Earlier this month, I wrote about how PAGS is a teacher’s best friend and recently I’ve been hearing from educational psychologists (EPs) and SENCos about the pitfalls of common assessment and monitoring tools and how PAGS® is a god-send.
Across the world, there are exasperated EPs and SENCos who are desperate for teachers to implement strategies to support SEN learners. Professional conflicts are happening in offices with teachers who don’t have the time or the resources to adopt more strategies to support their weakest learners. And in classrooms globally, there are teachers who are worried they are failing their neurodiverse learners. Each term, teachers are lugging folders to and from the SENCo’s office to discuss progress. More often than not, the progress is small; Jamie still hasn’t learnt his 2-, 5- and 10- times tables – despite being in Year 4, Mathilda in Year 2 can’t write her name because that sneaky ‘th’ doesn’t sound like a /th/ and Armit* is often spotted holding an adult’s hand during playtime because he can’t play nicely with his Year 6 peers.
What the National Curriculum (and other academic curriculums around the world) don’t account for is that Jamie hasn’t learnt his times tables because he has dyscalculia, Mathilda has speech and language complications and Armit cannot regulate his emotions. Their teachers know they’ve made progress, albeit in other subject areas or in other developmental steps (and so do the SENCos and the key adults who work with these children), but the data doesn’t account for this and these children become another number in a pool of statistics who didn’t reach ‘Mastery’ during the academic year.
This is where EdTech Lobby’s new partner, PAGS® (through Felser) comes in. PAGS® (Profile, Assessment and Goal Setting) is a comprehensive assessment tool that covers four areas:
- Communication and Interaction
- Cognition and Learning
- Social Interaction and Awareness.
PAGS® is accessible and flexible and works with all curriculums. By focusing on these four, core life-skills, ‘PAGS® gives neurodiverse learners the tools to navigate a neurotypical world,’ says Scilla Allen, a specialist assessor and SENCo in Kenya. Teachers can create profiles for neurodiverse learners by completing a short (guided) assessment or a more in-depth test to identify targets for Jamie, Mathilda and Armit. With targets in place, PAGS® suggests strategies the teacher (or key adults in the child’s life) can adopt to help them reach their goals. SENCos and EPs love PAGS® because it upskills their teachers – helping them discover appropriate and successful tactics to support SEN learners. Scilla told me that PAGS® ‘empowers teachers to work smarter not harder’. She’s been using PAGS® for about a year and advocates, ‘it’s not adding more to your plate – PAGS® takes things off your plate!’ With PAGS®, there’s no need for teachers to photocopy pieces of work for evidence or staple two million Post-its® into a folder quoting what a child has said – photos of work and notes of the learner’s voice can be attached to targets to evidence progress. This means that class teachers won’t bring folders, ILP documentation and scrappy bits of paper into review meetings – all that is needed is access to each child’s profile on pagsprofile.com.
The holistic approach fostered by PAGS® connects the key adults in a child’s life and threads monitoring and progress over the whole day. Mathilda has a speech and language therapist and a few TAs that work with her over the week – it’s easy for her class teacher and the other key adults in school to access her profile and input evidence, and her mum can see the progress and also add to it when Mathilda is home. Whilst it can be hard to coordinate a team around the child, multiple users can access the learner’s profile and parents can be guided in uploading evidence against targets. With clear visual data, SENCos and teachers can easily communicate progress and regression to parents and relevant parties.
Today, PAGS® is used with British, American and international curriculums and in all settings, children are showing huge progress. The crux of PAGS’® success is that it works on the life skills learners need and suggests strategies to get there.
Often, a lighter teacher-workload means happier teachers. Having happier teachers means better-engaged learners which enhances progress. And with progressing learners comes satisfied EPs and SENCos. To find out more about PAGS®, click here.
*all names have been changed.