Dylan Wiliam – Author, Researcher, Trainer and Assessment for Learning Expert

November 3, 2016 - Podcast
Dylan Wiliam – Author, Researcher, Trainer and Assessment for Learning Expert

On this episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, I spoke to Dylan Wiliam.

Quite simply, Dylan is one of my heroes. He was the inspiration behind my Diagnostic Questions website, and his many books, presentations and writing that I have eagerly consumed over the years have always left me filled up with new ideas to try in the classroom.

Dylan Wiliam is Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London. In a varied career, he has taught in inner-city schools, directed a large-scale testing programme, served a number of roles in university administration, including Dean of a School of Education, and pursued a research programme focused on supporting teachers to develop their use of assessment in support of learning.

It was an absolute pleasure to talk to Dylan, and we covered loads of stuff. In fact, you might want to listen to this episode at one-quarter speed in order to pick up on all the ideas Dylan shares. Amongst other things, I asked:

Hopefully you will agree with me that this interview is jam-packed full of food for thought and practical takeaways. Things you can try in the classroom tomorrow, and ideas that will hopefully improve your teaching practice for good, whatever stage of your career you are at. And also, whatever subject you teach. Many of the ideas Dylan shares are not maths specific, so please share this episode with your non-maths colleagues, especially any student teachers or NQTs you may know.

Spoiler alert here, but I was both proud and humbled that Dylan picked Diagnostic Questions as one of his Big 3 websites to direct listeners towards. For listeners not aware of the site, it is the largest collection of top-quality maths multiple choice questions in the world, with a growing number of Science and Computer Science questions as well. We have been working hard over the last few months to develop new features, such as feedback, reporting, a scheme of work, and a mobile app for students. All of this is 100% free and always will be. Head over to Diagnostic Questions to find out more.

On Twitter, Dylan is @dylanwiliam
Dylan’s website is

Links to the research that Dylan mentions, as well as all the research cited by my previouis guests, can be found here
The books Dylan recommends, along with those recommended by my other guests, can be found here

Dylan gives some background on his favourite number, Skewes Number, here
The SMILE Cards that Dylan talks about are available to download for free from by registering at the STEM e-library here:
Dylan’s “Relevance as MacGuffin in Mathematics Education” article is here
Dylan’s article entitled “The nine things every teacher should know” (although he would prefer the title “”Things I wish I’d known when I started teaching”) that he wrote for the TES is here
Dylan describes in more detail the piece of research he has found most surprising here

Dylan Wiliam’s Big 3:


Dylan’s two Podcast Puzzles can be found here

Dylan has kindly compiled all the references to the articles he discusses in the interview here

Finally, the concepts of “Convince me that…” and “VI3 Treatment” that I discuss in the takeaway segment at the end can be found in the Topic section of my Mr Barton Maths website here: . Find the topic you want and click on Probing Questions.

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

I am a maths teacher, currently teaching at Thornleigh Salesian College, Bolton, UK. Here are links to some of my work:
Mr Barton Maths Blog
Twitter: @mrbartonmaths
Diagnostic Questions
Mr Barton Maths Podcast
Just the Job Podcast

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>