Expert meeting, 20-21 January 2011

The AYLLIT activity in 2010 was dominated by our two planned events: a network meeting in April and the Central workshop in September.
Unfortunately the volcanic ash cloud prevented the network meeting from taking place. This was a great disappointment for the team and the 16 teachers who were scheduled to participate. However, with a great deal of help from ECML, we managed to organize an on-line activity. This involved the assessment of pieces of pupils’ writing, using the AYLLIT descriptors. The work was done in three phases, to give participants training in using the descriptors. We began with texts provided by the AYLLIT team, and finished with texts provided by the participants themselves.
The Central workshop suffered no such setbacks, and went ahead in September with success. The separate report on this describes the workshop in some detail. It can be added that an on-line writing assessment was also carried out as a follow up to this workshop, with participants sending in and assessing each other’s texts in both English and French.

AYLLit Meeting and Workshop

The main event of our project, the central workshop, was held on 9-10 September, 2010, and attended by 30 participants. The principal aims were to present the results of our work to the participants, to adjust the material for assessing writing, and to work further on the guidelines for assessing reading ability using graded readers for young learners. Much of the time was used in working with our CEFR-linked writing descriptors and benchmarks. The participants worked in groups, first getting a ‘feel’ of the descriptors, then assessing pupils’ texts they had brought to the workshop from home. There was high consensus regarding levels of texts, and a fruitful discussion yielded suggestions for refining the descriptors further. The presentation of our method for assessing children’s story-reading level was followed by a lively discussion; the team had to work hard to convince the participants of its benefits! We finally attempted to draft descriptors for story reading in children. This exercise highlighted the difficulties involved! We finished by making a follow-up plan, which will primarily involve using the revised descriptors and benchmarks in an on-line process, whereby participants, in groups of about 6, will send in and assess pupils’ texts. The feedback received by the participanst was very encouraging and confirmed the team's appraisal of the workshop as very useful and motivating for us all.

Workshop in Graz, 9-10 September 2010

Information for workshop participants: please click here

We have continued our work in assessing reading and writing in schools in Norway, Spain, Lithuania and Slovenia. The main event was our expert meeting in September, described in detail below. The pupils from all four countries have continued to send writing to each other. We have approached a number of teachers from a range of countries outside our own, and recommended that these, as well as our project teachers’ to the Network meeting in April.

Expert meeting, 17-18 September 2009

The AYLLIT expert group had a two day meeting in Graz 17-18 September. Our main aims were to:

  • work with pupils’ texts from the 4 countries to adjust our descriptors of writing;
  • draw on our experiences with assessing reading to draft guidelines for assessing this;
  • plan the Central Workshop in September 2010, and to agree on the format of our publication.

We had a very challenging, interesting and generally successful meeting. The pupils’ writing was a wonderful source of material for adapting our writing descriptors. We have refined these, even adding a lower level ‘approaching A1’. For the reading we are working on guidelines for assessing reading, using graded readers, which will give useful diagnostic feedback as well as helping teachers to place pupils’ reading on the CEFR.

We have planned activities through the year which will allow the pupils in the project schools to continue writing to each other, and their teachers to assess their progress and give them constructive feedback.

We have worked out a plan for the Central Workshop which will allow teachers/teacher trainers to get a sound understanding of our material/methods and to try these out using their own pupils’ work and achievements.

The AYLLIT project is encouraging pupils to write and to read stories. Children in four countries are writing to each other, and being assessed on their first draft, using a scale of descriptors related to the CEFR, but adapted for young learners. Books (graded reading stories) are being read, and teachers are trialling a method of coding, which we hope will eventually be usable to assess the level of reading pupils are currently at, and ultimately to relate this to the CEFR. What we are working on should make it easier for teachers to identify the stages their pupils are passing through in their reading and writing, and to give them suitable and motivating tasks and material to work with.

First expert meeting, 19-20 June 2008

Ayllit team photo

The first expert meeting of the AYLLIT was held at the ECML, Graz, 19-20 June 2008, with the main aim that the project members be familiarized with each other, the ECML and the project itself. The ‘forerunning’ project (in Bergen) has now been in action for 1 year, and an essential part of the meeting was for the coordinator to present the methods, materials and provisional outcomes of this project to the team, and receive feedback from them. It was also important to learn about the role of the ECML in the project, the kind of support they offer, and what is expected from us in return. The first morning of the meeting was spent on ECML-related  issues. As it was agreed thatthe next expert meeting should be held in September 2009, it was essential that we planned how to proceed until then, and to some extent beyond. Most of the two days were, therefore, spent dealing with this. A detailed workplan was produced, and the procedures for working on the two main strands of the project, reading and writing, were worked out.


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