Teaching to the ‘A’: A Strategy for Elevating Student Performance

teaching to the 'a'

Teaching to the ‘A’ is a bold approach that communicates high expectations to every learner. As an educator, it has proven to be the most effective strategy in lifting the performance of students. But what exactly does it mean to teach to the ‘A’?

teaching to the 'a'

Defining ‘Teaching to the ‘A’’

Teaching to the ‘A’ involves modeling what success at an ‘A’ level looks like for every student in the classroom. This is achieved by setting high expectations through a Learning Intention and exposing students to exemplary ‘A’ samples. The Backward Design model, when integrated, provides a laser focus for teaching, leading students towards desired results.

The Importance of High Standards

It is crucial that all students are familiar with and exposed to the success criteria representing the highest level of achievement. The goal is to teach and demonstrate skills and knowledge that align with ‘A’ level success criteria. This not only challenges students but also empowers them to strive for excellence.

Inclusivity and Support for Lower-Achieving Students

Teaching to the ‘A’ does not leave lower-achieving students behind. The approach involves a collaborative journey where the educator guides students toward the highest level of achievement. This inclusivity is in stark contrast to the potential pitfalls of teaching to a lower level, such as the ‘C,’ which may inadvertently perpetuate underachievement.

Avoiding the Pitfalls: Bump It Up Wall Concept

The misuse of concepts like the Bump It Up Wall can hinder students’ progress if the focus is solely on teaching to a lower level, like the ‘C.’ Without exposure to the requirements of higher levels, students may lack the necessary tools to achieve a ‘B’ or ‘A.’ Tiered examples and success criteria statements become essential in helping students elevate their performance.

Practical Strategies for Differentiation

Differentiating A-level instruction is key to the success of teaching to the ‘A.’ Strategies include deconstructing texts, pre-learning vocabulary, varying reading strategies, and incorporating group activities with assigned roles. The exposure to high-level examples and guidance on reproducing key elements can significantly impact the achievement levels of average students.

Knowing Your ‘A’: Essential Steps for Educators: Practical Steps for Implementing Teaching to the ‘A’

Teaching to the ‘A’ is not just a theoretical concept; it requires actionable steps in the classroom to ensure effective implementation. Here are five practical strategies that educators can employ:

1. Develop Clear Learning Intentions and Success Criteria

Establishing clear learning intentions and success criteria is foundational. Clearly communicate to students what success at the ‘A’ level entails. Break down the criteria into manageable components, making it easier for students to grasp and work towards achieving the desired standards. This clarity provides a roadmap for both educators and students, fostering a shared understanding of expectations.

2. Expose Students to Exemplary ‘A’ Samples

Regularly expose students to high-quality ‘A’ samples relevant to their grade level. This exposure serves as a visual and contextual reference, helping students understand the standards they are striving to achieve. Utilize diverse examples across subjects, ensuring that students have a well-rounded understanding of what excellence looks like in various contexts.

3. Integrate Backward Design Model

Incorporate the Backward Design model into lesson planning. Start with the end goal in mind – the ‘A’ level of achievement – and work backward to create lesson plans and activities that align with those standards. This approach ensures that every element of the curriculum contributes to the overarching objective of reaching the ‘A’ level, providing a cohesive and focused learning experience.

4. Implement Tiered Examples and Differentiated Instruction

Recognize the diversity in your classroom by implementing tiered examples and differentiated instruction. Tailor your teaching methods to accommodate various learning styles and levels. Provide tiered examples that guide students from lower to higher achievement levels. Differentiated instruction could involve varying reading materials, pre-learning vocabulary, and group activities with assigned roles, ensuring that all students have the opportunity to elevate their performance.

5. Regularly Assess and Provide Constructive Feedback

Establish a consistent assessment and feedback loop. Regularly assess student work against the established success criteria. Provide constructive feedback that not only highlights areas for improvement but also acknowledges and reinforces the elements where students have excelled. This ongoing assessment allows students to track their progress, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and make necessary adjustments to meet ‘A’ level expectations.

By implementing these practical steps, educators can create an environment that actively supports and guides students toward the ‘A’ level of achievement, fostering a culture of excellence in the classroom.

Avoid setting unattainable ‘A’ standards, as this can discourage students. An ‘A’ in a lower grade should not surpass the level of a higher grade ‘C.’ Additionally, acknowledge that perfection is not always necessary. Acceptable errors, within certain limits, can be present in ‘A’ examples, maintaining a realistic and encouraging standard.


Teaching to the ‘A’ is a brave and effective strategy that elevates student performance by setting high standards and expectations. It is a journey where both educators and students work collaboratively towards achieving excellence. By understanding the nuances of teaching to the ‘A’ and implementing practical strategies, educators can empower students to reach their highest potential.

Embark on an Adventure: The Magic of Reading Skills!


Hey there, fellow educators and book enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into a topic that’s close to our hearts – the enchanting world of reading skills! Picture this: books that open doors to knowledge, imagination, and a whole lot of fun! As teachers, we know the value of nurturing strong reading abilities in our students. So, grab your favorite cuppa, and let’s explore the wonderful world of reading and how our secret weapon, the Reading Skills Bump It Up Wall, can sprinkle some magic into our classrooms!

1. Let’s Talk and Connect!

Reading skills aren’t just about mumbling words; they’re the key to unlocking exciting conversations! When our students can read fluently and understand what they’re reading, they can communicate their thoughts, dreams, and creative ideas with ease. And let’s be honest, nothing brings more joy than witnessing a student share their adventures through captivating storytelling!

2. Adventure into Curious Minds!

Picture this: a curious bunch of young minds, heads buried in books, and their imagination soaring high! Reading skills ignite the spark of curiosity and ignite critical thinking. They transform our students into problem-solving wizards who can tackle anything that comes their way – from decoding challenging texts to exploring the mysteries of the universe!

3. Empathy – the Superpower of Kindness!

Books are magical portals that transport readers to new worlds and perspectives. Through the enchanting tales they read, our students can walk in the shoes of fascinating characters and embrace empathy like never before. They learn to understand others, celebrate diversity, and become kind-hearted superheroes of compassion!

4. Academic Quests and Beyond!

Ahoy, aspiring scholars! Strong reading skills aren’t just for acing exams; they’re your secret weapon for conquering all academic quests! With their reading prowess, students can devour complex subjects, absorb information like sponges, and excel in all their studies. The adventure of knowledge awaits them, and they’re all set to embrace it!

5. The Never-ending Quest for Learning!

Once the reading bug bites, there’s no turning back! When our students develop a love for reading, they embark on a lifelong journey of learning and discovery. Books become their faithful companions, guiding them through every chapter of life, and lighting up their path to success in whatever they choose to pursue.

Hey, magical beings of education, ready for a big surprise? Introducing the Reading Skills Bump It Up Wall – the ultimate guide to elevate your students’ reading skills and make learning one fantastic adventure!

With this fantastic display, you’ll have a dazzling array of tools at your fingertips. Customize it to fit your classroom’s needs, and watch as your students embark on their reading quests. The Success Criteria with optional star ratings make learning a breeze, and the graduated colors bring a splash of joy to every skill they conquer.

So, what are you waiting for? Dive into the world of reading wonders and join the adventure with the Reading Skills Bump It Up Wall! Together, let’s ignite a love for reading and lead our students towards a future filled with magic, knowledge, and endless possibilities! Happy reading! 📚✨

How can teachers use bump it up walls in the classroom?

Bump It Up Walls in the Classroom : A Teacher’s Guide

Bump It Up Walls, when effectively utilised, can be a powerful tool for teachers to foster student monitoring and improvement in the classroom. Here’s a breakdown of various ways teachers can incorporate Bump It Up Walls into their teaching strategies:

Setting Learning Goals

Teachers can leverage Bump It Up Walls to establish learning goals and illustrate the progression of student learning. Displaying examples of work at different achievement levels helps students identify their current standing and set realistic goals for improvement.

Providing Feedback

Incorporating Bump It Up Walls into the classroom allows teachers to provide targeted feedback on student work. By showcasing examples at different levels, educators can emphasize strengths and areas needing improvement, particularly in formative feedback aimed at enhancing student learning.

Encouraging Self-Reflection

Bump It Up Walls serve as a catalyst for student self-reflection. Displaying diverse examples enables students to compare their work against the standards and pinpoint areas requiring enhancement. This promotes a sense of ownership and encourages students to become more self-directed learners.

Supporting Differentiation

In supporting differentiation, teachers can utilize Bump It Up Walls to provide clear expectations at each level of achievement. This visual aid helps students comprehend expectations, allowing them to work at their own pace and experience a sense of accomplishment as they progress.

Promoting Peer Learning

Bump It Up Walls are harnessed to foster peer learning within the classroom. Displaying examples at various levels enables students to learn from each other, offering constructive feedback. This collaborative environment encourages mutual support and improvement.

Why Choose Bump It Up Walls at Teachie Tings?

At Teachie Tings, we recognize the pivotal role Bump It Up Walls play in supporting student learning. Our extensive range of exemplars and displays is designed to enhance your classroom environment. By subscribing to Teachie Tings, you gain access to a plethora of resources, including our Bump It Up Wall materials, empowering you to create a dynamic and engaging learning space for your students.

Join Our Community Today! Embark on a transformative journey with Teachie Tings. Join our community of educators and explore the multitude of resources that can elevate your teaching experience. Subscribe now and unlock a world of possibilities at Teachie Tings!

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What are ‘worked examples’ and how do they boost student learning?

worked examples

Worked examples are step-by-step explanations or examples of how to solve a particular problem or complete a task. These examples help students understand the problem-solving process and provide a model for how to apply the concepts they are learning. Not only do they include an example of work completed, but they often include annotations/success criteria explaining components.

Worked examples have been shown to boost student learning in several ways:

  1. Improved problem-solving skills: Worked examples provide students with a clear and concrete demonstration of how to solve a problem, which can help them develop their problem-solving skills.
  2. Increased motivation: Seeing the process of solving a problem or completing a task can help students feel more confident and motivated to tackle similar tasks on their own.
  3. Reduced cognitive load: When used appropriately, they can simplify the problem-solving process, reducing the cognitive load on students and allowing them to focus on the key concepts and strategies.
  4. Enhanced understanding: Because they are so visual, they provide students with a deeper understanding of the concepts and procedures involved in solving a problem or completing a task, which can improve their long-term retention and transfer of the material.

In conclusion, worked examples stand as a powerful ally for enhancing student learning, particularly in subjects demanding problem-solving skills like mathematics, science, and engineering. These examples, with their clarity and concreteness, play a crucial role in skill development, motivation enhancement, and deepening understanding. They serve as reliable guides, simplifying complex concepts and building students’ confidence in their academic journey. By incorporating worked examples strategically, educators can foster an environment where students feel empowered to tackle challenges and achieve academic success. Thus, the use of worked examples emerges not just as a teaching method but as a supportive framework for students navigating the intricacies of their studies.

what are worked examples