• Article

New diagnostic classroom resources to find out what your Year 7s can do

Addressing two years of disrupted schooling, Checkpoints activities will help you to formatively assess understanding of key topics

New diagnostic classroom resources to find out what your Year 7s can do
  • Published: 27/08/2021

NCETM Checkpoints are ten-minute classroom activities specifically designed for students starting Year 7 in 2021, with optional accompanying online CPD sessions for teachers.

If you are teaching Year 7 maths this year, you may well be thinking about how to understand and cater for the range of mathematical capabilities you will find in your classroom in September.

The cancellation of SATs means you may have less information about prior attainment, and we know that Year 7 students will have had their final two years of primary school disrupted by Covid.

What will you do to assess what your students know and can do, before launching into material you're due to cover with Year 7? Secondary teachers often want to know more about how students learn maths at primary school – these resources explain and build upon primary school learning.

Rather than sitting Year 7 down to formal assessments in their first weeks at secondary school, what if you presented your class with this problem, to get them stuck into some maths, talking about maths, and allowing you to assess how well they understand place value:

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And what if activities such as this were supported by information about prior learning from the primary curriculum, and future learning in the secondary curriculum?

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Checkpoints is a new resource from the NCETM, designed specifically to support Year 7 transition. Each ten-minute task can be used for formative assessment, and there are suggestions for follow up activities if you find gaps in learning.

There are also ideas for supporting and challenging students that need it, and suggestions of representations you might use to build conceptual understanding:

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There will be enough Checkpoint activities published so that you can use three per week with your students, prior to starting Year 7 topics.

Each PowerPoint slide deck also contains additional activities for use as follow-up where required. Here’s an additional activity from the Place Value slide deck:

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And a Checkpoint from the Properties of Number set:

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Here’s a Checkpoint activity you might use to explore multiples:

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And one you might use for looking at square numbers:

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In addition to creating the PowerPoints, the NCETM Secondary Team has begun running online professional development sessions to support use of the Checkpoints activities. You can still sign up for these.

Early research (summarised by the EEF) suggests that the disadvantage gap has increased markedly during the pandemic, and there has long been an academic ‘dip’ associated with transition. NCETM Checkpoints and associated CPD are designed to address this.

Schools are also being encouraged to work on maths with their feeder primary schools throughout the year, through the expansion of the Maths Hubs Years 5-8 Continuity project that has already been running successfully for a number of years. Teachers from associated schools can work together to understand each other’s phases and build better understanding of what students experience through the transition.

Visit the Checkpoints webpage where you can download the activities and sign up for the online CPD.

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