Using Doddle to improve Pupil Premium outcomes
By Helen Smith
Whilst there have been many successes in closing the gap between the attainment of Pupil Premium students and their peers over recent years, as educators we still have a long way to go.
Unfortunately, it is still true that pupils from lower income backgrounds tend to do worse in their GCSEs and are less likely to go onto further education. Teacher Helen Smith explains how she has used Doddle to engage, raise aspirations and improve attitudes to learning – key barriers standing in the way of PP attainment in her classes.
At the end of 3 or 4 weeks of teaching, I set my class a selection of Doddle’s self-marking quizzes covering recently taught topics for a lesson using laptops. The great thing about the Doddle self-marking quizzes is that they also provide instant question-by-question feedback to students. As a teacher, I therefore know that my students are receiving praise when they get something right, and instant intervention when they’re not quite there yet. That’s even higher quality feedback than I can give my students in person because there’s only one of me and 30 of them!
I would always remind my class that I didn’t mind which quizzes they tried, nor what score they got on any first attempt at a quiz. This created a safe environment for students to do badly at a quiz, taking away feelings of failure that might have otherwise been present. I did however set the expectation that students needed to repeat any quiz they attempted and improve their score.
In this way, I could ensure students were taking in any intervention information they received and putting it into practice straight away. I can honestly say my entire class were engaged which I’m not sure I had ever seen before. Never mind the fact that all I had to do in preparation for this lesson was click a few buttons to assign the relevant quizzes to my class, then sit at the front watching the quiz scores populate my markbook in real time!
One PP student I taught was frequently in isolation and had extremely poor attitudes to learning. Not only did she manage to stay in class for the entire lesson this time, but she even paraded around the room stating loudly “I got 100%!” This was a huge mindset and attitude change for her. Some really good learning took place for once too!
Another PP student I taught had extremely low self-confidence. When using Doddle he sat quietly but very thoroughly writing notes on all the intervention slides he got when he answered something wrong in a quiz. This activity gave him the space to really take in the information his way, at his own pace and build confidence.
Doddle provided me with a way to engage my most difficult to reach students – students who I hadn’t ever seen really engage with what they were learning before. I saved a huge amount of time by using Doddle resources, even if I wanted to use a combination of my own materials with theirs, the fact that you have ready-to-go, high quality resources that you can use as you wish is a guaranteed time-saver. The other bonus of Doddle is the way it enabled me to build revision into my teaching and learning cycles on a regular basis to help improve knowledge retention over time. This is so critical to students’ success with linear GCSE courses.