Sunday, 13 April 2014

How do you do RAG123 so quickly?

Whenever people start off with RAG123 they take too long marking. It's not their fault - they're used to taking longer and struggle to do it more quickly. When I say a full set takes 15 minutes I am often greeted with incredulity. I thought I'd prove it... (video run time 3 mins - all the rest is explained...)

(In case of trouble streaming the video you can download a copy here

While the set of 26 books marked in the video took me 15 minutes 30 seconds you can see that I write an extra comment/response in almost all of them - for me this is the longest that a RAG123 set ever takes. Sometimes a full set can take less than 10 minutes if I'm not writing extra comments. As part of recording this video I actually filmed myself marking 3 full sets of books - that's 86 books and they were all reviewed in 38 minutes.

Not just about whizzing through books
I really want to emphasise though that RAG123 is actually a whole teaching approach, not just about blasting through a set of books in 10-15mins. The real strength comes from responding to what you see to shape how you approach your next lesson. It informs planning, it makes differentiation better, it helps you to get to know your students better.

Some people may say that "proper AFL in lesson is better than picking things up from reviewing books." To some extent I agree, but this gives an extra method of AFL, and one in which students have nowhere to hide.

Before RAG123 I thought I was quite good at AFL in lesson. I thought I had a good handle on what each student could and couldn't do, and what each student had actually done in lesson. When I started using RAG123 every lesson I found that I was wrong. I had a partial understanding at best, and RAG123 helps me to complete this picture. The insight it gives me helps me to meet the needs of my classes much more effectively than I ever have before. I now dislike planning a lesson until I've reviewed the output of the last one - otherwise it's too much of a guessing game.

Importantly RAG123 shouldn't replace any AFL, or other in class strategy. It also shouldn't be the only form of feedback the students receive.

As always - comments are welcome, please let me know your thoughts...

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