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Hitting the target;The literary column;Book of the week

New advice from the Government links the T-word, the A-word and the NLS-words together in an X-certificate title: Target Setting and Assessment in the National Literacy Strategy. Aargh!

But the contents could be really useful. The QCA suggests teachers take on two broad "learning targets" per term, each covering key aspects of the NLS framework, which you discuss and share with your class (modifying them if necessary for particular children). Throughout the term everybody - teacher, children, support staff - keeps these two targets in their sights, monitoring children's progress and adjusting teaching to specific needs, until just before the holidays when you organise some sort of final assessment to see how well you've all done.

The QCA provides a list of suggested learning targets for each term. In an accompanying booklet there are examples of children's work which fit the assessment bill. In key stage 2, I'd be inclined to share some of these with my class at the beginning of term, when introducing our two literacy learning targets and discussing what they mean and how we should pursue them.

One of the Year 4 Term 3 learning targets is "Recognise the ways writers present issues and points of view in fiction and non-fiction texts". The example of a successful outcome is an extract from a child's review of a book about bullying (The Angel of Nitshill Road by Ann Fine) and an anti-bullying poster produced by children in the same class. Both would make excellent discussion material, and the accompanying commentary provides useful guidance for the teacher in clarifying targets and planning work.

Target-Setting and Assessment in the National Literacy Strategy looks boring, and takes a while to get your head round. But it's highly practical, and could help teachers and children focus more clearly on important aspects of literacy.

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