#021 Daisy Christodoulou – Assessment, Multiple Choice Questions, 7 Myths about Education

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On this episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, I spoke to Daisy Christodoulou.

Daisy is a former English teacher and the current Head of Assessment at Ark Schools. She also has a new job for No More Marking, an online engine to help teachers with comparative judgement assessments. Daisy is the author of two books – 7 Myths about Education and Making Good Progress. 7 Myths about Education is quite simply one of the best books I have ever read, and along with Daniel Willingham’s Why Don’t Students Like School should be compulsory reading for all teachers. If that wasn’t enough, Daisy has been on University Challenge and is even famous enough to have her own Wikipedia page – something I can only dream of.

I must make it clear from the outset that Daisy is not a maths teacher, but please don’t hold that against her. We are an inclusive podcast, after all. And anyway, it turns our Daisy loves statistics 🙂

In a wide ranging, interview we covered the following things and more:

  • The importance of planning examples ahead of planning explanations – this was something of a revelation to me
  • If Bjork is right, and we cannot distinguish between learning and performance, does this mean formative assessment is fundamentally flawed?
  • Speaking of fundamentally flawed – what is the big problem with the use of level/grade descriptors in assessment?
  • What can and can’t we learn from student responses to multiple choice questions given in class?
  • What advice does Daisy have for teachers creating internal assessments?
  • Are QLAs of any use?
  • What is Daisy’s take on the current confusion of GCSE Maths Grade Boundaries?
  • Why does the concept of deliberate practice suggest an excessive use of past papers might not be a good idea?
  • Then we delve into the fascinating area of Comparative Judgement, and how it might well be the future of assessment
  • And to top it off, Daisy suggests two great research articles to read and an excellent set of Big 3 recommendations

If you enjoyed the Dylan Wiliam episode, then you are going to love this one. Daisy’s knowledge of assessment design is breathtaking, and there are tonnes of things that you can use to improve the way you assess your students on a day to day basis in the classroom, as well as those lovely end of term tests.

In the Takeaway section after the interview I discuss two points that I found particularly interesting – the importance of the examples we present to students, and the possible dangers of well designed questions actually causing misconceptions, taking a look at relevant research into these matters. So if that is of interest to you, make sure you stick around until the end.

Indeed, since the last episode, my Research Page has increased in size. There are now sections on Explicit Instruction, Cognitive Load Theory, Problem Solving, Memory, Testing, Revision, Formative Assessment, Improving Teaching and more, and each paper I reference has my own takeaway alongside it. You can find the page at http://mrbartonmaths.com/teachers/research/ I really hope you find it both interesting and useful.

If you enjoy this podcast, please share it with your colleagues. This one in particular might provide a nice audial treat for your non maths colleagues, and is a nice complement to my Dylan Wiliam interview. And my usual plea – if you have time to give us a review on iTunes, then the egomaniac in me would be delighted.

On Twitter Daisy is @diasychristo
Her excellent blog can be found at: thewingtoheaven.wordpress.com
Her books are: 7 Myths about Education and Making Good Progress
ARK Schools’ homepage is: arkonline.org
No More Marking can be found at: nomoremarking.com

Daisy recommended two excellent research papers:
1. Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work
2. Unskilled and unaware of it (The Dunning Kruger Effect)
You can find both these lovely papers, along with my thoughts on them, on my educational research page at: http://mrbartonmaths.com/teachers/research/

Daisy Christodoulou’s Big 3
1. Dan Willingham Blog
2. Greg Asham’s Blog
3. A Comparison of Expected Difficulty, Actual Difficulty and Assessment of Problem Solving across GCSE Maths Sample Assessment Materials

As ever, if you enjoy this podcast, please share it with your colleagues, and if you have time to give us a review on iTunes, then the egomaniac in me would be delighted.

My usual plugs:

Thanks so much for listening, and I really hope you enjoy the show!
Craig Barton

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