Marking without grades

This is the literature review on p5 of this research report called “Focus on Formative Feedback”, published in 2007.

I’ve posted this so I can refer to it if anyone asks me where the evidence comes from next time I assert that students should not regularly have graded feedback!

In a nutshell:

  1. Meta-analyses have shown negative effects of feedback on student achievement in many cases
  2. This is if the feedback is, for example
    1. Seen as ‘critical’
    2. Linked to grades (that allow students to compare performance with peers)
    3. Vague
    4. An interruption


Continue reading “Marking without grades”


How can disillusionment be addressed? #BLOGSYNC

Written as part of #blogsync3: “Wasted investment? Why do so many teachers leave the profession in the first 5 years?”

To find other posts on this topic, please visit Rather than write about the reasons that teachers leave the profession, I thought I would suggest how it could be avoided.

Why people leave teaching (paraphrased from another post in this month’s #blogsync by James McEnaney)

  1. They made the wrong decision – teaching is not for them
  2. They find other opportunities more suited to them
  3. A major life event makes it impossible to stay with the job
  4. They become disillusioned because of
    1. Being micro-managed
    2. A lack of support from senior management
    3. Being stifled by systems that put constraints on their creativity and innovation

How the issue of ‘disillusionment’ be addressed?

Middle and senior leaders must find that happy balance between providing guidance and direction, while putting trust in teachers and supporting their ideas.

Continue reading “How can disillusionment be addressed? #BLOGSYNC”

Ideas to improve learning

[Note: This is the text of an email I sent to the science teaching staff at my school in November 2012, after reading one of the school’s weekly Staff Bulletins containing no references to learning. I am pleased to say that these Bulletins now regularly contain references to learning, and to a new teacher-led Teaching and Learning Forum]

What we want: students who are resilient; who carry a ‘growth mindset’; who feel challenged and motivated; who are happy; and who know how to learn.

What this will look like: students are happy

Continue reading “Ideas to improve learning”

Travels in India 1

Ooty vs. Kodaikanal

First, Ooty:

Established by the British, around 100 years ago. Set in the Nilgiri hills (draped with tea plantations and eucalyptus forests). Extremely popular with Indians at Independence Day weekend. Small but absolutely jam packed with people, vehicles and buildings, creating a dusty, polluted, crowded, noisy, litter-filled anti-oasis where it can be very hard to relax, unless you walk directly out of town (e.g. all the way around the lake).

A short bus ride away is Continue reading “Travels in India 1”

All-student feedback

What a fantastic idea – make the whole school into a gallery of student work, and invite feedback on all work in and out of classrooms…


After reading Ron Berger’s ‘Ethic of Excellence’ and watching the mightily impressive High Tech High clip with their CEO, Larry Rosenstock, speaking about his philosophy of education, there seemed to be one common thread that linked both men’s view on education:

The power of publicly exhibiting and critiquing student work so their peers, teachers, local experts and parents can examine the work and offer specific and helpful feedback. Specifically, the positive affect this public exhibition can have on student commitment and motivation to produce high quality work consistently.

A worthwhile link here is to Jamie Portman’s blog posts that summarise his visit to High Tech High in San Diego, California. Essentially, every single part of the school is one giant exhibition of student work and peer feedback (the corkboard and sticky note idea is just one simple, yet exceptional feedback strategy) with the students responsible for designing and creating their…

View original post 821 more words