When marking pupils’ work, I have found that the main mistakes to appear are often the most basic of sentence structures that we teach from Primary 1. Missed full stops, capital letters in the middle of sentences and misspelled common words to name a few. I am currently teaching a Primary 4/5 class and these mistakes are still very much common-place in my pupils’ daily writing. It is for this reason that I formed the above question with my group who, despite teaching pupils from Primary 1 through to 7, had all found similar issues. Due to the broad range of age and ability in our classes we chose the term ‘core writing targets’ over specific targets, to allow each of us to choose age and stage appropriate targets for our pupils. For my own pupils, I chose to focus on misused capital letters, misused full stops, and spelling mistakes. As some pupils are working towards the end of the First level while others are beginning Second level, should have a good grasp of these concepts, and be able to apply these skills in their daily writing (Literacy Base, 2012; Literacy Base, 2012).
This issue of failing to meet core targets aligns with CfE Experiences and Outcomes, specifically, pupils should be able to ‘spell the most commonly used words’ (LIT 1-21a), ‘use appropriate punctuation’ (LIT 1-22a) by the end of Primary 4, and be beginning to work towards being able to ‘spell most of the words I need to communicate’ (LIT 2-21a), and ‘use appropriate punctuation’ (LIT 2-22a) by the end of Primary 5 (Education Scotland).
The aim of this enquiry is to assess and measure the impact, if any, of regularly referring to pupil’s core writing targets during lessons on the quality and accuracy of pupil’s written work.