Year 9 delivery and outcomes
Term 1 focus: Terminology
Students had an introduction to the entire year. Next they were introduced to the key terms and concepts of technology. They began with the term technology itself. The technology cycle was then introduced and students undertook technological practice. They were encouraged to evaluate their key decisions verbally with the teacher to justify the practice they undertook rather than providing any formal evidence of the evaluation. At this stage teachers wanted them to understand the issue.
- were given a brief
- identified the issue
- identified the stakeholders and determined their needs/wants
- undertook research and concept development
- developed their final design
- created an outcome.
The module closed with an assessment activity: How I used the technology cycle.
Term 1 teachers were aware of their responsibility to deliver the planned programme of learning. The term 2 teachers would build off what the students had learnt in term 1. The collegiality of the department members, with each recognising their mutual responsibilities, helped ensure the necessary learning opportunities were presented to students.
Term 2 focus: Brief development
The term 2 technology cycle now included brief development as a key technology competency. Students had this in their folders and on the classroom walls. They were given an initial class brief that required further refinement.
From the initial brief, students learnt how to develop a final brief that included specifications that allowed their outcome to be evaluated as fit for purpose for the specific issue it resolved.
Term 3 focus: Planning for practice
The term 3 technology cycle now included planning as a key technology competency. Students explored how planning is crucial to managing any project. They were shown planning tools and how they were used.
The students were introduced to management strategies for managing time and other resources as part of their technological practice. Throughout the term students used an actual timeline and adjusted the times according to the key tasks and times they achieved.
Assessment was based on their timeline and the responses to questions at the end of term.
Term 4 focus: Outcome development and evaluation
The term 4 technology cycle now included outcome development and evaluation as key technology competencies.
Students learnt how to undertake ongoing evaluation of their technological practice. This included evaluating their research findings and concept ideas as well as evaluating their ideas during the development phase of their practice.
Following the creation of their technological outcome, students learnt how to evaluate the success of their product. They evaluated their outcome in terms of how it had met the brief specifications and the effectiveness of the technological practice they had undertaken.
Year 9 student reflections
"In the year 9 course we got to learn what each of the year 10 technology options was all about so it definitely helped us with our choices."
"I liked what I was doing in all of my year 9 subjects, but in technology there's more choice and freedom to go where you want than in other subjects."
"I thought the way we were introduced to the technology cycle was very good – slowly introducing something new each term."
"I liked the evaluation work we did – you could see what was good and what wasn't so good."
"There was a good balance of doing things and writing and we learned a lot of different skills over the year."Student quotes
Some very high quality student work has come out of this approach and teachers saw student outcomes at the end of the year improve. This is attributed to the technological progression happening over the year in the technology cycle and the quality of the domain knowledge and skills being taught.
Departmental feedback on the changed approach was very positive. At regular departmental meetings teachers reported on the progress in their classroom, and discussed strategies for teaching the key technology competencies and making changes within the present structure. Interclass moderation of student work ensures that all teachers have the same expectations and are assessing consistently against agreed assessment criteria. Student feedback, both written and verbal, was very positive. Data collected at the beginning and end of the year showed that student understanding of technology had improved considerably.
During each term, students were assessed using a set of achievement criteria based on the components of practice and the specified domain knowledge and skills. Reports showing student achievement were sent home at the end of each term.
At the end of the year parents were given a comprehensive document showing achievement over the whole year. In previous years there were individual term reports. A term 4 teacher could change a term 2 grade if, for example, a student's brief development had improved.
Carol noted that while they have always had great support from senior management, one of the unexpected outcomes has been the buy-in from everyone at the school.