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A Plea to Heads of Maths and Senior Leaders (On Feedback & Marking)

A colleague of mine was leading our TSST (Teacher Subject Specialism Training – for non-specialists who find themselves teaching maths) course this afternoon and was brave enough to mention feedback.  We were chatting at the end of the day and he couldn’t believe the stories he’d just heard.  Mentioning marking and feedback in a room full of teachers from different schools is something I’ve learnt to avoid now, it’s one of the most agonising discussions I encounter.

Let’s make this clear from the start: the evidence of the efficacy of marking is scant (EEF).  Marking is not the same as feedback (Toby French) and the time it takes a teacher to mark a set of books is, most often, disproportionate to the effect that marking actually has on students’ progress (Michael Tidd).  Ofsted does not demand a particular type or frequency of marking (Alex Quigley), so no-one can say they are implementing an insane marking policy thanks to the inspectorate.

Here are some of the worst atrocities my colleague and I have heard: Continue reading “A Plea to Heads of Maths and Senior Leaders (On Feedback & Marking)”

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Disillusionment in Schools

This week’s “Most read” top ten on the TES homepage contains the following headlines:

“Teachers work more overtime than any other professionals, analysis finds”
“‘My heart sank when my husband said he wanted to retrain and join me in teaching'”
“‘I dread GCSE and A-level results day because I know my pupils’ results are likely to be flawed’”
“‘This is why running a school has become the impossible job…'”

It occurred to me that it’s very hard to go a day on Twitter without seeing a negative headline.  In truth there are a lot of very disillusioned teachers who like to read about others’ disillusionment.  I meet many such teachers when I do support work in schools and run courses.  I wonder what the main causes of disillusionment and frustration are?  Here’s my first draft list, there’s nothing surprising on here: Continue reading “Disillusionment in Schools”

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