Tag Archives: Feedback

Stop and listen – You’re getting feedback


Here is a glossary before you start:

1. OECD = Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development . Representatives of the 34 OECD member countries meet in specialised committees to advance ideas and review progress in specific policy areas, such as economics, trade, science, employment, education or financial markets.

2. Professor Emeritus Graham Nuthall 1935-2004

Graham Nuthall is credited with the longest series of studies of teaching and learning in the classroom that has ever been carried out and it has been recognised by the educational research community as one of the most significant. A pioneer in his field, his research focused on the intimate relationship amongst students and the teachers within the classroom, resulting in a deeper understanding of the significant and often very subtle classroom interactions which influence learning.

I had a quick look at this Sutton Trust page and couldn’t help but explore the quiz. I did well until the end where I was caught out by the rules of the game changing… I’ll leave you to find out for yourselves! However it did make me think and one thing I know what (from first hand experience of my son’s throw away comments that I lock into memory of course!) motivates our students to try hard, work hard, deliver and please their teacher if not themselves: is effective, good and fairly prompt feedback!

The answer to q 5 resonates with me the most. Which is it for you?

Sharon Davidson @sharondavidson1
Assistant Headteacher

DHSB Teachmeet Presentations Part 1

teachmeet 2

My presentation was, once again, about assessment and giving students opportunities to reflect on and improve their work.  (Is this a teacher obsession or is it simply assessment time?)  Our 4W stickers were shamelessly stolen from a Primary model, and we have adapted them to suit our needs.  Students are given time, and guidance to improve their work following a key assessment point.  This also works very well for self and peer assessment too.  Feel free to use and adapt.

Here is an example below:

teachmeet 3

Melissa Dennis

Eggbuckland Community College

The marking treadmill


I profess to be no expert when it comes to marking, although I work with colleagues who excel at it and seemingly enjoy the process.   After reading a number of blog posts and tweets this weekend, alongside an increasing number of late nights due to marking I am left wondering where the balance lies and who we are marking for.

A few weeks into term and I have already marked hundreds of pieces of work, remarked work and set time aside for marking scrutiny’s and there appears to be no sign of the treadmill stopping. I read a blog post this week, in which each teacher was being told to keep a record of their marking, including when worked had been marked again, presumably to allow for the students making changes or becoming involved in a dialogue. I wonder who this record is for, how will this benefit the student, will the marking not be evidenced through discussions with the students or even observations of lessons?

I have also experienced fervent parental engagement this week; parents rightly, have their own children uppermost in their thoughts and actions, but this doesn’t mean they are qualified or have enough understanding to make effective judgements.  In fact, when parents start posting their children’s books on social media – perhaps we have to question if we are even marking for our students at all.

I see the value of marking and enjoy the creativity and effort students put in, however I feel there is a fine line between marking to assess or moving learning forward and ticking boxes in an admin driven evidence trail. I feel in some situations the second has taken the lead and I wonder how it can be reversed? This pressure is not coming from my school leadership, I am fortunate to work in a place where staff have complete autonomy and are given the professional space to make their own judgements.  So perhaps it is coming from the students – well I am confident that whilst they like making progress and want to learn, they would be happy with less formal work to complete.

So I suppose the final thought is how do we ensure marking is sustainable and how do we ensure it’s for the benefit of our students and their learning journeys? Answers on a postcard please*.

Rachael Green @DHSBGeography

Coaching Conversations

In the last two lessons with one of my classes we have been building up peer assessment and coaching skills by giving the students more responsibility to feedback to others.

We discussed together at the beginning of the 1st lesson some ideas on how to give good feedback, the students were familiar with the basic ‘2 Stars and 1 Wish approach’ so we used this as the basis of our feedback. We added to this further by developing some agreed protocols when you have those conversations. For example such as the one receiving the feedback should listen and not interrupt the feedback; they should thank the person for the feedback and finally they should not disagree with the feedback yet they could ask clarifying questions etc.

We then talked through how to create more of a coaching conversation rather than a basic peer assessment feedback conversation. I demonstrated this to the class how we could facilitate this by using examples of questions and showing them how you can get quite a different answer to the question if you phrase it differently. We then came up with several questions together that we would use as a cue for those giving the feedback. They used the questions that you can see below to draw out the improvements:

Probing questions

We used this approach in two ways over the two lessons the first was for feedback after groups of students completed two minute presentations and the second for giving feedback on some written work in the lesson. So far the results have been excellent but the boys will need more practice just like any good coach out there.

Dan Roberts @danjjroberts

Deputy Headteacher

Sharing Individual Assessment Data with Students


For a number of years now, colleagues in Enterprise have been trying to tackle this issue. We needed a quick and effective way to give students their overall marks, ratings on elements of their work and comments, but without taking too much lesson time and at the same time monitoring the progress of students at their workstations.

Initial Solution

The first solution involved a spreadsheet. To avoid other students seeing the marks and comments of others, each row was cut and then pasted into an individual spreadsheet which was then emailed to the particular student. It worked, but it was not time efficient!

Refined Solution #1

With DHSB moving across to Google and the wide range of possibilities that presented, I searched for solutions along the lines of using Gmail to mail merge these individual assessments. It was then I discovered the whole new world of Google Scripts and coding as well as the Google Script Gallery. Brilliant!

This link to Digital Inspiration’s page explains the concept:


The Google Developers’ tutorial can be found here:


The main problem with this solution was it involved accessing the actual coding and adjusting it to meet the design of the spreadsheet being used. Not a very good solution for busy colleagues.

Refined Solution #2

I researched some more and discovered a more effective solution, produced by

Romain Vialard (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RomainVialard-public/about )


The script “Yet Another Mail Merge” does not involve any tweaking of the actual code and is very efficient once the concept is understood, and the initial spreadsheets and draft emails are setup.

For my GCSE ICT work I have set up separate draft emails covering the 3 main sections of the practical work the students are doing. The feedback can be as brief as “Yes/No” in various columns or it can be extensive as many sentences of comment in one spreadsheet cell.

My current Year 11 set have said they like the feedback and how it is delivered. Clearly, once the data has been fed back, the reinforcement comes with those all-important teacher-student conversations.

The Swedish Connection

Having had this experience of Google Script, it meant that a few colleagues were able to understand fully the potential of Flubaroo when it was demonstrated to us by our visiting Swedish colleagues taking part in our Regio Project.

Please see Nick Berryman’s piece at


David Butcher @DHSBCreative

Assistant Headteacher

More Th>n Just Technology

This recent TV advert from the insurance group MORE TH>N started a few thought processes.

At DHSB we have been evaluating our Pupil Premium provision and how best to support these students, as well as other groups of students, in each of our Year groups. This review has led to several new initiatives, a few refreshed ones, and two recent staff meetings where small group, productive discussions took place.

Having seen the advert, I felt that there could be something in providing students with a type of “24/7” and “What to do in a crisis?” support. If I have a problem or issue, I know of several friends and colleagues who I can turn to. If I was a student, I might not have such a large network nor be able to recognise that I should, or could, ask for help. If I was that student and there was someone available to be re-assuring and to help me through that particular problem or issue then effective progress can be made.

At the same time as these thoughts, I have been exchanging ideas with Stuart Heaton at Learn Live. Our initial focus was on careers and bringing the world of work into the classroom. These web conferences are delivered through a facility called OmniJoin, which is supported by Brother. The quality is much better than Skype plus you have the facility to share files etc.

We have had a pilot session involving Nick Berryman’s Business class, the HR Director of Crown Paints up near Blackburn, and a class from Bolton 6th Form College. The forty minute session went off fine, with a fourth participant being added to the conference call via an i-pad. So very versatile.

With this developing work around Pupil Premium support, Stuart Heaton has enabled DHSB to have access to the OmniJoin facility. So, the sky’s the limit.


We can set up any number of “web conferences” each week, or each month. Not only can we bring the business world into DHSB classrooms, but we can, through our extensive world-wide contacts, bring any field or organisation or topic into DHSB classrooms. We can invite former students “back to school”. Where will the technology take us?

David Butcher @DHSBCreative

Assistant Headteacher