As I travel around schools I am asked about independent and how independent writing should be.
There are many different interpretations of 'independent' writing in schools which has been demonstrated on our Facebook and Twitter pages this week.
The range is terrifying. I have spoke to teachers where no independent writing takes place, although staff think what they are delivering is independent writing. I have also spoken to teachers in schools in which independent writing is forced upon children at regular intervals whether they can do it or not!
I looked for governmental guidelines and found the following on the assessment guidelines from 2014. (Tap to englarge)
It clearly states what independent writing is and how there must be evidence of it in order to give a level or an assessment. It doesn't clearly explain though what independent writing actually is. One phrase I often here is 'Independent at the point of writing.' This is often used when teachers build up to a piece of writing and then tell the children to complete an extended piece based upon their learning, the phrase 'Hot writing' seems to becoming more and more prevalent too. However, if some schools are asking children to only write cold pieces for assessment and other schools are allowing teachers to have a lot of input immediately prior to the writing outcome are the children all on a level playing field?
The question is perhaps then how do we teach skills and then assess them afterwards? The answer maybe is a gap, a gap between the taught skills and then assessing them. The length of this gap depends on the age of the child.
I would love to hear your views on this, please share them in the comments below.