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Data Walls, Policy Change and Teacher Tapp Bamboozle!

24 February 2020

Happy return from half-term! Thank you to everyone who took part in various bits of half-term Teacher Tapp fun over the holidays. Some results for you below…

1. Teacher Tapp Bamboozle

For those of you old enough to remember the amazing Teletext-based quiz Bamboozle, Teacher Tapp decided to bring back some daily quizzing joy to rival the experience. Over half-term we asked 7 multiple-choice quiz questions about school-related things.

In total, just 5 tappsters got ALL the answers correct, 41 got 6 correct, and 161 got 5 correct. (We’ve excluded people who don’t have a valid school identifier – which neatly knocked out the Teacher Tapp team). Prize packs are on the way to the schools of the 5 winners 🎉

But wait… aren’t teachers just looking up the correct answer? The answer seems to be no. Those getting answers correct had the same average response time (about 14 seconds) as those that got the answers wrong. Those are long response times for our questions though, so people were clearly thinking about them!

Also, it’s perhaps relieving to note that headteachers were most likely to get the questions correct. All that time spent looking at funding and national statistics really does pay off!

Here are the questions with the correct answers and the percentage of correct answers. Almost no one knew how many independent schools there are in England!

2. All (Policy) Change, Please!

Teacher Tapp co-founder, Becky, had a hunch that teaching in a school serving a disadvantaged community is made all the more challenging by the endless policy revisions prompted by various stakeholders – commisioners, local authorities, government, and the school’s own leadership.

But we were surprised to see that most schools are regularly changing many policies. For example, most of you said your school had revised its behaviour policy within the last year. Marking policies, along with teaching and learning ones, also seemed to shift.

The social gradient was not as big as Becky expected, however.

Ofsted grading does seem to have a clear relationship with policy change. Schools rated as requires/improvement or inadequate were much more likely to have changed policies compared to schools rated as Outstanding.

3. Just Another Brick In The Data Wall

An aeon ago, before GDPR and data protection were massive concerns, it was common for secondary schools to have pictures of pupils on a wall plotted according to target and current grades, so that all staff could keep an eye out and help improve learning for the pupils who were struggling.

A teacher recently wrote to us to ask if this was still happening.

Three quarters of schools don’t use data walls. But they are more common in schools that are struggling academically (or have lower Ofsted grades).

AND it turns out the teachers in schools with lower Progress 8 scores HATE data walls! (Even though they are the most likely to have them)

A month or two ago we revealed the good news that schools have reduced the number of data drops that teachers are required to submit each term. We wanted to see: have other data practice also changed?

Sadly, it doesn’t seem that they have. In secondary schools, target grades are still shared widely (though there’s a slight dip).

In primary schools, conversations about likely SATs results (the equivalent of target grades) are still happening at the same rate as last year.

4. Subject Associations: Are You In One?

Subject associations are membership groups that provide teachers with professional development and network opportunities in their subject. They are more common in some subjects than others and much more popular among teachers in their 50s than in their 20s.

We are amazed at how many teachers haven’t even heard of a subject association – especially in English? Any thoughts as to why? (Do email us with any ideas)

5. Finally, we know you love the weekly tips, so here they are…

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