Tuesday, 9 April 2013


I've done a few events for OSIRIS over the last few month... These were my first for OSIRIS.

There were some interesting conversations over the two days that I discussed ideas for trying to ensure "All pupils pass GCSE Geography". I've done over 200 CPD events now and these had a slightly different, more serious, tone to them. I sensed that colleagues felt they had to focus on exam technique and practise questions to the exclusion of the more creative approaches which they had perhaps used lower down the school. The shift towards GCSE starting in Year 9 (and even earlier) and the various pressures placed on them meant a change in emphasis. The Guardian Secret Teacher feature explored some of the problems with this focus on the C/D borderline.
Ultimately, the differences at C/D are often down to gaps which are left by candidates, which are there for a variety of reasons. Many of these reasons are beyond the influence of the teacher, regardless of how much support they may provide, and additional time they may give up.

There were also requests for research into what strategies were most successful. OSIRIS have kindly provided the 'effect sizes' work of John Hattie in infographic form.
There is also this recent, and very useful, comment by Dylan Wiliam on a blog post about the way that AfL has become a little corrupted from the original work done by Wiliam and Black.

Scroll down the comments page to see a response from Dylan Wiliam himself.

Some colleagues seemed to feel that a 'C' grade was a pass.... I always focussed on the 'G' candidates just as much. For some students, that was an achievement, and requires a tremendous act of will on the part of the teacher, as well as cajoling, support and even a reminder phone-call on the morning of the exam to get them into the exam room at all...
Thanks to all the colleagues I consulted when putting together these courses. I wish all geographers my very best wishes for the summer exam season that's fast approaching (my wife is in school today, doing some revision and exam preparation workshops with students)

I'm doing a few more courses for OSIRIS in July looking at Geography futures, linked to the proposed changes to the new curriculum (and with new exam specifications also in the pipeline...)

It's the uncertainty of what might happen that makes this quite an exciting time, but also a challenging one as yet again teachers and students are faced with a change, and also the

We'll be preparing colleagues (and their students) for whatever future they may face....

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