A teacher with a passion for addressing and tackling educational inequality has received £25,000 to develop an online platform for providing feedback to secondary school students.
Rachael Chong believes that by helping teachers to give effective assessment feedback, her Feed Forward program will boost the attainment of students – particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
She explained: “Feedback is widely recognised as an important aspect of a student’s learning process. Ideally, it should be formative: it should enhance learning by highlighting gaps in knowledge, setting targets for improvement, and facilitating enquiry and understanding towards these targets.”
“There is strong evidence to suggest that implementing these strategies can make a profound impact on student achievement. Research shows it to be a high-effect, low-cost strategy to bridge the educational disadvantage gap.”
“But whilst there is widespread research on the positive effects of delivering feedback, there’s little support for teachers with integrating these strategies into an already heavy workload.”
This is what inspired Rachael, who teaches mathematics at Greenford High School, has a distinction Master of Education degree from the University of Cambridge, and is also an award-winning poet, to devise an online feedback program called Feed Forward.
Rachael explained: “Feed Forward identifies and generates individualised feedback for students, whilst reducing teacher workload with regard to feedback delivery. It aims to raise attainment and reduce the disadvantage gap in two ways: first, by diagnosing gaps in student knowledge in a personalised way that encourages essential independent learning, and secondly, by empowering their teachers with a sustainable way of delivering effective feedback.”
Rachael developed a prototype program with her brother, Dr Nathan Chong, in 2015 and it has since been integrated into her school’s mathematics department, where it has been positively received by both staff and students.
Now, having won funding and support from Let Teachers SHINE, she aims to extend Feed Forward across the country, and hopefully help thousands of students and teachers.
“I want to develop it so that it’s user friendly and can be accessed through a web platform on a national level. And I hope to add more features – including a plan for it to generate accompanying practise questions on topics that students need to work on.”
Rachael was one of eight teachers to receive funding from Let Teachers SHINE. The annual competition, run by education charity SHINE, awards funding to teachers with innovative ideas to raise the attainment of disadvantaged children.
Rachael said: “I’m honoured and really delighted to have been chosen to win Let Teachers SHINE.”
“It’s such a prestigious award and it’s wonderful to be recognised for an idea I’m so passionate about.
“Winning Let Teachers SHINE and receiving their support helps me to expand this project and to share it with other schools. I have so many exciting plans for Feed Forward and receiving this award opens up a wealth of incredible opportunities for its development – and alongside the hope that it can ultimately benefit more students.”