So, I’ve been reinstated by Twitter – David Didau: The Learning Spy

Without a word of explanation, my Twitter account unsuspended itself this evening. Thank you so much to the veritable legion of supporters who inundated @twitter with requests to get me off the…

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The narrative about PISA and equity is flawed

Filling the pail

I am in favour of making Australia’s education system more equitable. To this end, I am convinced by the argument that we should target resources at students who are the most in need; an argument supported by the Gonski review. However, the idea that equity is the root cause of Australia’s absolute decline in achievement on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is clearly flawed.

This argument was articulated in an article for The Conversation which has since been syndicated to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation website. It has been shared approvingly by education academics on social media. I would therefore suggest it is representative of the response of the education establishment. In the article, the authors make clear their view that the most pressing issue that needs to be addressed on the basis of these results is that of educational equity:

“Australia has one of the most segregated…

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PISA provides troubling evidence on feedback

Filling the pail

If you are reading this post as a form of procrastination while a set of books stare back at you from the corner of your desk then you might want to pay close attention.

I have analysed quite a lot of Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data recently, both from 2012 and 2015. It seems that I am something of a PISA pragmatist. Whilst I accept that the only way to truly determine whether one thing causes another is a randomised controlled trial, I don’t dismiss correlation data from programmes like PISA. I think that such evidence can have a role, especially given the problems with running experimental trials. Provided that we exercise caution about possible biases and unseen factors, correlations can provide a window into long-term trends and how policy performs in-the-wild. We should look to triangulate between correlations, experiments and underlying theory. When we find a set that…

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Learning not to schwa –

Perhaps the biggest challenge for me since starting my new job has not been the step change from leadership to teacher, nor the move from state to independent sector, but the move from Junior to Infant (or Prep to Pre-Prep as we would say in my school). And in this move teaching phonics has been the single biggest difference.

Source: Learning not to schwa –

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So, I’ve been suspended by Twitter – David Didau: The Learning Spy

This afternoon various people started text messaging me to ask why my Twitter account had been suspended. Needless to say, the news came as something of a surprise. No one from Twitter had contacted…

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Our good friend, Sir Robert Peel

I’ve been doing this thing with Y11 where every time I mention Sir Robert Peel, I then say, “our good friend.” Why? A while ago one of the group mentioned that he turns up a lot, and across a couple of our units. “He’s everywhere!”, she said. And so I responded with, “yes, our good friend”, and now I say it every time.

And? Well now I don’t have to mention his name. I just ask, “and which friend of ours …?” And the reply comes: “Is it .. It’s not our good friend, Sir Robert Peel, is it?”

“Why yes, Josh! Yes it is.”

“He’s everywhere, Sir. He founded the Met as well.”

“And when was that, Katie?”

“1829, Sir. After he’d written the Gaols Act, of course.”

“My!”, I say. “He was a busy boy.”

I’ve written here about the importance of repetition, but what I’ve not mentioned…

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PISA shows that you can’t always get what you want

Filling the pail

You have to feel sorry for the folks at Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Like pretty much everyone else involved in education, they have swallowed educational ‘theory’ wholesale and think that they can use this to define the best teaching practices. The problem is that they then set out to empirically test this. The wisest educational theorists never expose their ideas to empirical tests.

Let’s recall the way that PISA defines effective teaching:

““In its Analytical Framework (OECD, 2013), PISA defines the three dimensions of good teaching as: clear, well-structured classroom management; supportive, student-oriented classroom climate; and cognitive activation with challenging content (Klieme et al, 2009; Baumert et al, 2010; Lipowsky et al, 2009; Kunter et al 2008).” [my emphasis]

So , in 2012, they decided to examine the relationship between a student-oriented approach to teaching mathematics and PISA mathematics scores. They created a series of survey questions…

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