10 Assessments You Can Perform In 90 Seconds Good assessment is frequent assessment. Any assessment is designed to provide a snapshot of student understand—the more snapshots, the more complete the full picture of knowledge. On its best day, an assessment will be 100% effective, telling you exactly what a student understands. More commonly, the return will be significantly lower as the wording of questions, the student’s sense of self-efficacy, or other factors diminish their assessment performance. It sounds obvious, but a student is a human being with an entire universe of personal problems, distraction, and related challenges in recalling the information in the form the assessment demands. This makes a strong argument for frequent assessment, as it can be too easy to over-react and “remediate” students who may be banging against the limits of the assessment’s design rather than their own understanding. Simple Assessments The word “simple” here is misleading. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Draw what you do understand. 10.
The Best Assessment Apps for Teachers and Education Teachers must assess and observe student progress every day – no matter what the subject. Mobile apps make this easier than ever, enabling teachers to harness the incredible power of real time observation and instant results. We selected some of the best assessment apps to assist you in observing and assessing student learning. Most of them are free – so try them out today! Image courtesy of Education Plus. 1. Price: Free Resource Type: App Available at: App Store and Google Play We can see why NearPod was awarded the Edtech Digest Award in 2012. Teachers -> Are you using the “Nearpod” app to allow students to interact from iPads to your Smartboards? 2. Price: £1.49 (App Store); £0.65 (Google Play) Available at: App Store and Google Play It can be hard to rely on memory to assess how much students have learned – particularly for large groups. 3. Resource Type(s): App Available at: App Store Looking for an alternative to clumsy classroom clickers? 4. Resource Type(s): App and associated website
Anglican Schools Partnership Effective Feedback | EEF Projects The project This pilot project focused on improving teachers’ understanding and use of effective feedback. Participating teachers tried to incorporate feedback into their lessons to help pupils understand their learning goals and become able to develop strategies to reach them. Existing international research suggests that improving the quality of feedback in the classroom has the potential to improve learning significantly. The pilot evaluation had three aims. Key conclusions Effective feedback has shown promise in previous studies, but this evaluation demonstrates that improving feedback consistently is challenging. What did the pilot find? The approach is feasible and there are some indications of promise. Many teachers found it difficult to understand the academic research papers which set out the principles of effective feedback and distinguished between different types of feedback. The pilot produced valuable formative information for a potential future project.
Using Critique to develop an ethic of excellence Quite a few twitter followers have been asking me about how do we get such beautiful work from our students and others have been asking me to share ideas about critique. I have to say, there is a multitude of great blogs and useful videos on this subject, but here is some advice which I live by. Establishing a really clear, co-constructed success criteria for ongoing work is absolutely essential for students to have a platform for effective critique and a view of excellence. This can be effectively done in two ways. Exemplar work of excellence. By using exemplar work of excellence from previous students, you can pick out the key criteria for work of excellence. First timers, make sure you know what excellence looks like. If it is a new project, then the teacher should create all the elements of the learning themselves to provide a benchmark from which to agree the criteria. Learning on the Job. As teachers, we are, or at least we should be the greatest exponents of this. SOLO Taxonomy So.
My butterfly: the sentence escalator This week’s post is my response to two excellent blog posts I read last week: Alex Quigley’s – here – and Tom Sherrington’s – here. Both posts discussed Ron Berger’s ‘ethic of excellence‘, pointing out the incredible potential of Berger’s approach to redrafting, feedback and resilience. Both posts also urged readers to watch the ‘Austin’s Butterfly’ video which exemplifies Berger’s approach: ‘Austin’s Butterfly’ was a revelation to me, the equivalent of a teaching epiphany. The gauntlet had been thrown down – I knew I had to respond right away in my own classroom. So this week I have invented and developed what I am going to dub ‘The Sentence Escalator’, a way of transforming unstructured verbal feedback into lovingly and diligently crafted sentences. The initial verbal comment is moulded into shape, extended-upon – or both – in a way that involves the whole class. Here is how my year 9s ‘escalated’ a sentence when writing from the perspective of a WW2 soldier: 1. 1. So, there you go.
Getting feedback right Part 2: How do we provide clarity As discussed in yesterday’s post, I am currently working on the assumption that there are only 3 meaningful purposes of feedback: To provide clarityTo increase pupils’ effortTo increase pupils’ aspiration I had planned to discuss how we might go about giving each of these kinds of feedback in one post, but on reflection it seems sensible to divide the how of giving feedback into 3 separate posts which will discuss each process in detail. So, first off is providing clarity. So here’s my tentative solution. We all know that pupils’ self assessment is often rubbish, we let’s prevent them from writing meaningless descriptive comments about how they feel about their work and instead let’s make them proofread, error check and highlight the areas where they feel uncertain or where they might have taken a risk. I realise there is a weakness here: what about those errors which pupils make unknowingly, or in the belief they are right? Feedback to provide clarification Like this: Like Loading...
Getting feedback right Part 1 – Why do we give it It’s become a truism that feedback is the most important activity that teachers engage in. Feedback, we are repeatedly told, is tremendously powerful and therefore teachers must do more of it. Certainly Hattie, the Sutton Trust and the EEF bandy about impressive effect sizes, but the evidence of flipping through a pupil’s exercise book suggests that the vast majority of what teachers write is ignored or misunderstood. Teachers’ feedback can certainly have a huge impact but it’s a mistake to believe that this impact is always positive. I written in detail about marking and the power of Directed Improvement Reflection Time. The point he makes is that teachers’ feedback often has unintended consequences; if we’re not careful, it may have the exact opposite result to what we intended. To provide clarity – most mistakes are made because pupils are unclear on precisely what they should be doing. Getting feedback right Part 2: How do we provide clarity? Like this: Like Loading...
Getting feedback right Part 3: How can we increase pupils’ effort I started to explore how we might make feedback more meaningful a few weeks back but then got sidetracked. If you haven’t already looked at them, it might be worth spending a few moments on Part 1 (which discusses the different purposes for giving feedback) and Part 2 (which looks at how to increase pupils’ understanding) before reading any further. Right. Tragically, far too many pupils would rather be seen as lazy than stupid. But we know not true, don’t we? In Embedded Formative Assessment, Dylan Wiliam explores the effects of effort in forensic detail and synthesises the results of many different studies to arrive at some sensible conclusions. Butler (1987) in Embedded Formative Assessment p 110 What would seem clear from this is that if our feedback is to have any impact on learning it must be directed at the task rather than at the pupil themselves. Dweck posited that our perceptions of success or failure are dependent of three factors: Like this: Like Loading...
Top 5 Ways to Explain - badly... There have been some fantastic blogs appearing recently on what seems a bafflingly marginalised topic in much teacher training and INSET: the techniques and strategies behind constructing clear, effective and memorable explanations. Having taught lower attaining English GCSE groups for the last five years, I've gained plenty of experience in the challenges of constructing effective explanations. Many of the students I've taught have not been well-equipped to independently resolve ambiguity in the explanations that they hear, so I've had to learn to move in the direction of clarity and focus, improving the quality of my explanations in various ways. I don't feel I've got much to add to the increasing body of advice in this area, beyond promoting blogs like this from Andy Tharby on analogy, this and this from David Didau and Tom Sherrington on explanation generally, and this from Alex Quigley on the power of metaphor. 1 - Assumed knowledge that they didn't have.
Marking: Boulder or Butterfly? | Ariadne's Thread Open book, read, tick, turn page, read, write comment, tick, tick, read, correct capital letters, tick, tick, correct spelling mistake, turn page, write comment, stamp, close book, next. And repeat. Thirty times. Then thirty more. Then thirty more. Marking a set of books can make any teacher feel like Sisyphus, the Greek king condemned to a life of pushing a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down again and repeat forever. Mountainous marking. Below is a photograph of one of the first books I ever marked, back in September 2011. Poor Jake: I don’t think he really deserved that. On Monday, I took the books into school and proudly distributed them to my students. I worked out that I had spent roughly 10 minutes on each book. That’s one heck of a ratio. 10 minutes to 2 minutes! Marking Miscalculation My school’s policy stated that books should be marked once a fortnight. This, I realised, is the first problem with marking. Writing out detailed comments takes time. Like this:
8.4 The Self Directed Feedback | Nothing to see here ... So this lesson was supposed to be the least scary of all of them but with the most potential to fall on its face. It’s actually provided me with the most progress. Having picked up some bits and pieces from @kevbartle about the taxonomy of errors (but by no means to the same level of sophistication) I have developed some resources to use with pupils around deepening their thinking around feedback and target setting. With this class I will be trialling giving feedback on four levels: 1: Long Term Challenge that involves extended learning over a period of weeks including work in and out of lessons. 2: Short Term Challenge that gives a target to develop a specific skill which may take a sequence of lessons or some revision to complete. 3: Quick Fix which can be met within a very short time frame (e.g. same lesson or within a “quick fix” starter) 4: Unacceptable Errors which will be corrected there and then and not repeated. I was really impressed. So … Onwards and upwards! Like this:
Adventures with gallery critique In last weekend’s post, I argued that there might be more efficient and meaningful ways of providing feedback than standard book-marking. As such, I have been experimenting with ‘gallery critique’, an idea gleaned from Ron Berger’s An Ethic of Excellence and David Didau’s excellent post on the strategy. In truth, I have always been dubious of the claims made of peer-assessment, especially in essentially qualitative subjects such as English. However well – or badly – I train students to critique one-another, two nagging doubts have never ceased to plague me. First, a student is always always dependent on the ability and commitment of the person they are paired with – some children will receive poorer feedback than others. Second, students naturally place more trust in teacher-feedback than peer-feedback – and why shouldn’t they? Gallery critique, however, is a much more seductive option because students receive feedback from a range of others. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Like this:
Celebrating Excellence As a school we’ve been thinking a great deal about developing a growth mindset with our students and staff. There’s been a lot of discussion on twitter around mindset recently, some positive and some not so. In my mind the principles around growth mindset are pretty solid and in no way gimmicky. Have high expectations of what they can achieve and be inspired by the success of others.Accept that hard work and effort is needed to master new ideas and achieve excellence.Accept that they need to be resilient and so keep going when things get tough. I struggle to see how anyone could argue against these. This week, inspired by Pete Jones, we’ve unveiled our ‘Wall of Excellence’, to put these principles into action. In his brilliant book, ‘An Ethic of Excellence’, Ron Berger sets out the following factors for establishing a culture of excellence in a school: Our wall facilitates this perfectly. This is what it looks like: Is it possible to ‘go beyond our best’? “I expect them all to get an A.