Units of Progress

The following should come as no surprise to teachers au fait with the most recent pedagogical theory.  However, to those who may need edification, clarification, this is how a Good or Outstanding teacher should measure progress.

The average learner should make visible progress every seven minutes.  Every seven minutes, a Good or Outstanding teacher will therefore need to conduct a mini-plenary to ensure that all of their learners have made one Unit of Progress (UoP).  Thus, after fourteen minutes,  a learner will have become two UoPs smarter.  After twenty-eight minutes, they should be four UoPs smarter.  For the mini-plenary though, a teacher should not merely ask students questions to assess learning, as this may not engage all learners.  They should aim to make the plenary (as well as all other learning activities) engaging.  A poster summarising the last seven minutes of their learning would be time well spent.

Of course, this also has implications for the structure of the school day:  lesson lengths should be in multiples of seven, or students will leave with one UoP incomplete.  The ideal lesson length might be 63 minutes long (although if students can’t concentrate for this long, schools may want to consider a 56 or 49 minute long lesson).

If you would like to ensure your students are making the required progress over an extended period of time, the following calculations may help:
63minute lesson = 9 UoP
Four lessons a week = 36 UoP
12 (approximately) lessons per term = 432 UoP per term.
3 terms per year = 1,296 UoP
Five years between Y7 and Y11 = 6480 UoP.

This means – as all exam boards are of course aware – that in an exam of 50 questions, 129.6 UoP will be tested in each question.

Some teachers believe students should keep a tally chart in the backs of their books of how many UoPs smarter they become each week.  Most schools, however, have not encouraged this as a policy as it clearly ridiculous.


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