As more teachers have been leaving the workforce before retirement than ever, school leaders are currently facing a difficult time when it comes to filling up vacancies. In September, the National Audit Office (NAO) released a new report which highlighted that 67% of school leaders identify workload as an important barrier to teacher retention. A Department for Education survey found that middle leaders and classroom teachers work on average 54.4 hours per week, including on the weekend.
For some time now I have been toying with the idea that grading student work might just be one of the biggest barriers to improving student performance. Sound strange? Let me explain.
My theory is that we have all been programmed by society to look for a grade, result or classification on anything important we do in life. This system informs us of our level of success. What we aren't good at processing, however, is appreciating what to do to improve.
Take for example your driving test – when you heard the words 'passed', did you pay any attention to your 'minor faults' or what you weren't that good at? Or did you just want to grab the keys and get going? My point is that students rely too heavily on their grades and view these with far more importance than their comments and suggestions for improvement.