Tag Archives: assessment

333. Resource of the week

Just a quick resource for you today and apologies if you are already using this!


Not some new ‘youth slang’, but an amazing online tool. Students have an individual card with each side labelled A, B, C or D. You ask a multiple choice or True/False question, they hold up their card with their answer at the top, you scan the class set of cards.

Image credit: Plickers.com

It really is that simple and here is what to do to get started:

  1. Create a free account at www.plickers.com
  2. Download the app to a portable device with a camera (phone, tablet etc)
  3. Print out the cards
  4. Allocate the cards to your class on the website
  5. Stick the cards in your students’ books
  6. Set a question
  7. Scan the cards

I have a tablet device that I use for school purposes as I keep my phone for personal use. The only problem I had was my android tablet doesn’t have a light source or as high quality camera as my phone, but we sorted that by having students move to a brighter part of the room for scanning. Instant feedback with no handheld devices!

Finally I have to say a huge thank you to Mr L, our trainee teacher, for introducing this to the Department.

303. Extra, extra, read all about it!

It’s that time of year again – end of year assessments. You do everything you can for your students, including ensuring all students get their SEN entitlement … but have you ever wondered if extra time actually works? Can you prove to a student that staying those extra 15 minutes is worth it? Does your SEN co-ordinator ask for evidence?


Image credit: Paper Mate Flair (my favourite felt tips as a child, now relaunched)

Now, let’s make this clear – I’m not fussy about pen colour in marking and I’d never penalise a student for not having a fancy colour pen. Student work in blue or black is fine by me.

Back to the extra time element. When extra time kicks in, get your students to change pen colour. At the end total up the marks gained in regular pen and the marks gained in coloured pen. Total them up and you have your assessment result. You also have what they would have got if they hadn’t had extra time. You have just got evidence for the SEN department and you can demonstrate whether it made a difference.

In conclusion, I did this with my Y12 students and for two students it showed they can do the work, they just needed processing time – it made a two grade difference!

256. Health Warning!

Test reviews/reflections … possibly one of the dullest type of lesson! I ask my students to write a list containing three topic specific things they are proud of, three topic specific things that could be improved upon and any ‘Maths Health Warnings’.mathswarning

Image designed at: http://www.speedystamps.co.uk/

What is a ‘Maths Health Warning’?
I’m glad you asked!
They are silly mistakes, mild misconceptions, badly managed arithmetic and not reading the questions. They are bad for your mathematical health because a minor error at the start of a solution can cripple your chances of correctly solving a problem. These errors can infect any topic from grade G data to A* trigonometry.

I discuss common mistakes and it is up to pupils to decide which health warnings they need – this usually involves highlighter/feltpens and circling/starring the issue.

Having recently marked topic tests from grade E to A, here is a list of transferable mistakes:

  • Not reading the question!
  • Mismanaging negatives
  • Not using the correct equipment for diagrams
  • Expanding brackets correctly and simplifying incorrectly
  • Mishandling decimals in calculations
  • Not reading the question (it happens a lot)!
  • Rounding the calculation too soon
  • Rounding incorrectly to decimal places/significant figures
  • Typing a calculation into a calculator incorrectly
  • Forgetting there are only 60mins in an hour
  • Not using 2dp for money
  • ….this list could get rather long!

Once students start identifying these types of errors themselves, they become more aware of them in their classwork, homework and assessments. This results in improved understanding and progress.

Next steps

You might want to generate your own ‘Maths Health Warning’ stampers or stickers. You could put warnings in your students books and ask them to identify the error.

233. Summary Statistics

If you are reading this blog there is a high probability that you are a maths teacher – it is a maths education blog after all. That means data shouldn’t be scary … should it?

scary data

Image credit: http://mrcbaker.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/data-doesnt-have-to-be-scary-how-you.html (This website is worth a look!)

In a world of performance tracking and data analysis, seeing the trends in class data should be easy. However busy lives and hectic timetables mean we often don’t get the time to step back and reflect on our classes.

I decided to pull together the summary data for each of my classes onto one page. I can see a profile of current and target grades (FFTD*), gender, SEN and Ever6** information in one table. The actual act of completing the table made me take a closer look at the abilities and issues within the class. I realise not everyone uses these data measures so the files are in .doc and .docx form. Since the data is summarised it remains relatively anonymous, making it a good discussion document for trainee teachers or CPD.

You can download a customisable form here:
Summary Data for class KS3 (doc)
Summary Data for class KS3 (docx)
Summary Data for class KS4 (doc)
Summary Data for class KS4 (docx)
Summary Data for class KS4 sample (doc)
Summary Data for class KS4 sample (docx)

*FFTD means Fischer Family Trust Data

**Ever6 is a UK measure related to eligibility for Pupil Premium funding (simplified description).

101. Stick ’em up

I get just a tad frustrated when I spend time in lessons discussing targets and getting pupils to write them somewhere safe, only for the same pupils to tell SLT, when they drop in, that they don’t know what their targets are!

So I’ve re-found these stickers which we had in school a couple of years ago, but lapsed in using.


I bought these ‘GCSE Assessment stickers’ and ‘KS3 Assessment stickers’ from School Stickers on Amazon UK for £1.96 per pack. I’ve already started using them and my classes seem receptive to brightly coloured targets.

94. Help with no hands up

I recently discovered two rather handy classroom assessment tools on Pinterest:

Rectangular cards


Circular cards
These double-sided cards are from Ateacherswonderland blog


I liked the design and wording of both. On one side pupils rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 4 (from Novice to Expert). On the other side they can tell you where they are, without causing a fuss. I incorporated the circular wording with the rectangular shape, reinforcing the punched edge with tape.

“I’m okay but may need help in a minute”.
I particularly like the fact that you don’t have to interupt or draw attention to a child to find out how they are.

These are my cards. I’m going to use them with my new classes this half term.

Thank you to Ronnie for sharing her idea.