Dylan Wiliam in the News

Learning to Read is More Than Phonics

By Dylan Wiliam In 2010, a Guardian reporter quoted me as saying that “no skilled reader uses phonics.” Obviously, this was rubbish. What I actually told the journalist was that no skilled reader relies entirely on phonics. What is rather irritating was that I had a feeling that the journalist hadn’t understood what I was […]

The Epicenter Isn’t Really a Big Center

By Dylan Wiliam There is a long-standing schism amongst people who write dictionaries. Some think dictionaries ought to provide the correct usage of words, while others think dictionaries should reflect how words are used. For example, the word meld, which used to mean show (as in the card game Bezique) is now used as if […]

The Real Priority: Helping Every Teacher Improve

By Dylan Wiliam The Panorama program “Can I sack teacher?”(broadcast on BBC on July 5, 2010) made a big play out of the fact that only a handful of teachers have been struck off for incompetence. Doctors and lawyers are generally struck off for negligence, not lack of competence, because proving that someone did something […]

Assessments will be no more value-laden than the constructs they assess.

Dr. Dylan Wiliam: Are Assessments Value-Laden?

By Dylan Wiliam Cherryholmes, Berlak, and others suggest that assessments are, inevitably, value-laden. Berlak says, “But as Cherryholmes argues, it is not only that subjective judgments are involved; it is also that constructs themselves are products of power and their use is an exercise of power.” I myself have written that there is no such […]

More Questions From My Readers

By Dylan Wiliam If you missed last month’s post, click here to see the first few questions I addressed. This month, I’ll answer a few more questions that readers have sent me recently. Question 4 As a school administrator for more than 20 years now, I find it is easier to support and help the weaker […]

Benjamin Bloom and the Two-Standard-Deviation Effect

By Dylan Wiliam In a 1984 paper, Benjamin Bloom reckoned that one-on-one tutorial instruction had an impact of two standard deviations on student achievement, but this claim is meaningless unless the sensitivity to instruction of the measure of achievement is specified. For example, standardized tests such as NAEP or TIMSS are relatively insensitive to instruction. […]