On Friday 8 December, 1,300 teachers from across the Ark network came together for the first Network Day of the academic year. Ark's Head of Secondary Curriculum and Assessment, Jasper Green, explains more...
What’s a Network Day?
A Network Day is a unique opportunity for teachers from all Ark schools to collaborate and share best practice. The day helps us to create a common approach to assessment, standardisation and moderation, meaning that individual schools and teachers can accurately assign age-related grades to our students' work. For essay-based subjects, such as English or history, teachers bring along essays that their pupils have written so they can discuss and compare quality and agree on grades. In other subjects, like maths, science and music, teachers use common material to standardise marking and then moderate judgements by double marking each other's papers. We then use these marks to generate age-related grade boundaries for our schools.
Why hold Network Days?
Network Days provide a unique opportunity for over 1,000 teachers from 35 schools, in different locations and different contexts, to come together to look at the work of more than 23,000 pupils. This matters because it helps teachers to look beyond their own context and develop an understanding of what great student work looks like. Not only does this inform how you teach your subject but it also improves how you assess it – both in the classroom and through written exams, performances and student work. This ensures that teachers and school leaders have access to accurate grades that can be compared across departments and schools, allowing best practice to be identified and shared.
What’s the impact?
Since launching in December 2016, the Network Days have helped our teachers to feel more confident about awarding grades. The validity of our internal data is improving and we are now using information from common assessments to inform specific next steps in the classroom through detailed question level analysis; this is hard to achieve when individual schools work alone. It’s also helping us to develop subject communities as sessions on the day are led by subject experts from across the network. Network Days are one of the most powerful forms of professional development; they're subject specific, they link together curriculum, assessment and teaching and learning, and they are totally focused on improving student outcomes by developing teacher expertise.
Network Days by numbers
Last year, our Network Days were…
- hosted at 6 schools
- covered 18 subjects, including primary
- attended by over 1,300 teachers
- collected over 34,000 data points
Teachers at Ark schools receive high-quality training, development and opportunities throughout their whole career. To find out more about working for Ark, visit arkonline.org/careers.