Thursday, 16 April 2015

Transcribing and initial reflections

Hello! It feels as though it's been a long time since I've written anything, but I can assure you I haven't forgotten my studies! Over the Easter holiday I typed up and coded the two Year 11 interviews, posting everything to the Google Classroom website so that the student researchers could have a look. Surprisingly, some of them actually went on and engaged with the research, which was amazing! Some brief discussions were had via posting comments, which will be helpful for us later.

Due to mock exams and other commitments, I wasn't able to meet with the team again until this morning. Since I had previously scheduled the Year 8 interview subjects to come, it was a bit of a whirl-wind morning, with the student researchers arriving and then immediately having to rush off to greet the Year 8s.

I did manage to speak to two of the girls before they left for first lesson though, and we briefly explored some issues arising regarding student dominance during the discussions. I also gave them a paper copy of the transcript of their Year 11 interview and asked them to read through it, jotting notes and summaries in the margin (by way of beginning to code, which I explained to them). They managed to get a bit of work done before the bell went, which I will outline below.

First of all, I suppose I should outline the emerging code list that I've generated.

Revised Codes Year 11 Interviews

To improve
               achievement
              strengths vs weaknesses

Right vs wrong

Grades > comments

Consistency
               Subject
Format

Bad feedback
               ticks and crosses
               vague
               general/generic
               impersonal
               lack of effort/engagement by teacher
               negative
               unclear

Good feedback
               combination
               constructive
               personal (implied)
               mark scheme
               peer

Working with targets

Confidence


Effort
               teacher
               student 

Of these codes, the two girls complimented many of them with their own, writing things like 'Strengths v Weaknesses', 'lack of consistency', 'grades and comments', 'peer assessment = good', and 'confidence'. 

I am going to meet with the entire team next week, and get them to read through and annotate all of the transcripts, in order to finalise and triangulate the codes. 

Luckily, I was also able to type of the transcripts for the Year 8 interviews, coding these only a few moments ago. Many of the same themes are appearing, although from slightly different angles. For example, it appears that the Year 11s notice a lack of consistency in feedback across the different subjects. A few key subjects were identified by Year 11 students as being 'good' at giving consistent feedback, but on the whole it seems like they don't receive feedback consistently. This isn't to say that the WAY feedback is given is inconsistent - they all made reference to the two star and wish policy used by the school. Instead, lack of consistency here means that feedback appears to be subject specific; some subjects give good feedback, and give it regularly, while others rarely give it at all.

The picture painted by the Year 8s, however, was much different. While certain subjects were repeated as being 'good' at providing regular feedback, there were additional subjects included, beyond the very few cited by Year 11 students. This suggests that those departments that are doing it well are doing it across the board, but that some subjects haven't implemented a system that is equal across year groups or key stages. 

A few sub-codes were also added to my list, after typing up the Year 8 interviews. For example, under the 'to improve' category, I have thought about adding 'steps/progress' and 'mistakes recognised', as these terms came up a few times, across the interview subjects. Two other sub-codes for bad feedback also include 'disappointment' (the feedback made them feel sad about forgetting something)  and 'confusing' (which can be linked to 'unclear'). Overall though, many of the same themes were appearing, which is encouraging. It makes my life a lot easier, at any rate! 

Something that I do find interesting though is that both Year 11 and Year 8 students have expressed a lack of confidence or comfort in self-assessment. It seems to me that they aren't given enough opportunities to do self-assessment, and if they do, it's under poor guidance. Students are unsure of how to properly mark their own work, and struggle with being 'too harsh' or 'too biased'. This is an area that I'd really like to pursue next year, as part of my own CPD. I think self-assessment is such a powerful tool, if used properly, and it's a shame that the students don't feel it's useful. 

Anyways, that's all I'm going to rant on about for now. I'll provide an update next week, after I've met with the team again. 

- KC