Place your bets! How students can know where to improve

Adam Lewis

Adam teaches Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 5 English at Cramlington Learning Village – a large comprehensive in Northumberland.

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Website: teachingapprentice.blogspot.co.uk Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In his latest blog post, English teacher Adam Lewis describes an innovative yet stunningly simple method students can use to ensure they are improving in the actual areas where they need to improve. The so-called 'scaffolds' that Adam writes about are the tools a student may or may not need to answer a question and can 'bet' on, such as working with a partner, but there's a catch - each scaffold is 'priced' accordingly to how objectively useful it is and, if chosen, will cost the student marks at the end of their answer. We think it's an ingenious method for students to help them discover their own individual strengths and weaknesses, and we encourage you to read Adam's post in full below.

I'm afraid I do like a flutter but, as a teacher, I can't afford to spend more than a few pennies (literally) each week. I decided to introduce this idea to the classroom. I've only used this in my Year 12 English Language class but I expect it could be easily applied to most classes and would result in interesting conversations in most contexts.

It allowed my Year 12 class, who have target grades from A-D, to choose the differentiation they required. Each scaffold was given 'a mark'. These scaffolds included being given the mark scheme, getting examiner comments about successful responses and working in a pair. There were about ten different scaffolds available and each scaffold would cost the students marks in their final mark for the question from 2 marks for the least useful scaffold to 20 marks for the most useful.

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