Tag Archives: Progress

Blog of the Week: 1 November 2019 – The curriculum as progression model

Clio et cetera

What does it mean to get better at history? One of the problems we have in answering this question is that history is an incredibly diverse discipline: there are thousands of possible things that one might legitimately study at school. In one school pupils might be learning 18th-century French history, but in the next town pupils might never study this, and instead learn about 15th-century Italy. In one school pupils might learn about analysing monastic records from the eleventh century, yet pupils in another school might never encounter this source material, and instead focus on analysing Cromwell’s speeches in Parliament in the 1650s. To get better at history, you have to have learnt a sufficient number of things, but very few of those things can be understood as strictly necessaryin the sense that someone has to have studied them in order to be understood as…

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Blog of the Week: 29 March 2019 – What to do after a mock? Assessment, sampling, inferences and more

A Chemical Orthodoxy

A common question in the #CogSciSci email group is what to do after students have done an assessment or a mock. Most commonly, people spend a lesson “going over” the paper, where the teacher goes through each question and students make corrections. There’s often some accompanying document for students (or teachers) to fill in tallying their errors in particular sections. Highlighting is normally involved. Personally, I don’t think this approach is hugely beneficial (for the time spent on it) and below I will explain why I think this and conclude with what I do.

Student psychologyproblems

The first thing to note is what is going through the students’ heads when you go over a test. Likelihood is, they aren’t really paying attention to the feedback, and are more focussed on the grade or score they got. In my experience this is because they are any of:

1) just plain upset and…

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Blog of the Week: 22 June 2018 – What if we cannot measure pupil progress?

Becky Allen

Testing and recording what students know and can do in a subject has always been part of our education system, especially in secondary schools where teachers simply cannot hold in their head accurate information about the hundreds of students they encounter each week. However, measuring progress – the change in attainment between two points in time – seems to be a rather more recent trend. The system – headteachers, inspectors, advisors – often wants to measure something quite precise: has a child learnt enough in a subject this year, relative to other children who had the same starting point?

The talks I have given recently at ResearchED Durrington and Northern Rocks set out why relatively short, standardised tests that are designed to be administered in a 45-minute/one hour lesson are rarely going to be reliable enough to infer much about individual pupil progress. There is a technical paper and a

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Blog of the Week: 27 April 2018 – Going data naked

primarytimerydotcom

Numbers don’t actually exist. There is no actual number three somewhere. It is not a thing. There is just ‘threeness’, a relationship between things that we learn to recognise; that this small cluster of cubes is similar to that small cluster of counters in a way we learn to call ‘three’.  The cubes themselves are not three; we declare their threeness when they are associated together in a certain way.  We learn what three means through repeated exposure to clusters exemplifying this relationship and thus come to learn what three and not-three look like.  But there is no spatiotemporally locatable prototype ‘three’ against which all other instances of three can be verified.

Pupil progress is a bit like that.  We tend to act as if ‘Progress’ is a real, tangible thing that really exists. Worse than that, we even believe that we can measure it.  This is an illusion.

It…

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