Tips for Teachers: 22. Work Scrutiny and Book-Looks

Dec 12, 2023 | Blogs

Tips for Teachers: 22. Work Scrutiny and Book-Looks

Dec 12, 2023 | Blogs

‘The ‘book look’ concept is now firmly established as part of the educational landscape. In many ways this is a positive development because it takes some pressure away from the problematic process of lesson observations. Looking at students’ work in all its forms is much more focused on long-term learning, not short-run performance and, potentially, is more within a teacher’s control than any number of one-off lessons.’ (Tom Sherrington)

Work scrutiny can provide class teachers, subject leads, and senior leaders with information about pupil progress and attainment, and can also be used to monitor the quality of teaching, learning and the curriculum.

It is beneficial to highlight a focus for monitoring purposes; you can scrutinise pupil work for several reasons, including:

  • Curricular coverage, breadth, and sequencing
  • Assessment, marking and feedback
  • Standards of teaching and learning
  • Pupil progress and attainment
  • Application of skills and knowledge
  • Presentation
  • Challenge and expectation.

Here are some prompts and tips for carrying out a work scrutiny:

  • Look at how helpful the marking and feedback has been. Have pupils responded to it and has it had an impact on their future work / progress?
  • Choose two random dates which are a reasonable time distance apart. Are the pupils making progress? Are all pupils given the same work or is it adapted for differing abilities?
  • What is the standard of the work like? Is there a focus on good presentation?
  • Do pupils transfer maths and English skills and knowledge in other subjects?
  • Is the work well-sequenced and provide progress and challenge and opportunities to re-visit key skills and knowledge?
  • Are pupils provided with opportunities to record in various ways (not just writing)?
  • Does the work build on prior learning and ensure a progression of skills?
  • Are misconceptions addressed and gaps in learning identified and built upon?
  • Have pupils been provided with opportunities to use and practice subject vocabulary and subject specific skills?
  • If homework is being monitored, does it provide opportunities for challenge, recall and retrieval, practise of skills or mostly finishing work?

Remember to also talk to the pupils about their work. Ask them to share their best work, work where they feel they have improved, how they have caught up with any missed work and what they found challenging.

    This blog was written by Bretta Townend-Jowitt, Education Consultant and Trainer. 

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