Knowing what they know

Today I watched David Weston’s rather good TedX talk on developing teachers. It very clearly shines a light on the huge deficit in teacher development and is well worth watching if you have time.

But enough about him, I want to talk about the one thing he mentioned that links in to this tool. That thing … diagnostics.

One of the big advantages that experienced teachers have is their seemingly innate sense of what pupils know. It’s not innate though. New teachers really struggle to pitch learning correctly and often this undermines their efforts. After a few years of marking and evaluating their practice they develop a much more finely tuned sense of what pupils – generally – will know and what they will struggle with.

High quality diagnostics could transform this situation.

Firstly, if new teachers have this information live in lessons, they will learn much more quickly where their pupils are at and be able to adapt their teaching accordingly.

Secondly, experienced teachers with access to much more specific data about pupil knowledge will maximise challenge and progress.

Of course, there are methods in use already – formative assessment such as mini whiteboards – that sort of do this job. The technology exists to do much better – ask better questions, collect data more systematically.

In summary, I think I better crack on and build the reporting part of my tool.

P.S. The pilot is now open. If you want to have a try start here.

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