Ben Newmark

Vice Principal
Speaking at

Session

Why target grades miss their mark

Over the last decade target grades have become so embedded in English schools that many teachers are unable to imagine life without them. This is deeply unfortunate because they are far more likely to do harm than good.

In my session I will go through their confused and unplanned origins, why the data on which they are based is likely to be unsafe, and the role played by inspection regimes and politicians in embedding them. The session will also cover, with reference to the work of JL Austin, why these targets are likely to be performative and the worrying implications of this.

I will contend, by using the work of Locke, Latham and Seijts that target grades are Performance Goals and that these are inappropriate for motivating novices.

The session will move on a detailed explanation of why target grades are examples of extrinsic motivation and why this is unlikely to be effective in the context in which we use them, before concluding with some suggested replacements.

Bio

Ben is the Vice Principal of a knowledge-curriculum school in the Midlands, which is part of the Midland Academies Trust. He is also a part of the Midland Knowledge Hub and a history subject specialist. In the past he has been a history teacher, VSO volunteer, Deputy Headmaster of an International School, a Head of Humanities and a Teacher Trainer. In all his roles he has seen himself as a teacher before anything else.

Blog: https://bennewmark.wordpress.com

Archive

National Conference 2017

Why target grades miss their mark

Over the last decade target grades have become so embedded in English schools that many teachers are unable to imagine life without them. This is deeply unfortunate because they are far more likely to do harm than good.

In my session I will go through their confused and unplanned origins, why the data on which they are based is likely to be unsafe, and the role played by inspection regimes and politicians in embedding them. The session will also cover, with reference to the work of JL Austin, why these targets are likely to be performative and the worrying implications of this.

I will contend, by using the work of Locke, Latham and Seijts that target grades are Performance Goals and that these are inappropriate for motivating novices.

The session will move on a detailed explanation of why target grades are examples of extrinsic motivation and why this is unlikely to be effective in the context in which we use them, before concluding with some suggested replacements.