Diagnosis, Feedback and Improvement: Best Practice Assessment

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Dave Taylor

Dave Taylor is one of the most experienced and gifted trainers and school leaders in his field. Throughout years in school leadership, Dave has remained focused on the magic of the classroom, and is often cited as an inspiration to his students and his colleagues alike. trainer profile

In 335BC, Aristotle outlined his 'Three Unities of Tragedy':  'time', 'place' and 'action'

In 2018, teachers are buckling under the pressure of the 'Three Unities'... of Marking:

Time – countless hours spent ploughing through student workbooks, which could be spent diagnosing issues, planning impactful feedback and improving the student's work.
Place – piles of student work appearing in the car, in the home, on the dining-room table – everywhere the teacher should be allowed to escape.
Action – exhausted teachers writing lengthy comments (often in coloured pens) which we know will have little or no impact or influence on the students' learning and achievement.
The repercussions of these three unities are tragic for teacher well-being, for schools' recruitment and retention, and for the achievement of the students we are trying to support. But there is another way. 

Diagnosis, Feedback and Improvement should be quick, effective and impactful, focusing on key issues that really matter to move learning forward.  And it should unburden the teacher from the tyranny of marking.

Examining the growing evidence-base of what actually works in education, and learning from High Performance in education, industry and sports, this course enables teachers and schools to focus precisely on what has the maximum impact on results and the minimum impact on teacher workload. Moreover, it should mean teachers never again have to cart piles of student work into their car, or into their home.

Course Outcomes:

  • Examine examples of diagnosis, feedback and improvement in high-performance from education, industry and sports which can transform teacher effectiveness, workload and wellbeing
  • Explore the evidence-base for teacher assessment which is precisely diagnostic, both across classes and for individual students, and examine models which make diagnosis and feedback impactful in the short, medium and long-term
  • Take away models and exemplars of best practice in diagnostic assessment, feedback in lessons and targeted improvement which will transform the effectiveness of teachers, departments and schools

Full Course Content

Course Outline:

Session One: Move on From Marking

  • The problem with marking – a national issue and a personal tragedy
  • It's not all bad, is it? Why teachers like marking
  • 'Eliminating Unnecessary Workload Around Marking' - what the DfE say
  • Going Cold-Turkey – how to remove dependency on the written comment, for teacher, student, parent and SLT

Session Two: Diagnosis, Feedback and Improvement – The importance of Precision

  • What can schools learn from High Performance in education, industry and sport?
  • What do students need to know? Cutting to the heart of the matter
  • 360° Assessment for Learning – all-through best practice and 'marginal gains'
  • How to achieve precision in diagnostic peer and self-reflection

Session Three: Evidence-based excellence in the classroom, the department, the school

  • One-size doesn't fit all: examine models of best practice in Diagnosis, Feedback and Improvement
  • Diagnosis, Feedback and Improvement on mock-exams – how to ensure no-one makes that mistake again
  • The perfect feedback lesson: what it looks like, and how students engage through the process
  • Practical, hands-on activities and ideas to embed Diagnosis, Feedback and Improvement in your classroom and your school