I'm an overseas trained English teacher and have never, ever been enamoured with the way students are assessed in the UK. I find it needlessly labyrinthine for the pupils and based on spurious assumptions about how learners "progress." Today was probably the low point for me and my tenuous relationship with how things are done here. Helping out with a Year 7 English lesson, I had to engage some students in DIRT time (Dedicated Improvement Reflection Time Time). By the end of it, my heart mourned for Generation Z. Here is what students were directed to do, in sequence: * Write down their INT on the assessment front cover. * Write their EBI on the inside cover. * Write down their STEP on the inside cover. * Read through the mark scheme. * Read through the WWWs and EBIs. * Write a reflection in the INT Box. * Make reference to their target. * Write out every misspelt word three times. * Answer every question written on the assessment. * Rewrite one paragraph of the assessment using the EBI. * Highlight the part of the paragraph they used to act upon the EBI. * Write a reflection about what they decided to do differently. * Measure their success against the Learning Objectives. * Write a reflection about what they achieved in the lesson, and why. That's four acronyms, three reflections, and one migraine. Seriously, where did this metacognition on steroids for 12 year olds come from? And what actual research exists to uphold the notion that this is a good idea? Not anecdotes from someone with a book to sell - I mean, actual neuroscientific research. The cynic in me sees the conditioning of young minds - not the nurturing of critical thinking skills. Conditioning for a lifetime of performance management, conditioning for a lifetime of form-filling and conditioning for a lifetime where success is necessarily quantifiable and linear (that's anaphora kids - if you make reference to it in your next assessment, you will move along your flight path from a 2 minus to a 2 plus. Plus this will look good in our data - i.e., everyone's a winner). My goodness, I've seen letting agreements with more joie de vivre than this lesson plan. Why are we arming our children with such mind-numbing corporate speak? And is there anyone out there challenging the orthodoxy of this practice?