The year ahead
As you settle into the current academic year and become accustomed to your new classes and roles, it’s very important to set yourselves aspirational targets for the next ten months. As professionals, it’s crucial that we don’t allow ourselves to become stuck in a routine, thinking that we’re already doing the best that we can for our students. The best teachers and leaders are constantly searching for ways to ensure that their students make as much progress as possible. This means evaluating every aspect of your practice and searching for things to optimise.
So what targets and improvements can you make this year?
Teaching is such a subjective and personal thing that I would find it hard to prescribe specific techniques approaches that will work for all teachers at all stages of their careers. However, there is one thing that I believe should be a non-negotiable for every teacher and every HOD in the country, which is as follows. I believe that every teacher should be able to name three specific and personalised targets for each student in their class. I think these targets shouldn’t be the usual, generic targets around presentation or showing detailed working, although the latter I think would be an acceptable additional target. I think that every teacher should know three areas of the curriculum that each student needs to work on to maximise their progress. I also think that these should be based on proper, diagnostic analysis of the student and based on detailed knowledge of the curriculum, so that the three targets make logical sense as the next thing for that student to work on, that they have the prerequisite knowledge to access, and that will maximise their progress.
So how would that work?
This is where Create a Test can help. Creating papers on CAT is incredibly simple, and you can upload the students’ question by question marks in seconds by uploading a spreadsheet. After that, the mark for each question they’ve done is stored, and since each question is assigned to a part of the CAT specification, we can output information on the areas of improvement for every student.
Targets have to be straightforward to stand a chance of being built into your everyday practice. There’s no point creating hours of additional work for yourself, as regardless of the benefit to your students, you’ll abandon the target to make your workload more manageable. I think that setting and marking papers regularly should be a part of all of our practice already, so the only additional work you’re creating for yourself is setting up your classes on our site, the uploading the question by question marks. In return for this extra work, you get a comprehensive list of automatically created targets, based on actual data, for every student you teach. How you communicate these to your students and help them achieve them is up to you, but we’ll work on ways to help.
So, my challenge to each of you is to improve your individualised knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of each of your students, measured against the curriculum they’re working on. I genuinely believe that the best way to achieve this is by regularly creating, setting and marking tests and uploading the results onto Create a Test.
Who will take up my challenge?!