Ten easy ways to demonstrate progress in a lesson

THIS is a post written entirely by Gillian Galloway, Head of History at Acklam Grange School and was posted on Pedagoo.org

I wanted to create a record and be able to reflect on this for use within my own teaching.

Here it is for anyone else who would like to use it. Thank you Gillian!

This post is a result of my two minute presentation that I recently gave at the Teachmeet at Acklam Grange School in Middlesbrough. It is one of those things that student teachers ask me all the time. How can I show progress quickly when I am being observed? I think that sometimes, people tend to over think this, as progress can be shown in a lesson very easily. So here are my ten easy ways to do this:

  1. Progress Clocks are very simple. Students are issued  with a template of a blank clock. The clock face is divided into four, each quarter represents twenty minutes of the lesson. The first part is to find out what the students know about a topic. This could be a completely new topic or one that you taught last lesson and are going to expand upon. The clock is revisited throughout the lesson and used a mini plenary check. Students use this alongside success criteria so they can see themselves how much progress they are making and what they need to do to achieve the next level.
  2. Mini Mysteries are used when you want the students to learn independently and demonstrate progress. In History, we use evidence packs that allow the pupils to work together in groups – good for differentiation. They are also provided with a key question. For example, “What was happening at Grafeneck Asylum?”. Students then have to come up with an answer and complete a concept map to show their thinking. This allows them to share their ideas with the rest of the group. Based on what is then discussed in the class, groups are given the opportunity to change their original judgment. The answer is revealed and students have to connect the event to their prior learning. I usually do this in the form of a piece of extended writing.
  3. Three Tiers of Progress. This is a visual way for the students to see the progress that they are making in the lesson. It can be a display board in the classroom or simply a template displayed on a power point slide. The board is divided into three horizontal columns, each column containing the title “Novice, Apprentice and Expert”. Students either have small pictures of themselves or just their name and move themselves into the category that best suits them at that particular time in the lesson. Students should be using the success criteria in the lesson to move themselves higher up the tiers – the aim is to become an expert in the topic by the end of the lesson.
  4. Progress Checker. This can be a laminated card that can be issued at any point during the lesson. It contains statements that allow students to comment on their progress at different points of the lesson. Examples of statements are  “I feel confident about my progress in this lesson because….”, “The thing that I have found most difficult in this lesson so far is …..”. Statements can be adapted for any subject. Students complete the statements in their book so there is evidence of clear progress.
  5. Are you making progress this lesson? This is best done with a smaller class or where you have the advantage of having a teaching assistant with you. It simply involves giving a red, amber or green dot with a marker pen in the student’s book against a statement that they have made. It is an excellent way to start the lesson. In History, I use it with the bell activity which is usually the key question. The coloured dot represents correct knowledge – red means totally incorrect, amber, some of it is right but it needs improving and green is correct. Students are obviously aiming towards the green dot somewhere during the lesson to show that  they now fully understand.
  6. Mr Wrong paragraphs. Students are given paragraphs that contain deliberate mistakes. This task is used to check understanding of knowledge or for spotting literacy errors. However, I often use it as a combination of the two as there is so much emphasis placed on improving literacy in every subject. This could be used to check for understanding of knowledge or used for spotting literacy errors (or a combination of the two).
  7. Enquiry Based Learning or KWL Charts. These are similar to the progress clocks in that they check what the students already know, what they would like to know by the end of the lesson and what they have learnt during the lesson. They need to be used in conjunction with the lesson objectives so that the right questions can be asked.
  8. Tactical Titles. What can be easier than having the student write a title in their book such as, ‘What I know now’,   ‘Pre-assessment’, ‘Draft 1’, ‘First attempt’? Students complete the relevant information under each title. The more they are used throughout their books, it becomes very easy to see that progress over time has been demonstrated.
  9. Exit Tickets. Most teachers will have used these in one way or another. Some use post-it notes for a student to write down what they have learnt during the lesson. Mine are a printed ticket for each students that are handed out towards the end of the lesson. They contain the titles, “Three things that I have learnt, Two questions that I would like to ask and one final reflection”. Exit tickets help with the planning of the following lesson as you can get a good idea of which aspects of the lesson the students did not fully understand.
  10. Marking and Feedback . I know – this is what we all hate the most!  Detailed marking is time consuming but I truly believe it is the best way for students to make progress. I use the system of including an empty yellow box after a piece of written work. I give feedback in the form of “What went well” and “Even better if ” comments. It is the responsibility of the student to act upon the comments given and make the improvements in the highlighted yellow box. The box also highlights the progress that the student has made. Students act upon their feedback at the beginning of the next lesson. We call this “DIRT” time – dedicated improvement and reflection time.

So there you have it. Ten easy ways to show progress in a lesson. I would expect that there are many more which we do on an everyday basis without even thinking about it. Why don’t you add to my list?

Gillian Galloway, Head of History, Acklam Grange School.


Reflecting On Marking

THIS is a very good example of marking (colleagues words not mine) that demonstrates the progress of learners through combined summative and formative assessment.

All schools carry out book scrutiny and marking reviews of student books/folders to make sure that teacher’s marking is consistent across the school. Marking reviews should take into account the types of formative and summative assessment that takes place in order for learning to be reshaped and the young people to make progress. All types of marking should be taken into account; self assessment, peer assessment, teacher assessment, verbal assessment and written assessment.

I recently took part in a book scrutiny where some of my Year 7 and Year 8 folders were taken to be scrutinised. My school welcomes all the various forms of marking and are very reasonable when it comes to the regularity of seeing teacher assessed work. My most regular assessment is that my of my own questioning of the students when they are doing work. As I question them I give them immediate feedback on how to improve, especially where there is misunderstanding. I am working hard at the moment to get students to write this feedback down as a prompt for them to make progress. I genuinely believe this is the best form of regular assessment that focuses on every child. Of course, mixed in around this, are all the other forms of assessment.

When it comes to teacher assessment. I have a very simple approach which involves the summative assessment also becoming a formative assessment. THIS is my approach with examples.

  1. Provide the grade that the young person has achieved as a ‘What Went Well’ (WWW). This is based on a grading criteria that is shared all the time with students when they are working. This marking includes underlining any key points they have made from the grading criteria. (Green pen)
  2. Provide an ‘Even Better If’ (EBI) in the form of a question which is based around how they can/could gain a better grade.
  3. Focus on some key literacy points by circling the key word or part of the sentence e.g. certain key word spellings, punctuation, grammar.
  4. The student, as a starter activity in a lesson, then answers the question in full sentences and corrects the literacy errors. This motivates the student to think about their work against the grading criteria and make further progress. (Red pen)
  5. The teacher then reads the answer and improves the grade of the student (if applicable) during the lesson when talking to them as part of the normal learning process. This also allows for a wonderful dialogue to be developed with the learner.

THIS is a common sense approach which is very easy to follow and does not take any additional work or time commitment. I am sure that this sort of approach is being completed by most teachers, but if you are looking for some inspiration then I have included a couple of examples of the teacher assessment that was seen in the recent scrutiny. These examples are from students with differing levels of ability. It does not include the full piece of marked work or the grading criteria (found on a different page in the student’s work). Self and peer assessment which was also completed, as part of the learning process for this project would have be seen on other pages of the marked work.

I hope you find this useful? Any constructive comments as always will be greatly received.


Using AI2 App Inventor In KS3

THIS is a post that I have been wanting to share for a few weeks and is aimed at Computing teachers who teach KS3.

I have been using App Inventor for about a month now with learners and I have rarely seen young people so engaged in their learning.


I have been using this with Year 8 groups in my current school. It is great as it gives the learners the opportunity to learn code by following online tutorials. They then have the opportunity to create their own App’s after gaining ideas from the tutorials. The coding is very similar to Scratch but engages the young people far better.

The website can then link straight into Android Tablets which are provided for them by the school. The tablets where a costly outlay but the engagement and seeing learners develop a love for learning and wanting to succeed, in my opinion, has made it worth the spend!

Using the tablets gives them instant recognition for their achievements and enables the young person to test what they have produced and work out what is going wrong (and there usually is something going wrong!). This further develops independent learning, problem solving and resilience skills.

I have included one of my lesson PowerPoint presentations AppInventor_Lesson2&3_TalkToMe which I have used recently to give my year 8 classes their first taste of using the App Inventor. The PowerPoint includes a constant reminder of what the learners need to do in order to make progress and achieve their target levels. Homework activities are based around writing up their experiences (via a ‘Student Workbook’) and justifying how they are achieving/working towards their target grade. This evaluation work is started in the classroom and extended as a homework task

ai2.appinventor.mit.edu/ is the link to use to get into App Inventor and create your Apps. Note: Learners will need access to a google account to be able to use the App Inventor and keep their work/creations safe.


Featured Imagehttp://www.appinventor.org/