So what?

So... when you find out  - what are you going to do about it? So much teacher time is being spent hand-wringing about how we measure kids' progress. National standards, learning progressions, Asttle, PAT, 6 year net, running records, exemplars... the list goes on. Nationally we are developing an unhealthy obsession with how we 'weigh the pig' when good farmers always look to how we 'should fatten the pig'.

 This week I sat in one one of the best and most effective teacher meetings. The teachers were not debating which assessment tool to use, or trying to invent a new one. They were just getting on with working out new practical ideas for lifting  achievement. By whatever means, every month children at our school are identified as being at risk of not achieving. This identification on its own will not help the children concerned. What will make a difference is the ideas and strategies these teachers give each other while examining the children's actual work.

We don't automatically reach for the current fashionable range of technocratic solutions (more WALTS won't help these kids). All ideas are considered, and tried. If these ideas don't work the same kids will be back on the table next month. Good teachers don't keep trying the same thing if it is not working. There is no one recipe for educational success which fits all kids - sorry 'formulaic teaching' lovers, it is not as simple as that. The only thing that will reach all kids is a set of ever-changing approaches and ideas. Good teaching can't be bottled or recorded as a recipe. We have to do the hard yards every few weeks (together in teams) to constantly look for another way when the previous ways don't work.

How is teachers’ time best spent? Protesting about, or debating, the best way of measuring how kids are doing? Or just rolling up our sleeves and looking at actual work samples and sharing ideas on how to move the children on? If we collectively spent more hours doing what the teachers in this picture are doing rather than designing and re-designing ways of measuring progress we might actually make some progress.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more. That's why I'm looking for a new school. For my second year I'd like to teach, something I felt I never had the time to do because I was too busy ticking hundreds of boxes, filling in spreadsheets, and colour coding everything, it was all about assessment.