Saturday, 31 January 2015

RAG123 as defined by the students

Our head of maths has done a piece of work recently on RAG123 that I think I just have to share...

Firstly if you've never heard of RAG123 then look here for my original post on it, and then see here for all the others I've done...

Pupil voice
So far with RAG123 I've seen teacher definitions of what R,A,G mean, and what 1, 2, 3 mean, and we've occasionally had a go at doing a student oriented set of descriptors. However it surprises me to admit it but we've never previously asked the students to define it themselves!

With my stepping up to SLT this year I have had the pleasure of welcoming and line managing a new HoD to run the maths department. Simon Preston arrived at our school, inherited RAG123 from me and then he embraced it and used it for a while. Then he had a brainwave that is so obvious I don't know why nobody had thought of it before... He asked the students to define their understanding of all the RAG123 ratings...

Simon did this by issuing a sheet like the one below and asked the students to fill in the boxes with a description of what types of work or attitudes warranted each rating. Notably he didn't just ask them to define R, A, G and then 1, 2, 3, but he got them to define all 9 combinations of letters and numbers.

What did the students say?
I have been fascinated by the responses that the students gave. Having collated their inputs and drawn together the common themes Simon has compiled the following grid, which for me now seems to be the definitive RAG123 rating grid.

I think the nuance that the students have highlighted between R2 and R3 in the root cause for the low effort is really interesting. Also like the A1 "just enough". Overall I am really pleased by the clear linkage between effort and understanding. It all comes back to the basic position where students on 3 for understanding need clear input from the teacher to move them, and those on R for effort also need a decision from the student to improve.

Involving parents
Also this week we held a parent information evening for our yr 11 students where we were briefing them on revision techniques and ideas to improve home-school partnerships. This RAG123 grid was shared with parents and students in this session. We suggested that parents could work with students to RAG123 their revision processes at home in order to help figure out whether a session was effective or not. This was really well received and we have had several positive comments from parents about this giving them the tools to help review progress with revision, particularly in subjects that they have no expertise in.

Have you done something similar?
The idea of asking the students is so obvious I'm amazed I or someone else haven't already done it - does anyone else have a similar student perspective on RAG123? If you have I'd be really keen to see it.

Once again - if you've not tried RAG123 you don't know what you're missing in terms of building linkage between marking and planning, building dialogue with students and the promoting growth mindset type linkages between effort and progress. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

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