Teach Well article published in LDA Bulletin

Ingrid Sealey, CEO & Founder of Teach Well, was published in Learning Difficulties Australia’s April Bulletin. Her article, Crafting sentences: Four simple writing techniques to elevate your students’ learning, explores how sentence-level writing activities can be used to support students to better comprehend, think about, and express relationships between key concepts.

Read the article here.

No More Marking Webinar with Daisy Christodoulou

If someone asked you to guess their height, how accurate do you think your estimate would be? How about if two people asked you to say who was taller? Which question would you find easier to answer?

This highlights a crucial fact about humans, which is that we are not very good at making absolute judgements (estimating someone’s height). However, human beings are very good at making comparative judgements (comparing two people’s heights to see who is taller). In August this year, Teach Well were delighted to host an alumnus webinar, led by Daisy Christodolou of No More Marking, to learn a bit more about comparative judgement. Daisy highlighted this example as an analogy for how we currently assess students’ writing in English, and how this could be approached more effectively and efficiently through comparative judgement.

As a standard practice in English, each teacher marks their student’s writing responses using a marking rubrik, to assess whether the student’s writing meets the relevant standard set out. Some moderation may be done by groups of teachers, but around 95% of responses will only be seen by one teacher. Comparative judgement involves teachers comparing two students’ writing responses side-by-side and simply judging which one is better, left or right. This process (which takes about 20 seconds on average) is repeated multiple times by multiple teachers, so that all student responses are seen 20 times.

We know that the workload of English teachers is sky high, and marking is a large contributor to this, but what if it didn’t have to be? Instead of each teacher individually reading and marking each student’s writing, using an assessment rubrik, followed up by moderation, Daisy suggests comparing two pieces of writing to decide which one is better (in a much shorter time frame than traditional marking) and then repeating this several times. As a result, students’ writing is ranked and awarded a comparative score against all other students. This process has been proven to not only reduce the margin of error in marking, but also to significantly reduce the length of time needed to mark students’ work.

In this webinar, Daisy ran us through a simple demonstration of comparative judgement (available on the No More Marking website) and also assigned us some actual student responses to compare. After we completed the exercise, we looked at the level of accuracy we achieved in ranking and scoring these responses, and it turned out this bunch of novices did a great job, far better than the accuracy of large assessment organisations! Daisy led us through how to set comparative judgement up, upcoming Australian projects, the levels of membership available to schools (yes, there’s a free option), how to give effective whole-class feedback and how to teach good writing skills, based on common issues seen in thousands of student responses.

A secondary English teacher who attended the webinar said “This workshop was fantastic! Comparative judgement is such a logical and time-saving way of marking, and we should all be using it more. Daisy also provided some practical, easy to use methods for improving students’ writing that nicely align to the strategies taught in the Masterclass. The workload of an English teacher is always so high so anything we can do to lighten the load is something worth listening to!” Once again, we would like to thank Daisy for so generously sharing her time and expertise with us.

We will be following this up with another No More Marking webinar in early 2024, led by Jeanette Breen, who will introduce comparative judgement, and discuss the No More Marking Australian project launching in February 2024. Even if you already attended the webinar in August, you are more than welcome to attend this one too, particularly if you are interested in getting involved in the 2024 school year! You can register for the session here.

Teach Well to deliver professional Early Childhood Education learning support to Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools  

We are delighted to announce that we are partnering with Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) and Ochre Education to support teachers in delivering high-quality mathematics resources for F-2 students across Victoria.

Working from a robust research and evidence base, Teach Well is collaborating with MACS schools as they implement Ochre’s new F-2 Mathematics lesson resources and Daily Reviews. Feedback from MACS teachers was that workloads were high, and teachers wanted more high-quality mathematics resources to create more sustainable workloads, whilst promoting equity and excellence across their schools. The Teaching for Impact in Mathematics (TIM) Series, delivered by Teach Well, is a tailored, professional learning series that will support teachers and leaders to build more high-impact instruction into their classrooms and schools, to accelerate learning for all students in mathematics.

The TIM Series workshop day will cover some key aspects of student learning, including:

  • An introduction to the Science of Learning
  • How to achieve a full participation classroom
  • How to effectively check for understanding in the classroom
  • The key componentry of high-impact lessons
  • How to best utilise the principles of spaced practice and Daily Reviews

The TIM Series will include an in-person workshop in Melbourne for teachers (and an additional workshop for school and mathematics leaders), as well as a self-reflection and video feedback cycle, and structured opportunities to collect and reflect on student outcomes data along the way. A big congratulations to the MACS team on the roll out of the innovative approach to the TIM Series. We look forward to working alongside MACS schools in 2024 for the benefit of all teachers, leaders, and students.

Using Elastik to Create Longer Cadence Reviews Webinar

When do students (and their teachers) find out they can’t retrieve or apply grade-level content? In many instances, teachers and students are left wondering if they truly know key content right until they sit an assessment. At this point there is so little time to address any gaps and move students forward in their learning. It is exactly this kind of challenge that longer cadence reviews can address.

Barak Rosenshine’s ’Principles of Instruction’ not only states that we should ‘begin a lesson with a short review of previous learning’, but that we should also ‘engage students in weekly and monthly review’. We know from the research that providing students with spaced, retrieval practice is vital for ensuring strong encoding into long-term memory. We also know that some teachers will decide on a different cadence for their reviews, (fortnightly or bi-termly instead of weekly or monthly) so at Teach Well, we refer to these as Longer Cadence Reviews.

In September this year, Teach Well was excited to host a joint webinar with Elastik, to explore Longer Cadence Reviews in more detail. The webinar covered how to best use Elastik to create Longer Cadence Reviews, saving teachers’ time, whilst providing instant feedback to students.

From the research, we know that effective Longer Cadence Reviews take the form of a low-stakes (or no-stakes) quiz, consisting of grade-level retrieval and application questions, and can help students to develop their own metacognition. They should also include a full teacher debrief, ideally within the same lesson as the review itself. Whilst some teachers might select questions from textbooks or practice exam papers, and others may put together a selection of hinge-point questions, any ability to help reduce teacher workload is worth investigating further.

Dahmen Higgs from Elastik demonstrated how to create different types of reviews, including Daily Reviews informed by PAT/NAPLAN testing data, and also Longer Cadence Reviews. By manually selecting questions from a bank of multiple-choice questions organised by year level, subject and strand, teachers can build short assessments to assign to their students, saving them time in creation and printing, and providing them with an overview of which questions students struggled with to give feedback on within the same lesson. Instant feedback is also provided to students on which questions they answered correctly and/or incorrectly.

A secondary Mathematics teacher who attended the webinar said “As someone brand new to ELASTIK, this was very informative. I think the most useful part was the walkthrough on how to create custom reviews and the fact that it can support teachers to better use data to inform teaching. I really loved Teach Well’s recap of spaced practice and longer cadence review!”

We hope those of you who attended the webinar found it useful and informative, and if you would like more information on using Elastik in your schools, you can find it here. We will endeavour to hold another alumni webinar with Elastik next year, so if you missed out this time, keep checking back.


Teach Well’s work in Catalyst program gains national attention for Initial Teacher Education Review

Four years ago, the Director of Catholic Education Canberra Goulburn, Ross Fox, decided to retrain his teaching workforce of 1500 staff in the Science of Learning. This educational reform emphasised the importance of all teachers being able to confidently deliver evidence-based high-impact teaching practices, with a shared focus on how students learn and understand new ideas. As part of the Catalyst program, Teach Well’s flagship Masterclass Series has been delivered under the name HITP in Action – Secondary & Central Series. The professional learning course, anchored to Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction has been delivered to over 400 teachers and leaders across 3 years, with more than 160 participants in 2023 alone.

The Series is a five-day spaced professional learning experience, with two rounds of video coaching with personalised feedback from the expert Teach Well coaching team. Each workshop day brings the latest research on the Science of Learning to teachers and leaders, translating it into effective practice for the classroom. As Cheryl Daniel from St Patrick’s Parish School Cooma, NSW said “…[I] just wanted to extend a heartfelt thanks for taking the time to watch my film cycles and provide specific and valuable feedback. It has been so encouraging for me as an early career teacher to hear this feedback on my practice and it has motivated me to keep refining it to be even better. I am enjoying the HITP in Action program immensely and thank you for your efforts in making it happen.”

The Catalyst project has certainly paid off, with an independent review using NAPLAN data finding that the quantity of students performing below expected standards in reading dramatically reduced between 2019 and 2022, from 42 percent to only 4 percent. Teachers trained as part of the Series create a baseline of student academic data at the start of the course and track outcomes again at the end of the course. In 2022, 82% of teachers reported improved student academic progress, and 84% noted improvements in student participation. 99% of teachers reported they changed their practice and 97% said they would recommend the high-impact instructional strategies covered in the HITP in Action Series to other teachers.

This bold yet successful approach to reforming teacher practice at scale has been highlighted by a panel of experts advising the federal government on teaching degrees. The panel recommended a major review of teaching courses, led by Education Department Secretary and Sydney University vice-chancellor, Professor Mark Scott. Following a national meeting of education ministers, universities have been given two years to overhaul their teaching degrees, to ensure more teachers feel prepared for the classroom when they finish university. The proposal includes content such as an understanding of how the brain stores and retrieves information, effective methods for teaching reading and writing, classroom management and responsive teaching. Many of these areas of focus are covered in the HITP in Action Series and Teach Well’s flagship program, the Masterclass Series.

Federal Education Minister Jason Clare said that many teachers felt unprepared for the classroom when they finished university, and the aim was to make teachers feel more confident when they start the job. The move to align university courses to evidence-based practices, such as those delivered in the HITP in Action Series and the Masterclass Series, is part of a national push to fix Australia’s teacher shortages, and to prevent an estimated one in five new teachers leaving the profession within the first three years of their teaching careers. High-quality professional development can play a role in helping retain teachers in the profession. The World Bank (2019) considers “providing continuous support and motivation, in the form of high-quality in-service training and strong school leadership,” to be a key principle when considering teacher retention. Retention is one thing, but having highly effective teaching in every classroom, for every student, is another. The impact that an effective teacher has on student learning was highlighted by Sanders and Rivers (1996), amongst other researchers, who found that “the effects of teacher quality on student achievement are additive and cumulative.” Through the Catalyst program and the Masterclass Series, our hope is for all teachers, including our graduate teachers, to be confident and well-prepared for the complex demands of teaching. Teach Well is proud to be a part of the Catalyst program and congratulates all involved in its success to date.




Seebruck, R. (2015). Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: A Multilevel Analysis of Teacher Credentialization and Student Test Scores in California High Schools. McGill Sociological Review, Vol 5: 1-18.