GCSE English video assessment explained

When video evidence became a compulsory requirement of the PE curriculum, it seemed a natural fit, as being a practical subject, it lends itself well to this type of documentation. However, when Ofqual mandated video assessment and evidence in the GCSE English Spoken Language component, a few eyebrows were raised. Having had over a year to get used to the new requirement, schools are now preparing themselves to take on the new and potentially very challenging process.

Most of us carry a video camera around with us at all times; often this comes in the shape of a mobile phone. Video blogging has become a way of life for many of our students; they enjoy documenting their lives and expressing themselves, with most of their vlogs (video blogs) uploaded to social media. Teachers may not regularly engage with video blogging, but I believe this is soon going to change, as this dynamic medium could be utilised across every subject. However, it raises some interesting questions:

  • Are children more comfortable in front of a camera than sitting in silence in a hall with a ticking clock?
  • Are we looking for both quantitative and qualitative assessment?
  • Are we ready for flipped learning in schools?
  • How will teachers prepare themselves for new processes?
  • The process may seem straightforward, but there are some tips that will help avoid a poorly shot video and elongated lengthy filming schedule.

Firstly, ideally, you’ll want to video each pupil in one take as 100 pupils times five minutes each totals 8.3 hours of filming. Clearly, it’s another five minutes to review each videos, and where you think a retake might be needed an additional five minutes will need to be included. That’s a hefty amount of time spent filming!

Ensuring you can capture a shot first time is going to save a lot of time, so here are some ways you can ensure you’ve set up the shot perfectly:

Always use a tripod.  You can buy these for under £10. An iPad holder will be roughly the same price. You could use a microphone or music stand with an iPad holder.

Always shoot in landscape.  This is a common mistake as people are so used to using their phone in portrait. Footage is often viewed on a computer screen and so screen sizes vary.

Framing the shot – Rule of thirds. This will create a consistent and comfortable viewing scenario.

Quality. The digital zoom function on tablets sometimes makes the picture grainy so move the tripod until your subject fills the frame instead.

Resolution. What is an acceptable resolution? What level is good enough for what you require? Most devices by default create very large file sizes that can mean the process of copying off or sharing is laborious and slow.

Sound. If you’re using a tablet and filming individual pupils, you’ll probably be near enough to get a decent sound level. If you’re further away and trying to capture 3 pupils, you might need to use a separate mic and adaptor. Find a location that doesn’t have too many extraneous noises and put up notices that let people know you’re filming. You may look for external microphones from Sennheiser (via the Apple store) or Rode

Light. Most devices can adapt to low light, but the image can become grainy. A well-lit room would be preferable.

Taking the video is only half of the process. Once you’ve captured your video you’ll need to upload it, catalogue it and then share it with the exam board, which can be a lengthy process. There are two ways of doing this: manually or through a platform that automates the process.

Manual process. Connect the tablet/video camera to your PC and upload to a pre-named folder in your school’s network. A file name will be generated by the device and will bear no relation to your pupil so, in order to catalogue the videos, you have two choices:

  1. Create a spreadsheet that cross-references between the file name and the pupil details.
  2. Manually rename the file names.

Remember that if you used more than one device to video the pupils (i.e. you split the filming between several teachers), there will be different file names for each device and you’ll have to take a look at the videos to identify the pupil.

To share the videos with the exam board, you can burn your samples for submission onto a DVD or copy them to a portable memory stick/USB stick and send them in the post with the accompanying spreadsheet.

Automated process. A dedicated platform cuts time and effort out of the process by simplifying the uploading and sharing elements. You’ll still have to stand behind the camera for 5 mins however, there’s no way around that! If you have access to one of the 900,000 iPads in UK schools or even your own iOS device (within your school’s safeguarding policies), you can download an app that will sort out the upload process. Selecting a project on the app directs each video to a dedicated folder on the platform via WiFi – no manual uploading is required. You can also name the file and add any other comments on the app. Log into the platform, select the project folder and you’ll see all the videos, named and ready to go. To share these with the exam board, simply drag your sample videos to a collection, and press share. This generates a secure email link that you email to the exam moderator.

More uses here http://www.schoolvid.com