Evidence of improvement in learners’ achievements, retention and progression
Most learners have been actively engaged and focused with learning their spellings and welcome the designated lesson time to practise them. A learner said:
“Wednesday is spelling day. I like it.”
Learners who used the word board, where a sentence was practised rather than a standalone word, made the most progress. With this approach, learners had autonomy over the words in the sentence they needed to practise to enable them to write the full sentence correctly. These learners can now form personal sentences with more ease and proficiency. By the end of the project, learners had significantly better writing skills in December, compared to learners’ writing skills from the previous academic year.
As the word board approach resulted in learners having to learn and write a full sentence, this enabled the teacher to quickly identify learners who potentially had learning difficulties. Learning difficulties are usually not assessed at the pre-entry level; however, the teacher was able to direct the LSA accordingly to provide more focused in-class support.
All learners who participated in the project have improved their handwriting, letter formation, pronunciation of words and the recall of letters and words. The word board group has seen the greatest results in the overall improvement of writing and spelling skills. Where the spelling bee was used, learners can more confidently recognise the letters G/J and I/E.
The learners who were learning the spellings of the months moved to learning the spelling and layout of their address. As learners were visually familiar with this, they were able to identify their address from a selection of addresses, and learnt the spelling and layout of their address more quickly than the spellings of the months. They could also verbally spell their address with more ease. The impact of this is that learners can now confidently complete the first part of the Entry Level 1 written assessment.
Learner confidence has increased and learners enjoyed the challenge of the project. The teachers involved at the start thought learners wouldn’t enjoy practising their spellings as much as they did. The Project Lead got a round of applause from one of the groups involved as a thank you for letting them participate.
Beginning the project at the start of the academic year has improved learner collaboration and peer support more quickly and positive learner relationships have been observed by teachers and the lead.
A number of learners involved in the project are looked after children and have Personal Education Plans. At review meetings learners have been talking about learning spellings and how they enjoy doing it. They can see the impact this has had on their writing skills and have mentioned this in their review meeting with the ESOL Head of Section and their social worker.
The teachers working with pre-entry learners have seen the impact of developing the spellings and writing skills of learners and the progress learners have made with their writing. The focus in term 1 is generally on speaking and listening skills to prepare learners for their exam. However, moving forward, staff will incorporate more reading and writing activities to develop these skills more effectively from the start of the academic year.