of ‘x’ criteria for ‘y’ child, at the drop of the hat. 
This can be challenging, as it not only requires finding the correct piece of work referenced in assessment portfolios, but also then requires a teacher to then identify specific (often grammar based) criteria within a piece of writing – immediately.

Treat Yourself solves this problem by allowing teachers to simply click on any ‘awarded’ criteria (demarcated with a tick), to produce a pop up window of the child’s work with the exact piece of text that relates to the ‘awarded’ criteria highlighted. 

This saves time and pressure for all – giving teachers confidence to be moderated at any time. 

Market demand:Treat Yourself goes to the core of two key issues in the teaching profession:

1) Workload (and subsequently teacher retention).
Time consuming assessment, evidencing and tracking adds on to an already time consuming job. Teachers’ time can be used with more efficacy on tasks with direct positive impact such as planning engaging lessons, face-to-face feedback with their pupils and ultimately better teaching. ‘10% drop in teachers in 2016’. Why? Workload, especially marking. ‘More than half of teachers surveyed in a YouGov poll last year said they were considering leaving the classroom in the next two years.’ Education Crisis – why are teachers leaving? http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/teachers-crisis-education-leaving-profession-jobs-market-droves-who-would-be-one-a7591821.htm OR https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/oct/24/almost-third-of-teachers-quit-within-five-years-of-qualifying-figures

Treat Yourself aims to tackle this problem by reducing the largest assessment and tracking task that teachers currently face. By reducing paper-based workload in terms of assessment, moderation and tracking teachers can concentrate on the thing they are trained to do best – teach! By allowing teachers to concentrate on providing engaging, inspiring lessons their pupils will see improvements in their learning outcomes and teachers will feel more satisfied within their role.

2) Confidence and clarity.Teachers have struggled, often due to a lack of knowledge, to get to grips with new aspects of the latest version of the Key Stage 2 English curriculum. Michael Gove, the Education Secretary responsible for administering the latest ‘2014’ curriculum summarised this sentiment saying, “Many teachers feel uncomfortable with grammar and don’t know how to use it formally.” https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/teachers-dont-know-enough-grammar-to-teach-curriculum-qx596z7w82g OR  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10356379/Teachers-do-not-know-enough-grammar-to-teach-new-curriculum.html

This lack of knowledge and/or confidence can lead to marking inconsistencies across various scales – from class to class within a school, between schools, or even between local authorities.

Treat Yourself provides a robust assessment tool that aims to give teachers, coordinators and school leaders the confidence to standby their assessments and improve their own subject knowledge.

Users/Testing:We have several schools and individual teachers who have given us feedback and inspiration to develop our idea. We also have a number of schools, as well as a local learning partnership, who are willing to beta test our prototypes.

What features do people like the most?
As we are at a conception stage we have no evidence of the features that our proposed users will love. However, we think that they will love:

- The ability to assess writing accurately and at speed, saving them time and stress!
- The ability to record and track assessment data with minimum evidence.
- A tool that is trusted to provide accurate data, solely based on National Curriculum Targets.
- The ability to instantly produce evidence for every individual, against every criteria.
- Target setting – the ability to identify individual pupils needs in an instant, act upon them & track!

Our experience as a team:
Treat Yourself is a product developed by teachers, for teachers. We feel that ONLY teachers could have thought of and subsequently develop this product, based on solely on their experience within the classroom. As teachers, who are still teaching, we are abreast of the latest trends and updates on the ground within education. We believe that our knowledge at the bottom – in the classroom, working with children – is invaluable to the success of this product.

Our Developers
Our team of developers are also focused on the education market, with their own education company as well as successful ventures into the education app market. 

As a team, we have a fantastic set of skills and knowledge that will complement each other beautifully to produce a fantastic, useful and intuitive product. 

How are we different to out competitors:
Our competitors manage the data inputted by teachers, track progress and produce relevant targets off the back of this, very well. However, Treat Yourself is different for two reasons:

1) Treat Yourself physically does the assessment for teachers: … Improve accuracy … Reduced time and workload … Better target setting and tracking

2) Instant Moderation/evidence: Treat Yourself provides teachers, school leaders and moderators instant evidence of how each individual has hit a specific National Curriculum writing criteria – all at the click of a button! 

Risks and challenges

We feel our biggest challenges will come in the OCR development of this product. Understandably, handwriting recognition is a subjective topic and we therefore hope to achieve 90% accuracy.

Not only are we looking for financial support with our product, but our developer team are also open to technical support and advise too (as a team with an open mind we know that more brains are better than a few!)

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