James Pembroke

Don’t lose track of what has a positive impact on learning

Many tracking systems are meant to improve schools, but instead their demands lead to teachers leaving

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I recently visited a primary school that was keen to develop a new approach to tracking. They wanted teachers to track against learning objectives and grade according to each pupil’s security in meeting them.

“How many objectives?” I asked.

“Around 50 per subject.”

“And how many times per year will teachers assess these objectives?”

“Every half-term.”

That meant assessing 50 objectives for 30 pupils in three subjects, six times per year. I fired up the calculator on my phone. “That’s 27,000 assessments.”

The headteacher turned pale.

This incident is a synthesis of conversations I have in ...

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