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Ignorance is bliss - the psychology of textbook bias

Posted by on in EzyEducation Blog

First of all, I would like to make it clear that I think some textbooks are an incredibly useful guide for teachers. If they are exam board accredited, they will provide far more detail than the board specification and can be used to guide teachers through a course.

However, is the level of textbook content appropriate for pupils?

Anyone who has marked exams will know that there is an enormous disconnect between the textbook and the content students produce in exams. Could this be because the enormity of textbooks means they are inaccessible and do not make any meaningful contribution to the content young learners produce in exam conditions?

Although more accomplished and academic students might find textbooks as useful as their teacher, they might not work for the majority of learners. They might even include such an overwhelming amount of content that they are actually intimidating and squeeze any enthusiasm out of students before they even get started.

However, perhaps the main weakness is that even if students can be managed to engage with their textbooks, the experience will be a bit like being taught by a teacher who stands at the front of the class lecturing to the students and then never bothers to test what anyone has learned at the end of the lesson.

Although textbooks might thoughtfully pose a few questions along the way, the only marking solution is to self-mark, often without access to what the correct answer was or any specific worked answers/explanations.

Until now digital packages have been no better and do little more than mark basic question formats providing some verification feedback in the process. This might generate summative outcomes for teacher’s mark book. However, the absence of explanation feedback means that the activity will be a complete failure from the perspective of any learning that might transfer from the activity.

If there is no transfer of learning, students are unlikely to work independently if they do not believe the activity will help them. Although it is enormously time-consuming the way to go is the provision of unique explanation feedback. After all isn’t that what teaching is all about?!

So why do so many schools still spend so much money on textbooks? Might it be that the physicality of textbooks makes them easy to evaluate and easy to purchase and issue. And crucially lack of usage data means that nobody will ever have any way of knowing if the students have used this

Part of the reason might also be that the absence of feedback provided by legacy digital services means they are too limited to replace textbooks and are just purchased as well as textbooks because they are cheap and tick the digital box. 

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The importance of ‘bottom-up’ for increasing the use of technology within schools

Posted by on in EzyEducation Blog

It was fascinating to see Damien Hinds, relatively new to the post of Education Secretary, spend some time over the summer break encouraging the further development of educational technology and increasing its use within schools.1 This comes hot on the heels of his initial attempts to ingratiate himself with the teaching community via his focus on workload.2

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Upgrade to Student Learning Analysis

Posted by on in EzyEducation Blog

The reporting side of the EzyEducation platform is absolutely vital to support effective usage. Our Student Learning Analysis report has become one of the key places to dig into how your students have performed on a particular assessment. I know from my experiences of getting out to see schools over the past few months that putting Student Learning Analysis up on the big screen at the front of the classroom is a great way of blending what students are doing digitally (often out of the classroom) with what takes place in-class. Running through one of the questions the class struggled with on average the most makes for a good start-of lesson primer.

We have just launched an update to Student Learning Analysis. These are a series of small tweaks which we think make a big difference.

  1. Students run down the left-hand-side and questions run across the top. This brings Student Learning Analysis in line with our recent changes to the excel gradebook download option.
  2. Partial assessment attempts will now be visible. When a student answers a few questions but does not complete the assessment you will see the outcomes fo those completed questions.
  3. The time a student spent on the assessment is now provided in the left-hand column
  4. The report adapts to the size of your screen. Perfect if you are using a tablet or mobile device in class.

We are really excited about our plans to continue improving the reporting side of the platform over the next 12 months. This will probably include assigning a snappier name to "Student Learning Analysis", but for now it stays!

If you have any questions about these changes or our upcoming development plans, please get in touch with us.

Thank you to all of our users for your continued support and I hope everyone is enjoying a peaceful summer!

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We are hiring!

Posted by on in EzyEducation Blog

After a fantastic Summer term, we are now looking to expand our team. We are particularly interested in talking to people with experience of teaching A Level maths, biology, or chemistry.


These are brilliant opportunities for driven individuals to come and build market-leading courses. The right people will have energy, drive, and will arrive with their own ideas about digital resources and assessment.


If this appeals to you, please get in touch with our Proposition Director, Jacob Poulton, by email at for more details.


Thank you to all of the teachers and students who have engaged with us this school year and we hope everyone enjoys a great Summer break!

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Nurturing Independence

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“Pupils have really enjoyed the independence the system gives them. They can choose a topic they feel they need more help on rather than just doing the revision we set them. It has been good to see that pupils from all across the ability range have been able to make progress and achieve a feeling of success.”

Vicky Pimblett, Head of Science at Queen Elizabeth School, Cumbria.


In life in general, we all get enthusiastic about, and invest time in the things we are good at. Even if we initially think we like something, we tend to drift away and avoid things if we subsequently fail to acquire competency. This might explain why many students are often reluctant about specific subjects or school in general and have limited enthusiasm for studying independently.

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