Using mini-boards can boost pupil progress


Using mini-boards or chalk slates in lessons to check pupil’s understanding can enhance their progress by as much as two months, a new study has shown.

According to a trial by the Education Endowment Foundation, getting pupils to respond to questions on the topics they have just been taught means they can boost their learning potential.

The study required teachers from 140 secondary schools in the UK to ask Year 11 pupils to provide answers to questions all at the same time, such as on a mini-whiteboard, tablet or slate.

Based on the answers provided, teachers were then able to decide the best course of action – ranging from reviewing the topic with everywhere, providing assistance to a small group, or by asking a few pupils to discuss it with their peers.

Around 25,000 pupils took part in the trial, and those taught by teachers trained in delivering the assessment process made two months’ worth of added progress when compared to their peers who were not.

The EEF noted that an effect on Attainment 8 scores was deemed to be statistically significant, although further research is needed on whether it assists those in the pupil bracket who are eligible for free school meals.

At the same time, the EEF also recognised that although assessments are actively encouraged in a diverse range of secondary schools, they are often tricky and expensive to implement.

For instance, the three-year trial programme costs just shy of £3,900 per school, although the cost could be reduced if teachers were to continually use the methodology year after year.

Stephen Gorard, professor of education at Durham University, said this may well be the case, but that he doesn’t expect schools to shift budgets into it without further research taking place.

The report’s co-author, Johnny Runge, added that the teaching workshops were “valued” by those involved and were an “important factor” in the success of the trial.