Cognitive levelling

More than a month after my last post and I am back at my desk looking at cognitive levelling this week and the research that has been done into this area, or not, as the case may be. This seems a more recent area of research in the field of children.

As well as estimating the age at which a child can be reasonably expected to do something, say ‘Can tell the time in clock hours e.g. It’s nine o’clock.’ I have been trying to band the abilities into four areas: open (age 6 upwards), 7 or older, 9 or older and 11 or older. This is still very much up for discussion as so much happens around the age of ten when more abstract thinking and understanding come into play. For instance, when should children be expected to write a well-constructed paragraph with a topic sentence, main body and final sentence?

I hope to answer that question more expertly as this week goes by.



Well, our talk went down well at IATEFL and I am now back at my desk getting ready for the next stage of the Learning objectives for YLs project. This will be to reorder the descriptors to create a logical set and to incorporate the feedback from reviewers and either rewrite descriptors or send them for further analysis. I also need to assign a cognitive level to the descriptors, which will be quite a challenge. I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into the job, so to speak, and will keep you updated.

Getting ready for IATEFL

I am finalising the presentation that I will be co-presenting with Mike Mayor from Pearson at this year’s UK IATEFL conference. It is about whether the Common European Framework can be adapted for use with Young Learners. I have heard back from Szilvia Papp (Cambridge English), Shelagh Rixon (freelance), Marianne Nikolov (Hungary) and Angela Hasselgreen (Norway) about recent research into this field and will be talking about this. More news soon.

YL can-do descriptors for rating

I have just finished the second day of selecting can-do descriptors from a list of new and adapted ones to be sent out for rating. It involves carefully selecting descriptors that fill gaps in the current syllabus.

I will be co-presenting a workshop on this at this year’s IATEFL conference so come and find out more. We’re on in the morning on the Monday.

YL descriptors – progress update

After a week visiting family, I have settled back into the daily routine. I have now finished content mapping all seven levels of a Primary course, and have now moved into the next phase of the project which is to pull out all of the new and adapted YL descriptors I and my fellow content mappers have created. Interesting if slightly gruelling work.

It’s now just over a month to IATEFL where I will be presenting on the YL can-do descriptors project so come and see me doing my thing in Manchester on the morning of Monday 13th April.

As February approaches…

I am now splitting my time between content mapping a Primary course for Pearson and writing revised Primary test material, again for Pearson. On Monday I’m meeting my contacts at this publisher to plan my IATEFL workshop on how we have gone about producing can do descriptors for Pearson’s YL syllabus. Interesting times and I am enjoying it.

YLs content mapping

I have dedicated most of today to content mapping a higher level of a Primary course. Basically it involves looking at each activity in the Pupil’s and Activity Books and assigning them a can-do statement or creating a new or adapted can-do statement to describe what the children have to be able to do to successfully do the activities. It’s fascinating work, but seeing as it involves toggling between two spreadsheets for most of the day any light relief, like the writing of this blog, comes as welcome relief.