#policybasedevidence

This week’s post about what I’ve learned via twitter will have to wait. It’s daunting enough considering this short post on a tablet, tethered via my phone. But I need to rant.

I’ve tweeted and blogged before about my idea of #policybasedevidence, where politicians look for anecdotes or trials that support what they wanted to do anyway. It happens at a school level too, sadly, and I experienced an example of this today in a meeting.

A colleague fed back an idea from a committee, suggested by a teacher working on a masters. Apparently, if you give kids a grade as well as a comment then they ignore the feedback, arguably the more useful bit. Now, I knew this and thought most teachers did. (When I’m on a proper computer I’ll find a link, or maybe someone’s got a url they can put in a comment?) But it was shared as if it was news.

The next sentence was “But as it’s against department policy I doubt we’ll be using that idea.” This is crazy. If the policy is against the evidence, surely we should at least consider changing the policy? Because the point of the policies, the way I understand it, is to help the students learn.

No wonder I’m not getting promoted…

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5 thoughts on “#policybasedevidence”

  1. “if you give kids a grade as well as a comment then they ignore the feedback” I have read this in several places in Dylan Wiliam’s work, including in ‘Embedded formative assessment’ page 123. (Excellent and very readable) and also quite a long way down this page which is about assesment for learning Black and Wiliam style http://www.journeytoexcellence.org.uk/resourcesandcpd/research/summaries/rsassessment.asp

    (Oh and I don’t seem to be able to type in this box on my ipad, so maybe that’s why people are not talking to you)

  2. I share this frustration! The research from Dylan Wiliam on this is persuasive; he also argues that marking is a multi-billion £ PR exercise that does little to improve learning. In my CPD sessions about marking I always say that if you are doing it because otherwise your HoD or HT will give you a hard time, rather than because it is going to take your students forward, STOP! These top-down command and control policies are holding us all back – at some point the profession needs to decide what is right and stick up for itself! Students are grade-addicts; teachers are the dealers….. we need re-hab!

  3. Exactly Ian – should what we want to achieve drive and improve our policies? Or should policies curtail what we achieve….. sadly, teaching is not the only profession that has such an attitude. Definitely a feature of institutionalised services/industries….

  4. I’ve been frustrated when my comments have been ignored by students. Equally frustrating, the grades and the comments didn’t get home to parents – so grades were a surprise.

    I instituted a reflection sheet that has more or less forced students to reflect on their work and the feedback on their work: http://wp.me/p1Dq2f-q3

    It helped.

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