Why using the curriculum as your progression model is incompatible with ‘measuring progress’

2021-09-11T15:10:11+01:00September 11th, 2021|assessment, curriculum|

Our capacity to misunderstand complex ideas leads, inexorably, to the lethal mutation of those ides. In my last post I set out why the apparently simple and obvious notion of 'using the curriculum as a progression model' often goes wrong but I underplayed some key points about the use of numbers. Tucked away in that post are two ideas that need some amplification and explanation. Firstly, in relation to the way in which summative assessments are scored: I should note that the key assumption underpinning this assessment model is not that tests should discriminate between students so we can place them [...]

GCSE reform: a modest proposal

2020-05-30T12:17:30+01:00May 30th, 2020|assessment|

The pandemic has cast many assumptions about how education could or should unfold into sharp relief. Like many others, I've been wondering about the positives we might find in our current situation and how - or whether - we can salvage anything when schools eventually return to normal. One area that seems to beg for reform is the way the exam season currently plays out. Here are some of the factors to consider: Accountability creates huge pressures on teachers which are, inevitably, passed on to students. Is there a way to break this chain? Along with these pressures, the quantity of [...]

How can school inspection get what it wants?

2017-02-11T07:33:17+00:00February 10th, 2017|leadership|

I read a great piece by Dr Becky Allen in Schools Week this morning on inherent unreliability of school inspections. In it she makes the point that human beings are incapable of making reliable, high stakes judgements due to our adaptive reliance on heuristics and our inability to adequately introspect about our biases  and preferences. But despite the dangers, she says, "This is not to say that school inspection should not have a role in our system. It is possible that the threat of inspection, day-in-day-out, leads to better practice in schools that outweighs the obvious dysfunctional behaviours it creates." I [...]

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