The Kingsway School uses concept mapping as one of many summative and formative assessment tools to assess pupils’ ability to think hard and to make links between complex ideas in their learning at Key Stage 3 in History, English and across the curriculum as a whole through the acquisition of interlinked powerful knowledge.
History at Key Stage 3 is delivered in a chronological manner but throughout the curriculum, teachers focus on making conceptual links between recurring ideas and concepts such as power, society and political ideologies. Much of the summative assessment in History is done through formal opportunities for extended writing but concept mapping is used alongside this to assess how well students can grapple with complex ideas, make conceptual links between across different historical eras and bring together related ideological strands without the restrictions of an examination mark scheme.
Conceptual thinking sits at the very top of the English Literature GCSE mark scheme and is often explored through the study of the social and historical contexts of literary texts. The English Key Stage 3 curriculum is designed thematically with conceptual links between the texts in each year group. Much of summative assessment when studying literary texts at Key Stage 3 is done through formal opportunities for extended writing but concept mapping is used alongside this to assess how well students consider the ways modern literary texts can be linked thematically, ideologically and stylistically to Literary Heritage Texts.
All subjects at Key Stage 3 go beyond the requirements of The National Curriculum and provide students with 'powerful knowledge' in relation to three key strands: the historical significance of subject disciplines; diverse representation in each field and the political significance of each area of study. Concept mapping is used to assess pupils' ability to make conceptual links between the powerful knowledge they encounter in each subject area and to encourage them to see the acquisition of knowledge across the curriculum as interlinked through complex 'big picture' thinking.
Linking ‘Complex’ Ideas
“Staff are always thinking of new ways to provide a stimulating and ambitious curriculum. At its best, such as in Art and English, the curriculum is very strong. Here, pupils are inspired by their learning. They have opportunities to think hard and tackle complex ideas.” Ofsted 2020