(Trick question: the problems with testing run much deeper) I’m hungry. I am fasting for Ramadan, with five hours to go before food and drink are back on the menu. My concentration is slipping. I’m typing words but running on empty. A small nap is in order. See you shortly. *30 minutes later* I’m back, slightly... Continue Reading →
When I ran classes for Oxford maths undergraduates, I thought I’d reached the pinnacle of teaching. I was tasked with educating some of brightest minds in society, and delivered my lessons with a vigour that is rarely seen in the hallowed halls of the Oxford Mathematical Institute. My students were engaged and showed clear signs... Continue Reading →
There is a human story behind every adaptive tutoring journey. During a recent school visit, I was challenged by the principal to find the story behind his star math student (who we’ll call Joshua). As I scanned through Joshua’s learning analytics, I quickly gleaned from his usage patterns that this is a student with a... Continue Reading →
What happened next is a sad indictment of school maths. When my 12-year-old nephew invites me over, it can only mean one thing — he needs help with his maths homework. The problem seemed simple enough: Take four copies of the number 1234. Re-arrange the digits in each number so that the four numbers sum to 9000. For instance,... Continue Reading →
Back in April, I delivered a talk at a Harvard Alumni Conference for graduates of the International Education Policy master's programme. It was somewhere between my first attempt at a TED talk and an introduction to my work at Whizz. The full transcript is available here.
In 1997, during an episode of Countdown, I was blown away by a solution to the numbers game. Eleven years later I appeared on the show. Eight years after that I wrote this piece for TES on how to develop number sense. Read the full piece here.
Education is innately cultural. The way we learn is shaped by our environment, our experiences and our belief systems. The EdTech community, for all its promises of personalised learning, has not yet matured to grasp all that this term entails. Instead it throws algorithms and data at Education in the vain hope that every child’s... Continue Reading →
Oxford admissions interviews are notoriously challenging, particularly in mathematics. A 25-minute interview is designed with stunning precision to tease out the strongest problem-solvers (the main criteria for selection in mathematics). The competition is stiff. Yet a good chunk of candidates who make it to the final interview stage unravel within moments, ruling themselves out of... Continue Reading →
Educational testing is inherently flawed. No written assessment can do justice to the breadth and depth of students' intellectual, social, and emotional competencies. As educators clamor to condemn high-stakes tests and implement the changes that the Every Student Succeeds Act will enable, it is important that educators also impose the same scrutiny on international... Continue Reading →