Last week the government published plans for changes to the way pupils are assessed at primary schools. You can read the announcement here.
“The reforms will:
improve the way that writing is assessed, so that teachers have more scope to use their professional judgment when assessing pupil performance
introduce a new assessment at the start of reception from September 2020 to act as the start point for measuring progress, so we can give schools credit for the progress they help pupils make in reception, year one and year two
remove the statutory status of end-of-key stage 1 assessments at the earliest possible point, from the 2022 to 2023 academic year, once the reception baseline is fully established
reduce burdens for teachers by removing the requirement to carry out statutory teacher assessments in English reading and mathematics at the end of key stage 2 from the 2018 to 2019 academic year onwards
improve the early years foundation stage profile, including revising the Early Learning Goals to make them clearer and align them more closely with teaching in key stage 1
introduce an online multiplication tables check, to be taken by pupils at the end of year 4, from the 2019 to 2020 academic year onwards.”
(DfE, 2017, lines 8-24)
The announcement also refers to the Rochford Review (2016). This will be of interest to those of you working with pupils working below expected standards. It also provides links to revised teacher assessment frameworks, with further guidance and exemplification materials available later in the year.
If you are in FDLT year 1 you will be exploring assessment in the coming term so you will be interested to read the DfE announcement and follow the links to the Rochford Review and the teacher assessment materials.
DfE. (2017) Improvements to the primary assessment system announced. [online] Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/improvements-to-the-primary-assessment-system-announced [Accessed: 22/09/17]
Rochford, D. (2016) The Rochford Review: final report. Review of assessment for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests. London: Standards and Testing Agency.
In a blog post on November 28th I discussed the recent School Inspection Update as regards deployment of teaching assistants. Also in that document was some discussion of marking:
“The last three school inspection updates have included information about our myth-busting work, including drawing attention to the reports from the DfE’s Workload Challenge review groups that looked at marking, planning and data management.
As I have said before, marking has proved to be one of the harder myths to bust. In part, this has been because we have continued to report on it extensively at some inspections, especially with reference to areas for improvement in previous inspection reports from some time ago. I remain concerned that we continue to see some inspection reporting which gives the impression that more detailed or more elaborate marking is required, or indeed that it is effective in promoting pupils’ achievement. Inspectors must not give the impression that marking needs to be undertaken in any particular format and to any particular degree of sophistication or detail; the reference to marking on page 10 of the school inspection handbook deals with this.
As both the Workload Review group on marking (March 2016) and the Education Endowment Foundation (April 2016) reported, there is remarkably little high quality, relevant research evidence to suggest that detailed or extensive marking has any significant impact on pupils’ learning. So until such evidence is available, and regardless of any area for improvement identified at the previous inspection, please do not report on marking practice, or make judgements on it, other than whether it follows the school’s assessment policy. Also, please do not seek to attribute the degree of progress that pupils have made to marking that you consider to be either effective or ineffective. When reporting, please do not make recommendations for improvement that involve marking, other than when the school’s marking/assessment policy is not being followed by a substantial proportion of teachers; this will then be an issue for the leadership and management to resolve” (OFSTED, 2016, p1-2).
You might find this useful to consider in relation to the marking policy of your school and specifically for FDLT year 1 students working on the PDT 1004 Assessment Project.
Link to the Teacher Workload: Marking Policy Review Group
Link to the Education Endowment Fund Resources on Marking
Have a listen to this article on the BBC Radio 4 program More or Less. This is another example of the popular media presenting statistical data and research in one way, and the data itself conveying something else entirely.
“Five year olds not so bad after all.
‘Shocking’ stats were revealed this week by the Department of Education. School assessments showed that just under a third of five year olds were below the expected standards for children of their age. But not only are these results not that shocking there is another reason why the statistics are not all they seem” (Harford, 2016, lines 13-19).
As a student this is a time when you would go to the data (primary source) rather than the media discussion of the data (secondary source).
Harford, T. (2016) Are you related to Edward III…or Danny Dyer? [online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b083r9x5 [Accessed: 08/12/16]
I recently came across an interesting link on Dylan Wiliam’s Twitter feed. He was recently interviewed by a maths teacher, Craig Barton, and this interview is available for you to listen to as a podcast on his blog: MrBartonMaths.
Quite simply, Dylan is one of my heroes. He was the inspiration behind my Diagnostic Questions website, and his many books, presentations and writing that I have eagerly consumed over the years have always left me filled up with new ideas to try in the classroom.
Dylan Wiliam is Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London. In a varied career, he has taught in inner-city schools, directed a large-scale testing programme, served a number of roles in university administration, including Dean of a School of Education, and pursued a research programme focused on supporting teachers to develop their use of assessment in support of learning.” (Barton, 2016, lines 3-12)
Many of you are working on your PDT 1004 Pupil Assessment assignment so you might find this podcast both interesting and useful. If you click on this link it will take you to the podcast – scroll down to the bottom of the page.
Dylan Wiliam is @dylanwiliam on Twitter and Craig Barton is @mrbartonmaths.
If you have just started the FDLT course in year 1 you will be starting to think more deeply about forms of assessment in education.
As well as the academic reading that you are doing you can explore assessment through the resources available on Teachers’ Media. There are a number of short videos exploring different aspects of assessment across all key stages. You can access them all by finding the key word ‘assessment’ in the ‘while school issues’ section along the top of the page.
You can also find some interesting information on the website of the Education Endowment Fund. If you look the theme ‘Feedback and Monitoring Pupil Progress‘ you will find several projects to follow up. These include feedback and mastery learning.
You may have read some of the work of Dylan Wiliam in your work so far. Several years ago he implemented some of his ideas in a secondary school and this was filmed for the two part series ‘The Classroom Experiment’. These can be accessed via YouTube here: episode 1 and episode 2.
You may have noticed that in mid September the ‘Commission on Assessment Without Levels: final report’ was published. It can be accessed here.
At this same link you can access two videos where John McIntosh CBE, Chair of the Commission discusses the benefits of developing new assessment and Sean Harford, National Director, Schools, Ofsted, talks about inspectors of schools assessment systems.
In addition to this you can explore the Association for Achievement and Improvement through Assessment (AAIA) website here. On this website you can see the development of the assessment without levels approach over the last few years, leading up to this report. You can also see videos of Dylan Wiliam and Tim Oates talking about aspects of the approach and also access the NCTL research report.
If you are on the FDLT course this information will be useful to you in year 1 as you work on the PDT1004 assignment and it will be useful to all students and TAs as you seek to keep up to date with changes in education and schools.
Over the last few weeks on the One to One programme on BBC Radio 4 John Harris, a journalist on The Guardian, has been talking about autism. His son is autistic, in these two programmes he talks with an expert on autism (Professor Simon Baron-Cohen) and an adult who was diagnosed as autistic in her thirties (Penny Andrews).
In the first programme John Harris talks with Professor Simon Baron-Cohen. In this conversation the development of understanding about what autism is is discussed. Its interesting that he talks about discovering people with autism who could talk about the experience, something that at the time was new as it was assumed that people with autism would not be able to function in day to day life.
In the conversation John Harris discusses how difficult it is for him to conceive of how his son understands the world. Simon Baron-Cohen suggests that we do inhabit the same world in some respects and that we do have things in common. He uses the example of structure, repetition and routine where he comments that many people with autism need but so so many other people, something John Harris agrees with.
Simon Baron-Cohen discusses the concept of neuro diversity – there are different types of brains in the population rather than a single ‘normal’ brain, similar to the concept of biodiversity, that we encounter in the classroom. He talks about how some of the traits or qualities of autism can be seen as areas of strength – remarkable attention to detail, fascination with patterns and an ability to persist and go deeply in one topic.
In the second programme John Harris meets an adult who has been identified as autism in adulthood and who works as a university researcher – Penny Andrews.
This is an interesting conversation – John Harris picks up on some of the points made by Simon Baron-Cohen and that he has notices in his own experience with his son. He is keen to have her perspective as his son is to young to be able to articulate and explain his feelings and needs.
Towards the end of the conversation they talk about how Penny’s employer is able to adjust and support her so that she can work effectively.
It is also interesting how Penny explores the connections between herself and people who are not autistic and people who are considered to be severely autistic.
For many of you who work with children on the autistic spectrum both these programmes are of interest, giving you some background and perspective on autism historically, theoretically and personally. From a student point of view it is interesting for you to notice how John Harris compares the research of Simon Baron-Cohen with experience of Penny Andrews – we often ask you to make these connections between research and practice in your academic work.
Both programmes are available on iplayer here They were broadcast on 17th and 24th February 2015 and can be found in the episodes list. They are also saved in Box of Broadcasts if you are a university student.
If you listen to these programmes and have any comments please add them below.