Removing the Gender Gap

One of the priority areas that we identified as a school was the performance of boys compared to girls. This in itself is not uncommon and one that many schools face. In the academic year 2017 – 2918 many staff carried at action research projects to identify strategies that would work in Tor Bridge High to improve the boys performance and bring in inline withe the girls.

The action research leads for this area are Chris Langmead (Head of English) and Andy Lyon (Head of Art).

This is not a simple problem, whilst there is a gender gap it is not found in every subject at Tor Bridge High,  additionally when looking at the national research it is not as simple as saying that boys underperform compared to girls. The largest gender gap in the UK is found between boys and girls designated as ‘white working class’.

As a group of professionals we had to look at our own practice and consider if we were challenging negative stereotypes in education or reinforcing them.

Some of the ‘common thinking’ you currently find in education in the UK at the moment can be summarised as follows;

‘Boys are programmed to be destructive, boorish and rebellious’,

‘Boys underachieve nationally’,

‘Boys like competition and rewards’,

‘Boys don’t like school’,

‘Boys don’t show their feelings’.

We wanted to look at these again and see what could make a difference in out school. Through the action research projects we have come up with what we feel makes a difference in reducing the gender gap in Tor Bridge High.

What makes a difference?

  • High expectations of boys; in their approach towards learning and their outcomes.
  • Developing boys use of subject specific language.
  • Positive relationships based on clear boundaries and consistency.
  • Regular testing and feedback with opportunities to reflect and improve.
  • Raising the self-esteem of boys.

What did people do?

The following are some of the action research areas that staff carried out, the findings of these eventually lead to the list above.

  • Use of extra-curricular activities to boost boys engagement in learning.
  • Developing positive relationships in the classroom.
  • Use of visual stimuli to support engagement and learning.
  • Use of rewards and short term goals.
  • Explicit teaching of command words for examinations.
  • Focussing on boys’ presentation of work.
  • Use of skills based tests.
  • Exploring the role of mentoring in developing boys’ engagement.
  • Use of seating plans.
  • Developing use of technology and apps in improving homework engagement.
  • Use of competitions and rewards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excellence in assessment.

At the start of the year we wanted to review our assessment and feedback procedures to ensure that they were the most effective they could be. There has been a huge amount of discussion about assessment and feedback. The recent changes to many key stage 4 courses means accurate assessment has become more challenging. In addition there is a much needed conversation regarding marking and the work-life balance of teachers.

The research leads for this topic are Jen Claxton (Teacher of Technology) and James Thomas (Head of History). The action research projects that have been carried out have led to the school reviewing its whole policy on assessment. Whilst this really shows the impact of action research in schools, it also means we are still working on policy – we will share what this looks like when its done.

In the meantime please find a case study of one action research projects and a list of the action research areas below.

 

Case Study – Tor Emberson – Science Teacher

Structuring formative assessment to facilitate students ownership of progress

How did you come up with this Action Research title?

“As part of my continual CPD I organised a learning walk across other curriculum areas to see how other members of staff were collating assessment throughout the entire duration of the course…..this gave me ideas for developing the strategies we have in place in our department”

What do you personally hope to get from carrying out the action research?

“…develop our students independent enquirer skills…more efficient use of our feedback…ultimately to improve the use of lesson time.”

How have you found action research?

“I really enjoy Action Research, it gives me a reason to do some targeted reading to improve my own practice and trial ideas from the masses of pedagogy that is out there.”

For a full list of the Action Research areas that are being carried out on Assessment at Tor Bridge High please read on –  Continue reading “Excellence in assessment.”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑