Calibration Accuracy: What is it and does it matter?
Is there any merit in asking students to estimate their assessment grade before receiving the marked total.
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by Durrington Research School
Like many people, I don’t really go in for new year’s resolutions. However, I’m writing a blog in the first week of January and talking about a change that teachers might make to their practice, so perhaps this year will be the exception.
Teachers across the country have, more than ever, been dealing with the reality of students constantly appearing and then disappearing from their classrooms in the past two years. This is always a reality of teaching so in some ways nothing new there. However, the pandemic has increased the prevalence and students missing chunks of learning and then having to pick up the threads on their return. With the current state of the national picture and the Omicron variant, we are likely to see this as an increasingly problematic reality for teachers over the coming term. Students will be off, miss several lessons per subject in secondary or a week or so of learning in primary, and then be back. Some mitigation of this lost learning will be there in terms of online tasks done independently, but we know this will be sporadic and work better for some than others.
What then can teachers do once a student is back with them? Firstly, the point to recognise is they cannot wave the learning wand and solve the problem. The situation is imperfect and they would be looking to minimise the negative impact rather than remove it altogether. Probably the best bet could be summarised as responsive teaching. Much has been written in this area, and it combines several fields of research evidence, most particularly cognitive science and formative assessment. For those wishing to delve further into the principles of responsive teaching a book carrying the same title was written by Harry Fletcher-Wood a few years ago.
It is a catch-all term and a simplistic definition of it carries the danger of missing the point and it is likely to narrow what it refers to, to the point that the concept is lost. However, for the purposes of this blog I will attempt a definition as: the process of teachers making frequent checks of knowledge, understanding, misunderstanding and thinking while teaching, and then (crucially) doing something with the information they uncover. As Dylan William (2006) emphasises,‘if you’re not using the evidence to do something that you couldn’t have done without the evidence, you are not doing formative assessment.’ For formative assessment read responsive teaching and vice versa.
This is something teachers have always done to some extent intuitively and is always important, not just in turbulent times. However, the reality I described above has upped the importance of responsive teaching being at the forefront of teachers minds, particularly for those students with the most potted attendance.
What then does responsive teaching as a mitigation for the Covid attendance merry-go-round look like? Here are some practical suggestions for what teachers could do:
We all understand that teaching during this particular Spring term is going to be challenging for all sorts of reasons. Certainly one helpful response for me to focus my energies into where the solutions might be to unpick some of the problems that will undoubtedly crop up. We can’t help that many of our students will miss chunks, but we can do our best to uncover the misconceptions that this missed time creates. Perhaps not a resolution, but close.
How can mini whiteboards support an evidence informed to teaching?
Fluency instruction isn’t just beneficial for younger students: It can go a long way in supporting reading at KS3 and KS4, too.