What do they know?

I wrote recently about the mess that I felt our department’s assessment system was in. Since the introduction of the new specification at GCSE, and the removal of National Curriculum levels at KS3, I feel we have lost sight of what we are assessing for. I may be speaking too soon, but I think I…

How do we assess?

Every year, at about this time, I start dreaming about all the things I’ll get done during Term 6 when my exam classes have gone. With both Year 13 and Year 11 heading off I should actually get a reasonable amount of time to get stuck in to something and this year is a biggie.…

Giving Feedback

I think one of the biggest changes I have seen in teaching over the last 14 years has been to feedback. We have moved through flick and tick to AfL, dialogue marking came (and already start to go), from commenting on effort to setting every  pupil specific targets, from correcting all spelling mistakes to highlighting…

The Curse of the Red Pen

I don’t want to get all “John Lennon” on you, but I’d like to ask you to imagine something for me. Imagine there’s no OFSTED, it isn’t hard to do. No lesson observation, and no grading too. Imagine all the teachers, teaching how they chose. If that was the case, if there was no one…

Targeting… what?

It doesn’t seem very long ago that “pupils should know their target grade and how to get there” was an article of faith. For the first decade of my teaching I was told that this was absolutely critical and that not an OFSTED inspector in the land would miss the opportunity to jump on little…

Targeting Teachers 

Twitter is a funny thing. Usually you (or at least, I) send out a thought which sparks a bit of a discussion, gets a few likes, might be retweeted and then it moves. Once in a while though something seems to capture people’s imagination and one has to turn off notifications and have a quiet…

Scaffolding -creating and sharing criteria

We have been thinking a lot about scaffolding recently. How do we best ensure that all pupils can achieve the same outcomes and that these outcomes are excellent? One method we use to achieve this is the creating and sharing of success criteria. My Year 8 class were completing an assessed piece of work at…