The government is preparing for future pandemics – how can technology help streamline the process for teachers awarding grades?
If there was one word that sums up what caused so many problems during the pandemic, it would be ‘preparation’, or lack thereof. Education is one of the areas of society that suffered the most from this, as there weren’t any contingency plans in place ready for a future pandemic or anything that would cause significant disruption to children’s learning.
Coronavirus is still a part of life, and there is still catching up to do with regard to the lost years of academic development of students, with terms such as leveling up and bouncing back now being used. But schools and colleges are now operating this year as was previously normal. Exams are set to return to pre-pandemic conditions in 2023 after this summer’s exams were adjusted to help students whose education was still being disrupted.
However, the government is wisely keen to ensure that there is a strong backstop option ready to go should the worst happen again this year and beyond. The Teacher Assessed Grades (TAG) system swiftly created in 2020 and 2021 had some results, but the significant drop experienced in this year’s results raised questions about the robustness of the previous two years, and call into question the almost intuitive assessment system that is majorly dependent on teachers.
So, the government opened a consultation period offering all interested parties the opportunity to express their view about the most effective way of providing an alternative, robust process if exams are not possible.
What has the government proposed?
While all views are welcomed, the government does not want to add forms of assessment in addition to mock exams, and will likely, once again, rely on teachers finding ways to gather evidence on each student to help form a reliable basis on which to award grades. The consultation period will focus mostly on how this will be best achieved.
The idea of extra teacher marking and assessment at a time when stress levels among teachers are rising ever higher sounds, at best, imperfect. A Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) teacher study found only 4% of respondents said that their workload in 2021 was ‘about the same’ as usual, while 81% said that their workload was ‘much higher’. More than one respondent said they considered quitting teaching as a result.
The teachers cannot do it on their own. So what can be done to help them with the process of gathering the kind of evidence required to judge students?
How can technology help
Imagine teachers having a tool that they can use to easily check their students understanding of the subject they are learning about in any lesson. By giving teachers a platform to create simple, interactive tests to determine who is understanding what is being taught, they and the students are getting feedback in real-time. Furthermore, this tool gives teachers an easy way to collect reliable data on how a student is performing.
This is what E-spaces is achieving with its app. The aim is to free up time for teachers by automating administrative tasks that cause unnecessary stress, allowing them to direct more energy toward helping students who are falling behind. Schools are already signing up to try our beta version; find out how your school can also be one of the first to try it by filling in our ‘contact us’ form.