Raising Standards Together

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MEP learning pack

Masters in Educational Practice: Literacy

7

Lead on change: challenging current literacy practice

7.2

Auditing literacy provision

Introduction to critical audit

This sub-topic aims to equip you with the skills needed to create an audit tool which will help you identify the areas of strength and development of literacy provision in your setting. Before you begin to explore the idea of an audit, you may like to visit the area on perspective in sub-topic 7.1 Implementing change.

Audit tools

There are a wide range of literacy audit tools available online but before you select one that best suits your needs, you might like to consider the benefits and limitations of trying to observe professional practice.

Activity 7.4

Watch the two clips below, then visit the Observation as a research tool (external link) section of the Open University's ‘Introducing observational approaches in research with children and young people’ unit and complete Activity 5.

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Reflect: What have you learned about observation before you begin your audit of literacy provision?

Pre-audit tasks

Before embarking on an audit of provision, you might like to consider the following points in order to determine priorities.

Pre-audit tasks
Establishing priorities Oracy/Reading/Writing Reason – Estyn/National Initiative/ Standards/Lesson observations/Book trawls/Learning walks
What area of literacy is going to be audited?

Planning an audit

How is provision going to be mapped?

What tool is going to be used to make judgements?

How is the audit going to be carried out (timeline/staffing/resources)?

How will the results be collated to inform an action plan (responsibilities)?

Audit tools

Most audit tools include the common features of:

  • mapping current position
  • identifying strengths using evidence-based judgements
  • identifying developments using evidence-based judgements
  • developing an action plan based on priorities.

The first audit is not based on the literacy curriculum in Wales, but there may be examples of the form, content, organisation and vocabulary that you may like to develop.

Subject Leaders Literacy Audit (external link)

The second audit is taken from a secondary school in Wales.

Learning Live Literacy Audit (external link)

Auditing: Gaining a rich picture of literacy provision

While it is a necessary part of the auditing process to observe lessons, conduct a review of literacy resources or review learners' work, it can be helpful to explore the use of digital media as tools for auditing. This may include using:fixed cameras in the learning

  • environment; for example, in analysing the use of the book corner or role play area
  • film clips to provide differing perspectives of learning and teaching; for example, seeing through the eyes of the learner, teacher or teaching assistant.

Activity 7.5

Watch these film clips which offer fixed angle perspective and alternative perspective.

Length 3:26 Watching
In this clip the camera gives a fixed angle perspective on a Year 1 book corner. The camera recorded the activity in the area over the morning session. Initially, the children noticed the camera but quickly became unaware of its presence. The film moves from showing the learning environment to capturing a group of children engaging with the books. Most children leave the area but one girl remains and demonstrates sustained reading. She is joined by another child who mirrors the reader’s behaviour and briefly engages with the class teacher. Of particular note, is that the children all rest their feet on the cushions which may suggest that the bench is too high.
Length 3:10 Watching
Again, in this clip the camera gives a fixed angle perspective on a Year 1 book corner. The camera recorded the activity in the area over the morning session. The film shows a group of boys interacting in the book corner and contrasts this with two girls who sit on the bench and concentrate on reading throughout the clip. The boys are playful, animated and notice the camera. It is clear that their engagement with the books and with the learning space is different to the girls.
Length 1:00 Watching
Again, in this clip the camera gives a fixed angle perspective on a Year 1 book corner. The camera recorded the activity in the area over the morning session. The film shows a group of four boys who engage with a book for a more extended period of time. This is very much a collaborative activity in contrast to the children who choose to sit on the bench and read independently. The viewer may wish to consider the size and space within the book corner and whether it supports more collaborative sharing of a text.
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In relation to clips 1, 2 & 3:

If you had been asked to audit the use of the book-corner in this classroom what feedback might you give in relation to strengths and areas for development.

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In relation to Clip 4:

What have you learnt about teaching and learning literacy in this lesson? Consider looking at learning from the view of the child and the teaching assistant.

Summary

In this subtopic you have considered aspects of auditing literacy provision in your educational setting. This has included looking at the advantages and disadvantages of observation, the relevance of pre-audit work and examples of audit materials. You have also looked at alternative ways of gathering information through using digital tools.

As a concluding activity, you may like to complete the following quiz.

Activity 7.6

The key points of this sub-topic are summarised in a quiz activity. You may like to check your understanding by using the quiz as a form of self-assessment.

Start
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