Life After Levels – An Assessment Revolution?   

A really interesting read on life after levels as always by Stephen Tierney Executive Headteacher – let me know what you think!


Over recent months I’ve been involved in interviews for a number of posts across the Multi Academy Trust.  One of our favourite questions has been, “What will assessment look like once levels are dead?”  The answers have on the whole been a bit confused. 

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Dear Assessment Commissioners…

A very insightful blog on the new assessment commission/ers. If you have time the links are worth following. Tim.

Ramblings of a Teacher

Today we found out who would be on the new Assessment Commission to support schools, and I’ll confess to being slightly disappointed. Not just because I wanted to be on it (any opportunity to make people listen to me!), but because having been promised a teacher-led commission, there isn’t a single practising teacher on the commission. Headteachers are all well and good, but the reality is that very few headteachers have direct responsibility for assessment; I’m not suggesting for a second that they don’t have a place on the commission, but someone who has actual daily responsibility for working with the ins-and-outs of assessment in the classroom seems to me a glaring omission.

I’m also disappointed that despite the primary sector making up 2/3rds of the relevant year groups for which assessment without levels, and the fact that levels was the basis of our statutory end-of-school assessment, the sector seems rather poorly…

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Revision… – @ASTSupportaali

Another revision post by @ASTSupportaali which I hope you find useful


*UPDATED* March 2015…

I am no expert! I am not basing these ideas of MINE on research/theories (that I have read) but on the students that I have taught and the outcomes they have achieved. If you disagree, please do comment with how I can better my practice for the students I am responsible for.

Exam season- again!:

Time to wrap up our delivery of content, vital information, key facts, formulae, dates, people and so on. It is now time to focus (again/more) on ensuring students know everything and anything they will need in order to secure an excellent grade in the exam.

A-C grades are not the only grade our students need to achieve to be successful. Ensure your students know what their personal targets are?

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By definition revision is about updating, revamping, reworking, redrafting, rewriting and so on… It is important to note revision is…

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#TMCOOP presentation – Raising attainment at KS4.

An interesting post from Mr O’Callahan on grit and a growth mindset!


On Thursday 22nd May I presented some ideas at #TMCOOP about how to raise attainment at KS4. Below is a summary of my presentation.

Raising attainment at KS4.

I’ve noticed in my relatively short time of being a teacher that one of the overwhelmingly strongest indicators of how well a student achieves is effort. This may sound obvious. It is. Angela Duckworth discovered this in her research on GRIT (persistant effort towards a long term goal). If we want to do well at something that’s difficult it will require a huge amount of effort. How often do students not realise this until it is too late… “I wish I’d put more effort into revising.” When I look back over the past few years and analyse why some students have performed well at KS4 and some didn’t, the main differentiator is effort.


During last two terms I have attempted to build an ‘ethic of excellence’…

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A really useful blog post by Class Teaching on E-Learning and why its worth it – some handy tips if you are engaged in this:


What happens when a teacher uses technology in a lesson?

The responses were varied:

  • Students are entertained but are not always learning effectively.
  • It depends on how effectively it is used?
  • It can enhance learning as it gives them extra support.

All of which are perfectly valid.  The key thing to ask is ‘what knowledge & skills do I want the students to learn?’  Followed by ‘how might technology help them with this?’   Unfortunately it’s often done the other way round, with technology being used for the sake of it – if it’s not going to be useful, don’t use it!

Questions that are often raised about using technology in school

  • How do we know they are not being distracted when using their smart phones etc?
  • How do we know they are not viewing inappropriate content?
  • How can we eliminate competition in terms of ‘who’s got the best phone?’
  • How can we guard against inappropriate use of social networks?
  • It’s just ‘quick learning’ and so doesn’t support the struggle and grit required for learning.

The reality of this is that our concerns are probably over-amplified.  Smart-phone technology is a very normal part of their lives now and to be honest, if we can trust students to comply with our expectations in other aspects of school e.g. behaviour, focus during lessons etc, we should probably trust them to use their phones appropriately.  Expect them to use it appropriately – and then deal with those who don’t.


So, what can technology do?

  • Support literacy development – students writing blogs, is a great way for them to improve their writing skills.  Having a worldwide audience is a great incentive to produce high quality written work.  David Mitchell has done some fantastic work in this area, with quadblogging:
  • Enhance language acquisition – students can get access to high level reports, articles and websites on a range of topics and so give them access to high challenge, academic language.
  • Support high quality explanations – animations, video clips, historical documents and photos can allow us to bring explanations to life and make the abstract seem concrete.  For example, students are unlikely to ever see a volcano erupting in real life, but they can via you tube.
  • Access to information – this is fairly obvious. Students can access a wealth of information to support their learning.  It also allows you to share information with them – in a range of formats.
  • Supports learning – students can access past papers and a whole range of other tutorials and questions, that will allow them to practise what they have been doing in school.  They can also use technology at home to preview what they will be doing in the next lesson.
  • Enhances self-esteem – for those students who struggle with handwriting, using technology to prepare their work is an advantage.
  • Adds breadth – it allows students to find out more about the topics they are studying and follow their interests – takes the lid off their learning!

Pete had asked students about some of the uses of technology that they really don’t like doing in lessons.  They were:

  • Making posters on word or publisher – a very low demand activity.
  • Making powerpoints – again, low demand.
  • MyMaths – limited feedback and challenge.
  • ‘Do’ research – far too general.  The internet is a big place and hard to know what is reliable.
  • Typing answers to questions in word – low demand and pointless!

Some useful examples

The following is a list of useful resources that can be used to support the purposeful use of e-learning.

  • Edmodo – an online platform (like facebook) that allows teachers to set tasks and interact with students.
  • Use GoogleDocs to share documents with students.
  • Padlet is a great way of sharing resources with students.  Here’s how.
  • Drop box – useful for sharing documents.
  • EduBlog – set up blogs for your classes.
  • Socrative – make interactive quizzes and get feedback from students.
  • You tube – find videos on mostly everything!
  • Twitter – Set up a twitter account for your subject to support your students.  Here are some examples of how.
  • Prezi – a great presentation tool.
  • QR Codes – great video here of how to use these.
  • Podcasts – create podcasts for your students to listen to at any time.  Here’s how.
  • Create a wiki for your class e.g. all students can contribute to a revision page on a certain topic.

The use of technology is there as a tool for teachers, it should never be seen as a replacement for teachers.  It is there to support learning – it won’t make learning happen on it’s own.  The key is to think about how technology can support what you are doing with students, not determine what you do.

For further information, on purposeful e-learning, take a look at Mark Anderson’s site Education Evangelist.  The following graphic from Mark is a great summary of what purposeful e-learning is about:



I have collated some information on revision that has been taken from a number of places but specifically from Shaun Alison’s blog – if you have anything to add please let me know.

The information has been taken from this report – click on the revision tab for more info.

Revision picture