Effective revision at Dormston School

We spoke to Emma Powers, Curriculum Leader in Science at Dormston School, about the impact of using Doddle in her science department, and the support she’s had from the Doddle customer team to implement Doddle throughout her school.

Exam preparation: progress where it counts

With her GCSE students, Emma has been using the results from her Doddle online markbook to create personalised revision programmes for her students.

Before exam periods, Emma uses Doddle to “look at each individual student and provide revision support based on those topics. So when we put on after-school revision sessions… I’ll be able to say ‘you focus on this, because homeworks have shown these are your weaker areas’. It’s the most powerful way of using it.”

She’s already seen tangible results from using Doddle with borderline C students: “We did have students who actually were on a grade D going into their last exam, and when we looked on the History tab you could see they’d looked at some of the presentations during their own independent revision and ended up with a C overall. The students who did use Doddle to do independent revision showed a correlation with improved results.”

Making independent learning work

In order to realise those improvements in attainment, independent learning and progress have been a big focus for Dormston, and Emma’s found that Doddle fits the bill perfectly. The first step, of course, is getting students interested in working independently, and she says that it’s been a Doddle: “We’ve got a group of pupils who have a big preference for doing things on computers, and Doddle allows them to access things themselves.”

With all our resources designed to be easily combined into full lessons, her students can work through topics in a clear and formative way: “We start off using it to set online homeworks. For example, go and review this presentation and make some notes or it, or go and do the presentation and then the mini quiz.”

Independent learning isn’t always the easiest of skills to instil in students; and like many teachers, she’s found in the past that “you’ll set a homework and they’ll go and google it and come up with the wrong thing.” With Doddle’s resources at their disposal, Emma can tell her students: “‘Go find a set of resources on Doddle that will have the relevant information’, and then I don’t need to worry about the reliability of the material they’re using.”

Assessment tools that make life easier for teachers and students

Teachers in Emma’s department have been really impressed with the assessment tools they can work with: “most science teachers in our department teach at least six classes and marking six lots of homework every single week is really difficult,” she explains. With Doddle’s self-marking quizzes, “They can look at the feedback from quizzes without having to mark them.”

The extra time saved on marking, combined with in-depth reporting from the markbook, helps Emma provide targeted feedback to her students. As she sets more homeworks with Doddle Emma uses the data to pick out specific areas for review: “if we’ve been teaching a topic like DNA, they might have got one aspect of it, but if they don’t know about the structure of the cell, for instance, I can see that we need to go back and work on that.”

Sharing good practice: implementing Doddle across Dormston

Following Emma’s positive experience with Doddle, it’s not surprising that she was keen to encourage usage across her school. Working in a large secondary like Dormston, she settled on a clear plan for getting other departments involved: “get one person engaged with it and get them to spread that good practice across the department.”

In the case of science, for example, “we allocated one of the science teachers in the department to lead it, and she came back to the department meeting saying, ‘I’ve tried this resource, it works really well’ and that’s how we disseminated the group practice throughout the department. We were originally the biggest user in the school, and we spread the word across the school to other departments.”

Of course, we were delighted to help Emma spread the word. Like all Doddle suite customers, the teachers at Dormston have received wide-ranging support and free training sessions from their Doddle Educational Consultant, Jamie. “He’s been fantastic, really helpful. He came in to do a session with the science department, one with English and then one with curriculum leaders. We had a Doddle training day, where Jamie was in our computing learning centre, and we had individual teachers coming up with classes to get them onboard with it. It managed to get other departments involved: humanities are one of our biggest users now, and that was one of the classes that were involved on the day. He’s been great!”

See what Doddle can do for your school

Book a free in-school visit at a time and date to suit you. You can meet with one of our Education Consultants to find out more about how Doddle can help you improve outcomes.