South Molton Community College in Devon is a PiXL partner school committed to raising standards through innovation. Back in 2012, as part of its ongoing pledge to support students with their learning outside of the classroom, the school subscribed to GCSEPod.
Whilst Richard Uffendell, senior leader and teaching and learning director, has long since been an advocate of GCSEPod in line with the school’s other strategies, little did he know exactly what impact the resource was having until the summer of 2017.
Richard said: “Student feedback has always been positive and GCSEPod has always been a well-used resource with high usage figures, so we have continued to subscribe. However this year we worked with GCSEPod to carry out a detailed impact report and even for a loyal supporter like myself, the results were staggering.
“In all honesty, we hadn’t realised just what impact GCSEPod has amongst our students but without a doubt there is a direct correlation between usage, attainment and progress. While GCSEPod does not operate in isolation and indeed forms part of our wider strategies, it is difficult to argue with the findings.”
On average, the best GCSEPod users over the whole of last year achieved 1.20 higher Progress 8 scores than the lowest users and those best users over the whole year achieved 66% more (+24.1) Attainment 8 Points on average than the lowest users.
Richard added: “We could see from our data that usage was high and that it was increasing year-on-year but last year, following the introduction of the assignment feature, usage increased significantly. What was initially introduced as an independent study resource began to find its place within the classroom with more teachers using the resource to set homework, trigger classroom discussion and used as part of our intervention work.
“GCSEPod aligns perfectly with some of our PiXL strategies; as a school we have heavily adopted PiXL’s DTT (Diagnose, Therapy and Test) and are now able to utilise GCSEPod to complement these efforts. The new assignment feature allows teachers to set a podcast with associated questions and provides feedback, identifies areas of weakness and provides tailored study recommendations on how to fill the knowledge gap.
“Unlike some resources, it really is curriculum-wide so can be used across all subject areas and whilst usage is particularly high in subjects such as English, where some of our biggest gains were made, we can see from our data that it is being used across a wide range of subjects and is proving a particularly useful resource for our PE students.”
Despite his obvious support for GCSEPod, Richard is wary of being too vocal in front of students. He added: “It’s such a fine line to tread; getting the staff and teachers on board has helped to truly embed GCSEPod into school life, however, there is a small part of me that wants us teachers to step back. I think one of the reasons that GCSEPod is so well loved is because the students have taken ownership of it; the product has been designed to function like many of the social platforms they engage with regularly and allows them to access content at any time and through any device… which for this Netflix and Spotify generation has come to be expected. If they realise that us teachers approve too, it might lose its cool!
“However, it’s difficult, even for our Year 10 and 11 students, to argue with the findings of the latest report. If they are looking for a source that will make a real difference then they need look no further than GCSEPod.”
To learn more about GCSEPod, please click here.