Analysis of the Primary Assessment and Accountability Consultation Document

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This post is part of a bigger one on the relationship between curriculum, assessment and accountability reforms. Given the inordinate length of that piece and the complexity of the proposals for primary assessment and accountability, I have published my analysis of those proposals separately here.

The post sets out what has been published, ruminates on the purpose of the Pupil Premium, undertakes a section-by-section analysis of the consultation document and draws together the issues of greatest concern.

It attempts an overall scaled score assessment of the document and finds it seriously wanting. There are major fault lines running through the proposals and little clarity over several key issues.

These proposals are far from ‘implementation-ready’ and ultimately disappointing, both in terms of the threshold and progress achieved. If there was a floor standard for consultation documents, this would fall significantly short.

Those with little time are recommended to go straight to the latter section – ‘Primary Assessment and Accountability: Issues and Omissions’ which can be found about two-thirds of the way through the post.

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What has been published?

17 July saw the publication of three documents in the following order:

  • A press release which appeared shortly after a midnight embargo;

There was no response to the parallel ‘Secondary school accountability’ consultation launched on 7 February and completed on 1 May, despite the connectivity between the two sets of proposals – and no firm indication of when that response would be published.

A third consultation, on post-16 assessment and accountability, was not mentioned either.

The staged publication of the primary material meant that initial analysis and questioning of Ministers was based largely on the headlines in the press release rather than on the substance of the proposals.

Initial media appearances appeared to generate a groundswell of hostility that Ministers could not readily counter. The answers to some reasonable questions on the detail were not yet in the public domain.

It was particularly noteworthy that the announcement had integrated within it a second, about the size of Pupil Premium allocations in 2014-15. This was clearly intended to sugar the pill, though the coating is rather thin and there are also potentially wider ramifications (see below).

The Pupil Premium announcement must have been the justification for presentation by Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Clegg and Minister of State Laws, rather than by Tory Secretary of State Gove.

He (Gove) must have been delighted at avoiding this particularly poisoned chalice, already delayed into the dog days of summer – often a deliberate strategy for downplaying a particularly contentious announcement.

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The consultation has a deadline of 11 October, allowing a total of 11 weeks and two days for responses, including the entirety of the school summer holidays, so the majority of the consultation period occurs while most schools are closed. This may also serve to mute opposition to the proposals contained in the document.

There is a commitment to publish the outcomes of consultation, together with a response ‘in autumn 2013’, which is a very quick turn round assuming that autumn means November rather than December. If there is any degree of contention, this might well edge close to Christmas.

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An Aside: The Pupil Premium

The assessment and accountability announcement was sugar-coated by confirmation of the size of Pupil Premium allocations in 2014-15.

But close scrutiny of the coating reveals it as rather a thin veneer.

It was already known that the total Pupil Premium funding envelope would increase  by £625m, from £1.875bn in 2013-14 to £2.5bn in 2014-15, so the overall budget was not in itself newsworthy. There is a degree of economy with the truth at play if the funding is claimed to be ‘new money’.

But the apparent decision to weight this towards primary schools was new. Ministers made much of the 44% increase for primary schools, from £900 to £1,300 per pupil, while conspicuously omitting to confirm the same uprating for secondary schools.

Newly released data for the 2013-14 Premium suggests that it might be possible to afford the same uprating for secondary-age pupils, assuming numbers eligible do not increase between January 2013 and January 2014, but the silence on this point betrays some uncertainty, most probably driven partly by numbers and partly by the early impact of Universal Credit on eligibility.

We do know, from the Spending Review, that the total budget for the Premium will be protected in real terms in 2015-16 but will not be further increased.

It remains to be seen whether any new weighting in favour of the primary sector will be retained, but that seems highly likely given the level of disruption that would be caused by frequent recalibration.

One influential commentator – Institute of Education Director Chris Husbands – has suggested that the bracketing of the two announcements marks a significant adjustment:

‘This is a further twist in the evolving purpose of the pupil premium – once intended as an incentive to primary schools to admit more disadvantaged children, then a compensatory payment for the additional costs involved in meeting the needs of disadvantaged children, it is now more clearly a fund to secure threshold levels of attainment.’

This argument runs like a leitmotif through the analysis below.

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But it also runs counter to the Government’s official position that the Premium is designed to support all disadvantaged pupils and close the attainment gap between them and their peers, a position reinforced by the fact that the Government has delineated separate ‘catch-up premium support’ exclusively for those below the thresholds.

There is no change in recent announcements about strengthening the accountability underpinning Pupil Premium support. Husbands’ argument also runs against the tenor of Ofsted’s publications about effective use of the Premium and the latest Unseen Children report, published following deliberations by an expert panel on which Husbands served.

The source appears to be a recent IPPR publication ‘Excellence and Equity: Tackling Educational Disadvantage in England’s Secondary Schools’, Chapter 4 of which asserts (without supporting evidence) that:

 ‘Policymakers talk interchangeably about the pupil premium being used to support pupils who are falling behind, and it being used to support those who are on free school meals.’

This despite the fact that:

The overlap between these two categories is not as large as many people suppose. Last year, only 23 per cent of low-attaining pupils at the end of primary school were eligible for free school meals, and only 26 per cent of pupils eligible for free school meals were low attaining. This puts schools in the difficult position of having to decide whether to spend their pupil premium resources on pupils who have a learning need, even though many of them will not be eligible for free school meals, or whether they should focus them on FSM pupils, even though many of them will be performing at the expected level.’

The notion that pupils who are performing at the expected levels do not, by definition, have a ‘learning need’ is highly contentious, but let that pass.

The substantive argument is that, because ‘tackling the long tail of low achievement is the biggest challenge facing England’s school system’ and because the Premium ‘provides insufficient funds targeted at the right age range’:

‘In order to have maximum impact, the pupil premium should be explicitly targeted towards raising low achievement in primary and early secondary school… The Department for Education should therefore focus the additional funding at this age range. It should… create a higher level of pupil premium in primary schools, and… increase the ‘catch-up premium’ (for year 7 pupils) in secondary schools; the pupil premium in secondary schools would be held at its current level. This would provide primary schools with sufficient resources to fund targeted interventions, such as Reading Recovery, for all children who are at risk of falling behind. It would also compensate secondary schools that have large numbers of pupils starting school below the expected level of literacy and numeracy.

 …Secondary schools are currently given a catch-up premium for every pupil who enters below level 4 in English and maths. However, there is no mechanism to guarantee that these pupils benefit from the money. The ‘catch-up premium’ should therefore be replaced with a ‘catch-up entitlement’. Every pupil that falls into this category would be entitled to have the money spent specifically on helping to raise his or her attainment. Schools would be required to write a letter to these pupils and their families explaining how the resources are being spent.’

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The Government has potentially front-loaded the Pupil Premium into the primary sector, but not – as far as we are aware – the early years of secondary school. Nor has it increased the catch-up premium, unless by some relatively small amount yet to be announced, or made it an individual entitlement.

Husbands’ initial argument – that the linking of Premium and assessment necessarily means a closer link being forged with tackling below-threshold attainment – depends on his assertion that:

‘The core message of the consultation is that the concern is with absolute attainment – secondary readiness – rather than the progress made by primary schools.’

The analysis below examines the case for that assertion.

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What the Primary Assessment Consultation Says

The commentary below follows the sections in the consultation document

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The case for change

The second paragraph of ‘The case for change’ says:

‘We believe that it is right that the government should set out in detail what pupils should be taught…’

a somewhat different  slant to that adopted in the National Curriculum proposals (and which of course applies only to the core subjects in state-maintained schools).

The next section works towards a definition of the term ‘secondary ready’, described as ‘the single most important outcome that any primary school should strive to achieve’.

It is discussed exclusively in terms of achievement in KS2 English and maths tests, at a level sufficient to generate five GCSE Grades A*-C including English and maths five years later.

This despite the fact that the secondary accountability consultation proposes two quite different headline measures: good GCSE grades in both English and maths and Average Points Score in eight subjects from a three-category menu (neither of which is yet defined against the proposed new 8 to 1 GCSE grading scale).

No other criteria are introduced into the definition, rendering it distinctly narrow. This might arguably be the most important outcome of primary education, but it is not the sole outcome by any stretch.

The Government states an ‘ambition’ that all pupils should achieve this benchmark, excepting a proportion ‘with particular learning needs’.

There is no quantification of this proportion, though it is later used to identify a floor target assumption that 85% of the cohort should achieve the benchmark, so the group with ‘particular learning needs’ must be something less than 15% of all learners.

The introduction of a second and parallel floor target, relating to progression, is justified here on the grounds that ‘some schools have particularly demanding intakes’ so ‘will find it challenging to reach the ambitious [attainment] threshold…’. This will also help to identify coasting schools.

This approach to progression, as a fall back in circumstances where the threshold measure is problematic, lends some weight to Husbands’ contention that absolute attainment is now paramount.

Note that the wording in this section is unclear whether the new floor target consists of both of these measures – secondary readiness and progression – or the imposition of one or the other. This issue comes up again later below.

There is nothing here about the importance of applying measures that do not have in-built perverse incentives to focus on the threshold boundary, but this too will resurface later.

There is early confirmation that:

‘We will continue to prescribe statutory assessment arrangements in English, mathematics and science.’

The ‘core principles’ mentioned in the Assessment Without Levels text appear at this stage to be those proposed in the June 2011 Bew Report rather than any new formulation. Note the second bullet point, which pushes in directly the opposite direction to Husbands’ assertion:

  • ongoing assessment is a crucial part of effective teaching, but it should be left to schools. The government should only prescribe how statutory end of key stage assessment is conducted;
  • external school-level accountability is important, but must be fair. In particular, measures of progress should be given at least as much weight as attainment;
  • a wide range of school performance information should be published to help parents and others to hold schools to account in a fair, rounded way; and
  • both summative teacher assessment and external testing are important forms of statutory assessment and both should be published

Already there are mixed messages.

The next section justifies the removal of National Curriculum levels:

‘Imposing a single system for ongoing assessment, in the way that national curriculum levels are built into the current curriculum and prescribe a detailed sequence for what pupils should be taught, is incompatible with this curriculum freedom. How schools teach their curriculum and track the progress pupils make against it will be for them to decide. Schools will be able to focus their teaching, assessment and reporting not on a set of opaque level descriptions, but on the essential knowledge that all pupils should learn. There will be a clear separation between ongoing, formative assessment (wholly owned by schools) and the statutory summative assessment which the government will prescribe to provide robust external accountability and national benchmarking. Ofsted will expect to see evidence of pupils’ progress, with inspections informed by the school’s chosen pupil tracking data.’

Paraphrasing this statement, one derives the following rather questionable logic:

  • We want to give schools freedom to determine their own approaches to in-school assessment
  • The current system of levels has come to be applied to both statutory and in-school assessment
  • So we are removing levels from both statutory and in-school assessment.

The only justification for this must lie in recognition that the retention of levels in statutory assessment will inevitably have a ‘backwash effect’ on in-school assessment.

Yet this backwash effect is not acknowledged in respect of the proposed new arrangements for end of key stage statutory assessment. There is a fundamental issue here.

Schools will still be required to report to parents at the end of each year and key stage. There will be no imposition of a system for them doing so but, as we have already recognised, parents will more readily understand a system that is fully consistent with that applied for end of key stage assessment, rather than a substantively different approach.

The next segment begins to explore the case for shifting the baseline assessment – on which to build measures of progression in primary schools – back to Year R. This will ‘reinforce the importance of early intervention’. The EYFS profile will be retained but might become non-statutory.

The introduction of new summative assessments at end KS1 and end KS2 is confirmed for 2016, with interim arrangements as confirmed in the National Curriculum documentation. The accountability reforms also take effect at this point, so changes will be introduced in the December 2016/January 2017 Performance Tables.

There is also confirmation that academies’ funding agreements require compliance ‘with statutory assessment arrangements as they apply to maintained schools’. This is as close as we get to an explanation of how statutory assessments that apply to all schools will be derived from the National Curriculum programmes of study and single ‘lowest common denominator’ attainment targets.

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Teacher assessment and reporting to parents

This section begins with a second justification for the removal of levels. Some anecdotal evidence is cited to support the argument:

‘Teachers have told us that the use of levels for assessment has become burdensome and encouraged crude ‘best fit’ judgements to differentiate pupil progress and attainment.’

This marks the beginning of the justification for a more sophisticated (and hence more complex) approach.

Schools are free to design their assessment systems, though these must be integrated with the school curriculum. There is a hint that these systems might be different for different subjects (adding still further complexity for parents) though ‘groups of schools may wish to use a common approach’.

Paragraph 3.7 is a confusing complement to the Bew-based core principles that appeared earlier:

‘We expect schools to have a curriculum and assessment framework that meets a set of core principles and:

  • sets out steps so that pupils reach or exceed the end of key stage expectations in the new national curriculum;
  • enables them to measure whether pupils are on track to meet end of key stage expectations;
  • enables them to pinpoint the aspects of the curriculum in which pupils are falling behind, and recognise exceptional performance;
  • supports teaching planning for all pupils; and
  • enables them to report regularly to parents and, where pupils move to other schools, providing clear information about each pupils strengths, weaknesses and progress towards the end of key stage expectations.

Question 1: Will these principles underpin an effective curriculum and assessment system?

The ‘and’ in the opening sentence suggests that this isn’t part of the set of core principles, but the question at the end suggests these are the principles we should be considering, rather than those derived from Bew.

So we have two competing sets of core principles, the second set relating to schools’ own curriculum and assessment frameworks, but not to accountability.

The references here – to steps relative to end of KS expectations, measuring progress towards those expectations, identifying areas where learners are ahead and behind, supporting planning and reporting to parents – are entirely familiar. They really describe the functions of assessment rather than any principles that govern its application.

There is a commitment that the Government will ‘provide examples of good practice’ and:

‘Work with professional associations, subject experts, education publishers and external test developers to signpost schools to a range of potential approaches. Outstanding schools and teaching schools have an opportunity to take the lead in developing and sharing curriculum and assessment systems which meet the needs of their pupils…Commercial providers and subject organisations may offer curriculum schemes of work with inbuilt assessment, including class exercises, homework and summative tests.’

The second consultation question asks respondents to identify additional support and ‘other good examples of effective practice’.

The final section on reporting confirms that the Government plans to continue to publish teacher assessment outcomes in the core subjects, in line with Bew’s recommendation. It is not clear whether this is or is not subject to new scoring arrangements.

There is a brief allusion, almost an afterthought, to schools providing information on transfer and transition. There is no acknowledgement that this process becomes more complex when schools are following different curricula and pursuing different in-house assessment systems.

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National Curriculum tests in English, maths and science

This section begins with a further set of Bewisms, this time on the uses of data derived from statutory assessment. They are the justification for the continuation of externally-marked National Curriculum tests.

The proposal is that these should continue in maths and in English reading and grammar, spelling and punctuation. Writing will continue to be assessed through externally moderated teacher assessment (suggesting it will be scale scored), while national science sampling will also continue at the end of KS2. The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check will also continue, with results available in Raise Online but not in Performance Tables.

The timetable, including phasing, is rehearsed again, before the critically important tripartite approach to reporting is introduced.

This comprises:

  • A ‘scaled score’
  • Decile-based ranking within the ‘national cohort’ and
  • Progression from the baseline

The scaled score is the threshold marker of whether the learner is ‘secondary-ready’. We knew from previous announcements that this standard would be raised from level 4c equivalent to 4b equivalent.

It is also necessary to standardise the scale – and to know by how much any given learner has undershot or overshot this threshold:

‘Because it is not possible to create tests of precisely the same difficulty every year, the number of marks needed to meet the secondary readiness standard will fluctuate slightly from one year to another. To ensure that results are comparable over time, we propose to convert raw test marks into a scaled score, where the secondary readiness standard will remain the same from year to year.

Scaled scores are used in all international surveys and ensure that test outcomes are comparable over time. The Standards and Testing Agency will develop this scale. If, as an example, we developed scaled scores based on the current national curriculum tests, we might employ a scale from 80 to 130. We propose to use a scaled score of 100 as the secondary ready standard.’

The notion of a scaled score, with current Level 4b benchmarked at 100 and a scale sufficiently long to accommodate all levels of attainment above and below, is familiar from PISA and other international comparisons studies.

If the scale has 50 points, as this example does, then there are 50 potential levels of achievement in each assessment – about three times as many as there are currently.

But the score will also be accompanied by a norm-referenced decile, showing how each learner’s performance compares with their peers.

And an average scaled score is generated for learners with the same prior attainment at the baseline, which might or might not move to Year R, so enabling parents to compare their child’s scaled score with this average.

This material would not be used to generate simpler ‘proxy’ grades but would be provided in this tripartite format.

Assuming the illustrative elements above are adopted:

  • The highest possible KS2 performer would receive a scaled score of 130, confirmation that he is within the top decile of his peers and a comparative average scaled score. If this is less than 130, he has made better progress than those with the same prior baseline attainment. If it is 130 he has made the same progress. By definition his progress cannot be worse than the others.
  • A lowest possible KS2 performer would have a scaled score of 80, confirmation that he is within the bottom decile of the cohort and a comparative average scaled score which could be as low as 80 (all peers with the same prior attainment have made the same limited progress as he) but no lower since that is the extreme of the scale;
  • A median KS2 performer would obtain a scaled score of 100, confirmation that he is within the fifth decile and a correspondingly variable average scaled score.

No illustrative modelling is supplied, but one assumes that average scaled scores for those with similar prior attainment will typically cluster, such that most learners will see relatively little difference, while some outliers might get to +15 or -15. It also seems likely that the ‘progression score’ will eventually be expressed in this manner.

The progress measure is based exclusively on comparison with how other learners are progressing, rather than any objective standard of the progression required.

The document claims that:

‘Reporting a scaled score and decile ranking from national curriculum tests will make it easy to identify the highest attainers for example using the highest scaled scores and the top percentiles of pupils. We do not propose to develop an equivalent to the current level 6 tests, which are used to challenge the highest attaining pupils. Key stage 2 national curriculum tests will include challenging material (at least of the standard of the current level 6 test) which all pupils will have the opportunity to answer, without the need for a separate test.’

But, while parents of high attainers who score close to the maximum might reasonably assume that their offspring have performed in the top one or two percentiles, they will be told only that they are within the top decile. This is rather less differentiated than securing a Level 6 under current arrangements.

Moreover, the preparation of single tests covering the full span of attainment will be a tall order, particularly in maths.

This DfES publication from 2004 notes:

‘It is well known that individual differences in arithmetical performance are very marked in both children and adults.  For example, Cockcroft (1982) reported that an average British class of eleven-year-olds is likely to contain the equivalent of a seven-year range in arithmetical ability. Despite many changes in UK education since then, including the introduction of a standard National Curriculum and a National Numeracy Strategy, almost identical results were obtained by Brown, Askew, Rhodes et al (2002).  They found that the gap between the 5th and 95th percentiles on standardized mathematics tests by children in Year 6 (10 to 11-year-olds) corresponded to a gap of about 7 chronological years in ‘mathematics ages’.’

There is no reference to the test development difficulties that this creates, including the risk that high-attaining learners have to undertake pointless ramping of easy questions, unnecessarily extending the length of their tests.

The text claims that the opposite risk – that ceilings are set too low – will be avoided, with at least Level 6-equivalent questions included, but what will their impact be on low attainers undertaking the tests? This is the KS4 tiering debate rewritten for KS2.

It is possible that statutory teacher assessment in the core subjects – other than KS2 writing – could be reported in whatever format schools prefer, rather than in the same manner as test outcomes are reported but, like much else, this is not made clear in the document.

By implication there will be no reporting from the national sampling tests in science.

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Baselines to measure progress

The section on baselines is particularly confusing because of the range of choices it offers consultees.

It begins by stating bluntly that, with the removal of levels, KS1:

‘Teacher assessment of whether a pupil has met the expectations of the programme of study will not provide sufficient information to act as a baseline’.

This is because teacher assessment ‘will not provide differentiated outcomes to allow us to measure progress’, maybe because it won’t attract a scaled score.  But the document says later that KS1 data collected under the existing system might be used as an interim baseline measure.

Two core options are offered:

  • Retaining a baseline at the end of KS1, through new English and maths tests that would be marked by teachers but externally moderated. These would be introduced in ‘summer 2016’ Views are sought over whether these test results should be published, given that publication might reduce the tendency for schools to ‘under-report pupils’ outcomes in the interest of showing the progress pupils have made in the most positive light’.
  • Introducing a new baseline at the start of the reception year, from September 2015, an option that gives credit for progress achieved up to the end of Year 2 and removes a perverse incentive to prioritise early intervention. This is described as ‘a simple check…administered by a teacher within two to six weeks of each pupil entering reception…subject to external monitoring’. It would either be developed in-house or procured from a third party. The existing EYFS Profile would remain in place but become non-statutory, so schools would not have to undertake it and the data would not be moderated or collected.

An array of additional options is set out:

  • Allowing schools to choose their preferred baseline check (presumably always undertaken in Reception, though the document is not clear on this point).
  • Making the baseline check optional, with schools choosing not to use it being ‘judged by attainment alone in performance tables and floor standards’. In other words, the progress measure itself becomes optional, which would appear to run counter to one of Bew’s principles articulated at the beginning of the document and support the Husbands’ line.
  • Assuming a Reception baseline check, making end of KS1 tests non-statutory for primary schools, while retaining statutory tests for infant schools because of their need for such an accountability measure and to provide a baseline for junior schools. KS1 tests would still be available for primary schools to use on an optional basis.

Much of the criticism of the document has focused on the Reception baseline proposal, especially concern that the check will be too demanding for the young children undertaking it. On the face of it, this seems rather unreasonable, but the document is at fault by not specifying more clearly what exactly such a check would entail.

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Accountability

The penultimate section addresses performance tables and floor standards. It begins with the usual PISA-referenced arguments for a high autonomy, high accountability system, mentions again the planned data portal and offers continuing commitments to performance tables and floor standards alike.

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Floor Targets

It includes the statement that:

‘In recent years, we have made the floor both more challenging and fairer, by including a progress element’

even though the text has only just suggested making the progress element optional!

The section on floor standards begins with the exhortation that:

‘All primary schools should ensure that as many pupils as possible leave secondary ready.’

It repeats the intention to raise expectations by increasing the height of the hurdle:

‘We therefore propose a new requirement that 85% of pupils should meet the secondary readiness standard in all the floor standard measures (including writing teacher assessment). This 85% attainment requirement will form part of the floor standard. This standard challenges the assumption that some pupils cannot be secondary ready after seven years of primary school. At the same time it allows some flexibility to recognise that a small number of pupils may not meet the expectations in the curriculum because of their particular needs, and also that some pupils may not perform at their best on any given test day.’

So the 85% threshold is increased from 60% and the standard itself will be calibrated on the current Level 4b rather than 4c. This represents a hefty increase in expectations.

The text above appears to suggest that all pupils should be capable of becoming ‘secondary-ready’, regardless of their baseline – whether in Year R or Year 2 – apart from the group with particular unspecified needs. But, this time round,  there is also  allowance for a second group who might underperform on the day of the test.

Once again, the justification for a parallel progress measure is not to ensure consistency with the Bew principles, but to offer schools with ‘particularly challenging intakes’ a second string to their bows in the form of a progress measure. The precise wording is:

‘We therefore propose that schools would also be above floor standards if they have good progress results.’

Does this mean that schools only have to satisfy one of the two measures, or both? This is not absolutely clear, but the sentence construction is perhaps more consistent with the former rather than the latter.

If we are right, this is substantively different to the requirements in place for 2013 and announced for 2014:

‘In key stage 2 tests in 2014, primary schools will be below the floor standard if:

  • fewer than 65% of its pupils do not achieve Level 4 or above in reading, writing and maths, and
  • it is below the England median for progression by two levels in reading, in writing, and in maths.

*Results in the new grammar, punctuation and spelling test are likely to be part of the floor standard in 2014.

For tests taken this year, primary schools will be below the floor standard if:

  • fewer than 60% of its pupils do not achieve Level 4 or above in reading, writing and maths, and
  • it is below the England median for progression by two levels in reading, in writing, and in maths.

*Results in the new grammar, punctuation and spelling test will not be part of the floor standard this year.’

It is also substantively different to the new arrangements proposed for secondary schools.

Slightly later on, the text explains that schools which exceed the floor target on the basis of progression, while falling below the 85% secondary-ready threshold, will be more likely to be inspected by Ofsted than those exceeding this threshold.

However, Ofsted will also look at progress measures, and:

‘Schools in which low, middle and high attaining pupils all make better than average progress will be much less likely to be inspected.’

The text argues that:

‘Progress measures mean that the improvements made by every pupil count – there is no perverse incentive to focus exclusively on pupils near the borderline of an attainment threshold.’

But, assuming the progression target only comes into play for schools with ‘particularly challenging intakes’, the large majority will have no protection against this perverse incentive unless an optional APS measure is also introduced (see below).

As already stated, the progress measure will be derived from comparison with the average scaled scores of those with similar prior attainment at the baseline – in essence the aggregation of the third element in reporting to parents. Exactly how this aggregation will be calculated is not explained.

Of course, an average measure like this does not preclude schools from giving disproportionately greater attention to learners at different points on the attainment spectrum and comparatively neglecting others.

Unless the performance tables distinguish progress by high attainers, they might be likely to lose out, as will those never likely to achieve the ‘secondary-ready’ attainment threshold. More on this below.

The precise score for the floor targets is yet to be determined, but is expected ‘to be between 98.5 and 99’:

‘Our modelling suggests that a progress measure set at this level, combined with the 85% threshold attainment measure, would result in a similar number of schools falling below the floor as at present. Over time we will consider whether schools should make at least average progress as part of floor standards.’

So the progress element of the standard will be set slightly below average progress to begin with, perhaps to compensate for the much higher attainment threshold. This may support the argument that progress plays second fiddle to attainment.

Finally, the idea of incorporating an ‘average point score attainment measure’ in floor targets is floated:

‘Schools would be required to achieve either the progress measure or both the threshold and average point score attainment measure to be above the floor. This would prevent schools being above floor standards by focusing on pupils close to the expected standard, and would encourage schools to maximise the achievement of all their pupils. Alternatively we could publish the average point score to inform inspections and parents’ choices, but not include the measure in hard accountability.’

The first part of this paragraph reinforces the interpretation that the floor standard is now to be based either on the attainment threshold or the progress measure, but not both. But, under this option, the threshold measure could have an additional APS component to protect against gaming the threshold.

That goes some way towards levelling the playing field in terms of attainment, but of course it does nothing to support a balanced approach to progression in the vast majority of schools.

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Performance Tables

The treatment of performance tables begins with a further reference to the supporting ‘data portal’ that will include material about ‘the attainment of certain pupil groups’. This is designed to reduce pressure to overload the tables with information, but may also mean the relegation of data about the comparative performance of those different groups.

The description of ‘headline measures’ to be retained in the tables includes, for each test presumably:

  • the percentage of learners who meet ‘the secondary readiness standard’;
  • the school’s average scaled score, comparing it with the average score for the national cohort;
  • the rate of progress of pupils in the school

There will also be a ‘high attainer’ measure:

‘We will also identify how many of the school’s pupils are among the highest-attaining nationally, by including a measure showing the percentage of pupils attaining a high scaled score in each subject.’

The pitch of this high scaled score is not mentioned. It could be set low – broadly the top third, as in the current ‘high attainer’ measure, or at a somewhat more demanding level. This is a significant omission and clarification is required.

Statutory teacher assessment outcomes will also be published (though some at least may follow schools’ chosen assessment systems rather than utilise scaled scores – see above).

All annual results will also be accompanied by three year rolling averages, to improve the identification of trends and protect small schools in particular from year-on-year fluctuation related to the quality of intake. There is an intention to extend rolling averages to floor targets once the data is available.

All these measures will be shown separately for those eligible for the Pupil Premium. This means that, for the first time, high attainers amongst this group will be distinguished, so it will be possible to see the size of any ‘excellence gap’. This is an important and significant change.

There will also be a continuation of the ‘family of schools’ approach – comparing schools with others that have a similar intake – recently integrated into the current Performance Tables.

The Pupil Premium will be increased:

‘To close the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers and to help them achieve these higher standards…Schools have the flexibility to spend this money in the best way possible to support each individual child to reach his or her potential.’

So, despite the rider in the second sentence, the purpose of the Premium is now two-fold.

In practice this is likely to mean that schools at risk of being below the standard will focus the Premium disproportionately on those learners that are not deemed ‘secondary-ready’, which further supports the Husbands theory.

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Recognising the attainment and progress of all pupils

Rather disappointingly, this final short section is actually exclusively about low attainers and those with SEN – presumably amongst those who will not be able to demonstrate that they are ‘secondary ready’.

It tells us that access arrangements are likely to be unchanged. Although the new KS2 tests will be based on the entire PoS:

‘Even if pupils have not met the expectations for the end of the key stage, most should be able to take the tests and therefore most will have their attainment and progress acknowledged’.

There will also be ‘a small minority’ currently assessed via the P-scales. There is a commit to explore whether the P-scales should be adjusted to ‘align with the revised national curriculum’.

There is an intention to publish data about the progress of pupils with very low prior attainment, though floor standards will not be applied to special schools. The document invites suggestions for what data should be published for accountability purposes.

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Primary Assessment and Accountability: Issues and Omissions

The extended analysis above reveals a plethora of issues with the various measures proposed within the consultation document.

Equally, it ignores some important questions raised by material already published, especially the parallel secondary consultation document.

So we have a rather distorted picture with several missing pieces.

The longer first section below draws together the shortcomings in the argument constructed by the consultation document. I have organised these thematically rather than present them in order of magnitude – too many are first order issues. I have also included Labour’s response to the document.

The shorter second section presents the most outstanding unanswered questions arising from the relationship between this document and the materials published earlier.

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Issues arising from the consultation document

The multiple issues of concern include:

  • The core purpose of the Pupil Premium in primary schools: Is it to narrow attainment gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged learners, or to push the maximum number of schools over more demanding floor targets by delivering more ‘secondary ready’ pupils, regardless of disadvantage. There is much evidence to support the Husbands’ argument that the Premium ‘is now more clearly a fund to secure threshold levels of attainment.’ There is some overlap between the two objectives – though not as much as we commonly think, as the IPPR report quoted above points out. Chasing both simultaneously will surely reduce the chances of success on each count. That does not bode well for the Government’s KPIs.
  • The definition of ‘secondary ready’: This is based exclusively on an attainment measure derived from scores achieved in once-only tests in maths and aspects of English, plus teacher assessment in writing. It is narrow in a curricular sense, but also in the sense that it defines readiness entirely in terms of attainment, even though the document admits that this is ‘the single most important outcome’ rather than the only outcome.
  • The pitch of the new attainment threshold for the floor target: The level of demand has been ratcheted up significantly, by increasing the height of the hurdle from Level 4c to Level 4b-equivalent and increasing the percentage of pupils required to reach this level by 25%, from 60% to 85%. The consultation document says unpublished modelling suggests combining this with fixing the proposed progress measure a percentage or two below the average ‘would result in a similar number of schools falling below the floor as at present’. It would be helpful to see hard evidence that this is indeed the case. Given that the vast majority of schools will be judged against the floor standard solely on the attainment measure (see below), there are grounds for contesting the assertion.
  • Whether the proposed floor target consists of two measures or one of two measures: There is considerable ambiguity within the consultation document on this point, but the weight of evidence suggests that the latter applies, and that progression is only to be brought into the equation when schools ‘have particularly challenging intakes’. This again supports the Husbands line. It is a significant change from current arrangements in the primary sector and is also materially different to proposed arrangements for the secondary sector. It ought to be far more explicit as a consequence.
  • The risk of perverse incentives in the floor targets: The consultation document points out that inclusion of a progress measure reduces a perverse incentive to focus exclusively or disproportionately on learners near the borderline of the attainment threshold. But if the progress measure is only to apply to a small (but unquantified) minority of schools with the most demanding intakes, the perverse incentive remains in place for most. In any case, a measure that focuses on average progress across the cohort does not necessarily militate against disproportionate attention to those at the borderline.
  • Which principles are the core principles? We were promised a set of such principles in the piece quoted above on ‘Assessment without levels’. Instead we seem to have a set of ‘key principles’ on which ‘the proposals in this consultation are based’, these being derived from Bew (paragraph 1.5) and some additional points that the main text concedes do not themselves qualify as core principles (paragraph 3.7). Yet the consultation question about core principles follows directly beneath the latter and, moreover, calls them principles! This is confusing, to say the least.
  • Are the core principles consistently followed? This depends of course on what counts as a core principle. But if one of those principles is Bew’s insistence that ‘measures of progress should be given at least as much weight as attainment’, that does not seem to apply to the treatment of floor targets in the document, where the attainment threshold trumps the progress measure. If one of the core proposals runs counter to the proposed principles, that is clearly a fundamental flaw.
  • Implications of a choice of in-house assessment schemes: Schools will be able to develop their own schemes or else draw on commercially available products. One possibility is that the market will become increasingly dominated by a few commercial providers who profit excessively from this arrangement. Another is that hundreds of alternative schemes will be generated and there will be very little consistency between those in use in different schools. This will render primary-secondary transition and in-phase transfer much more complex, especially for ‘outlier’ learners. It seems that this downside of a market-driven curriculum and assessment model has not been properly quantified or acknowledged.
  • Whether or not these apply to statutory teacher assessment: We know that the results of teacher assessment in writing will feature in the new floor target, alongside the outcomes of tests which attract a new-style scale score. But does this imply that all statutory teacher assessment will attract similar scale scores, or will it be treated as ‘ongoing assessment’. I might have missed it, but I cannot find an authoritative answer to this point in the document.
  • Whether the proposed tripartite report to parents is easier to understand than existing arrangements: This is a particularly significant issue. The argument that the system of National Curriculum levels was not properly understood is arguably a fault of poor communication rather than inherent to the system itself. It is also more than arguable that the alternative now proposed – comprising a scaled score, decile and comparative scaled score in each test – is at least as hard for parents to comprehend. There is no interest in converting this data into a simple set of proxy grades with an attainment and a progression dimension, as I have proposed. The complexity is compounded because schools’ internal assessment systems may well be completely different. Parents are currently able to understand progress within a single coherent framework. In future they will need to relate one system for in-school assessment to another for end of key stage assessment. This is a major shortcoming that is not properly exposed in the document.
  • Whether decile-based differentiation is sufficient: Parents arguably have a right to know in which percentile their children’s performance falls, rather than just the relevant decile. At the top of the attainment spectrum, Level 6 achievement is more differentiated than a top decile measure, in that those who pass the test are a much more selective group than the top ten percent. The use of comparatively vague deciles may be driven by concern about labelling (and perhaps also some recognition of the unreliability of more specific outcomes from this assessment process). The document insists that only parents will be informed about deciles, but it does not require a soothsayer to predict that learners will come to know them, just as they know their levels. (The secondary consultation document sees virtue in older learners knowing and using their ‘APS8 score’ so what is different?) In practice it is hard to imagine a scenario where those in possession of percentile rankings could withhold this data if a parent demanded it.

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  • Norm versus criterion-referencing: Some commentators appear relatively untroubled by a measure of progress that rests entirely on comparison between a learner and his peers. They suppose that most parents are most concerned whether their child is keeping up with their peers, rather than whether their rate of progress is consistent with some abstract measure. That may be true – and it may be also too difficult to design a new progress measure that applies consistently to the non-linear development of every learner, regardless of their prior attainment. On the other hand, it does not seem impossible to contemplate a measure of progress associated with the concept of ‘mastery’ that is now presumed to underpin the National Curriculum, since its proponents are clear that ‘mastery’ does not hold back those who are capable of progressing further and faster.
  • Development of tests to suit all abilities and the risk of ceiling effects: There must be some degree of doubt whether universal tests are the optimal approach to assessment for the full attainment spectrum, especially for those at either end, particularly in maths where the span of the spectrum is huge. The document contains an assurance that the new tests will be at least as demanding as existing Level 6 tests, so single tests will aim to accommodate six levels of attainment in old money. Is that feasible? Despite the assurance, the risk of undesirable ceiling effects is real and of particular concern for the highest attainers.

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  • Where to pitch the baseline: The arguments in favour of a Year R baseline – and the difficulties associated with implementing one – have attracted the lion’s share of the criticism directed at the paper, which has rather served to obscure some of its other shortcomings. The obvious worry is that the baseline check will be either disproportionate or unreliable – and quite possibly both. Most of the focus is on the overall burden of testing: the document floats a variety of ideas that would add another layer of fragmentation and complexity, such as making the check optional, making KS1 tests optional and providing different routes for stand-alone infant/junior schools and all-through primaries.
  • The nature of the baseline check: Conversely, the consultation document is unhelpfully coy about the nature of the check required. If it had made a better fist of describing the likely parameters of the check, exaggerated concerns about its negative impact on young children might have been allayed. Instead, the focus on the overall testing burden leads one to assume that the Year R check will be comparatively onerous.
  • How high attainers will be defined in the performance tables: There are welcome commitments to a ‘high attainer’ measure for each test, based on scaled scores, and the separate publication of this measure for those in receipt of the Pupil Premium. But we are given no idea where the measure will be pitched, nor whether it will address progress as well as attainment. One obvious approach would be to use the top decile, but that runs against an earlier commitment not to incorporate the deciles in performance tables, despite there being no obvious reason why this should be problematic, assuming that anonymity can be preserved (which may not be possible in smaller cohorts). It would be particularly disappointing if high attainers continue to be defined as around one third of the cohort – say the top three deciles, but that may be the path of least resistance.

There are also more technical assessment issues – principally associated with the construction of the scaled score – which I leave it to assessment experts to anlayse.

Labour’s response to the consultation document picks up some of the wider concerns above. Their initial statement focused on the disappearance of ‘national statements of learning outcomes’, how a norm-referenced approach would protect standards over time and the narrowness of the ‘secondary-ready’ concept.

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A subsequent Twigg article begins with the latter point, bemoaning the Government’s:

‘Backward looking vision, premised on rote-learning and a failure to value the importance of the skills and aptitudes that young people need to succeed’.

It moves on to oppose the removal of level descriptors:

‘There might be a case to look at reforming level descriptors to ensure sufficient challenge but scrapping them outright is completely misguided and will undermine standards in primary schools’

 and the adoption of norm-referenced ranking into deciles:

 ‘By ranking pupils against others in their year- rather than against set, year-on-year standards – this will lead to distortions from one year to another. There is not a sound policy case for this.’

 But it offers support for changing the baseline:

‘I have been clear that I want to work constructively on the idea of setting baseline assessments at 5. There is a progressive case for doing this. All-too-often it is the case that the prior attainment of children from socially-deprived backgrounds is much lower than for the rest. It is indeed important that schools are able to identify a baseline of pupil attainment so that teachers can monitor learning and challenge all children to reach their potential.’

Unfortunately, this stops short of a clear articulation of Labour policy on any of these three points, though it does suggest that several aspects of these reforms are highly vulnerable should the 2015 General Election go in Labour’s favour.

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Omissions

There are several outstanding questions within the section above, but also a shorter list of issues relating to the interface between the primary assessment and accountability consultation document, its secondary counterpart and the National Curriculum proposals. Key amongst them are:

  • Consistency between the primary and secondary floor targets: The secondary consultation is clear ‘that schools should have to meet a set standard on both the threshold and progress measure to be above the floor’. There is no obvious justification for adopting an alternative threshold-heavy approach in the primary sector. Indeed, it is arguable that the principle of a floor relies on broad consistency of application across phases. Progression across the attainment spectrum in the primary phase should not be sacrificed on the altar of a single, narrow ‘secondary ready’ attainment threshold.
  • How the KS2 to KS4 progress measure will be calculated: While the baseline-KS2 progress measure may be second order for the purposes of the primary floor, the KS2-KS4 progression measure is central to the proposals in the secondary consultation document. We now know that this will be based on the relationship between the KS2 scaled score and the APS8 measure. But there is no information about how these two different currencies will be linked together. Will the scaled score be extended into KS3 and KS4 so that GCSE grades are ‘translated’ into higher points on the same scale? Further information is needed before we can judge the appropriateness of the proposed primary scaled scores as a baseline.

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  • How tests will be developed from singleton attainment targets: The process by which tests will be developed in the absence of a framework of level descriptions and given single ‘lowest common denominator’ attainment targets for each programme of study remains shrouded in mystery. This is not simply a dry technical issue, because it informs our understanding of the nature of the tests proposed. It also raises important questions about the relationship academies will need to have with programmes of study that – ostensibly at least – they are not required to follow. One might have hoped that the primary document would throw some light on this matter.

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Overall Judgement

Because there has been no effort to link together the proposals in the primary and secondary consultation documents (and we still await a promised post-16 document) there are significant outstanding questions about cross-phase consistency and, especially, the construction of the KS2-KS4 progress measure.

I have identified no fewer than sixteen significant issues with the proposals in the primary consultation document. Several of these are attributable to a lack of clarity within the text, not least over the core principles that should be applied across the piece to ensure policy coherence and internal consistency between different elements of the package. This is a major shortcoming.

The muddle and obfuscation over the nature of the floor target is an obvious concern, together with the decision to hitch the Pupil Premium to the achievement of the floor, as well as to narrowing achievement gaps. There is a fundamental tension here that needs to be unpacked and addressed.

The negative impact of the removal of the underpinning framework ensuring consistency between statutory end of key stage assessment and end-year assessment in schools has been underplayed. There is significant downside to balance against any advantages from greater freedom and autonomy, but this has not been spelled out.

The case for the removal of levels has been asserted repeatedly, despite a significant groundswell of professional opinion against it, stretching back to the original response to consultation on the recommendations of the Expert Panel. There may be reason to believe that Labour would reverse this decision.

While there is apparently cross-party consensus on the wisdom of shifting the KS1 baseline to Year R, big questions remain about the nature of the ‘baseline check’ required.

Despite some positive commitments to make the assessment and accountability regime ‘high attainer friendly’ there are also significant reservations about how high attainment will be defined and reported.

On a scaled score from 80 to 130, I would rate the Government at 85 and, with some benefit of the doubt, put the Opposition at 100.

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In a nutshell…

We have perhaps two-thirds of the bigger picture in place, though some parts are distinctly fuzzy.

The secondary proposals are much more coherent than those for the primary sector and these two do not fit together well.

The primary proposals betray an incoherent vision and vain efforts to reconcile irreconcilably divergent views. It is no surprise that they were extensively delayed, only to be published in the last few days of the summer term.

Has this original June 2012 commitment been met?

‘In terms of statutory assessment, however, I believe that it is critical that we both recognise the achievements of all pupils, and provide for a focus on progress. Some form of grading of pupil attainment in mathematics, science and English will therefore be required, so that we can recognise and reward the highest achievers as well as identifying those that are falling below national expectations.

We have scores rather than grading and they don’t extend to science. High achievers will receive attention but we don’t know whether they will be the highest achievers or a much broader group.

Regrettably then, the answer is no.

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GP

July 2013

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Accountability, Assessment and the New National Curriculum: Part Two

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This is the second part of a revised, updated and extended analysis of proposals for the reform of the National Curriculum, its assessment and the use of assessment data to within accountability arrangements.

New material, about the primary assessment and accountability consultation document, is emboldened. I have also published it separately.

Part One concluded with an extended commentary on the newly available consultation document on primary assessment and accountability. Before drawing out the implications of that commentary, I want to return to the National Curriculum proposals.

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Issues with the National Curriculum Proposals

It is not my purpose here to detail the changes to each programme of study, since several writers have already provided such material

I want to concentrate instead on the broad shape of the National Curriculum and plans for its implementation. The treatment below highlights the six issues I find most concerning, and takes them in order of concern.

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Phasing of Implementation

It is clear that legal issues did arise from the troublesome mismatch between the timetables for the implementation of National Curriculum and assessment reform.

This has caused the Government to move away from its preferred position of universal implementation (at least up to the end of KS3) from September 2014.

The Government Response to the National Curriculum Consultation says:

‘All maintained schools will be required to teach the new national curriculum for all subjects and at all key stages from September 2014, with two exceptions. The new national curriculum for year 2 and year 6 English, mathematics and science will become compulsory from September 2015, to reflect the fact that key stage 2 tests in summer 2015 will be based on the existing national curriculum. Key stage 4 English, mathematics and science will be taught to year 10 from September 2015 and year 11 from September 2016, to ensure coherence with the reformed GCSE qualifications in these subjects.’

In other words, introduction of the new PoS – in the three core subjects only – is delayed for one year for those learners beginning Year 2 and Year 6 in September 2014.

Similarly, the new core KS4 programmes will be introduced for Year 10 in September 2015 and Year 11 in September 2016, to align with the introduction of new GCSE specifications.

This results in a complex set of transitional arrangements. In primary schools alone:

  • In AY 2013/14, the foundation subjects are disapplied for all, the core subjects are disapplied for Years 3 and 4 and the existing PoS continue to apply for Years 1, 2, 5 and 6.
  • In AY 2014/15, the new National Curriculum applies in foundation subjects for all Years but, in the core subjects, it only applies for Years 1, 3, 4 and 5. Year 2 and Year 6 follow the existing core PoS.
  • In AY 2015/16, the new National Curriculum applies in core and foundation subjects for all Years.

This Table shows the implications for different primary year groups in the core subjects only.

AY 2013/14 AY 2014/15 AY 2015/16
Year 1 Old PoS New Pos New PoS
Year 2 Old PoS Old PoS New PoS
Year 3 Dis New PoS New PoS
Year 4 Dis New PoS New PoS
Year 5 Old Pos New PoS New PoS
Year 6 Old PoS Old PoS New PoS

Depending on a learners’ Year Group in 2013/14, each will experience, over this three year period, one of three combinations:

  • Old, Old, New
  • Old, New, New
  • Disapplied, New, New

Moreover, because there is a different pattern in respect of the foundation subjects, many will be simultaneously pursuing parts of the old National Curriculum and parts of the new National Curriculum in AY2014/15.

As far as the PoS are concerned, that may be fairly straightforward, but which National Curriculum Aims apply? Which Inclusion Statement? What about the requirements for English and maths across the curriculum?

The Inclusion Statement certainly used to be statutory. I have seen no suggestion that the new version is no longer statutory, which causes me to question how two different statutory Inclusion Statements can apply to the same pupils at the same time?

Other commentators have suggested that managing this transition will be a fairly easy ask of schools – and that the compromise presented is an improvement on the previous situation, in which some learners would have followed the new PoS for a year, only to be tested on the old one.

But complexity is the enemy of efficiency, especially in schools that may already be struggling to meet expectations imposed by the accountability framework.

Given that the Government was initially wedded to a ‘big bang’ approach rather than phased implementation, it might have been preferable to have stuck with that decision and delayed implementation of the entire National Curriculum until September 2015.

Failing that, it might have been preferable to have delayed the entire National Curriculum – not just the core subjects – by one year for those beginning Years 2 and 6 in September 2014, so those learners would follow a single version in that year rather than sections of old and new combined.

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Inclusion statement

The Inclusion Statement for the current National Curriculum has three sections:

‘The curriculum should provide relevant and challenging learning to all children. It should follow the three principles set out in the inclusion statement:

A. setting suitable learning challenges

B. responding to pupils’ diverse learning needs

C. overcoming potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of pupils.’

There is not space to quote the full statement here, especially the lengthy third section covering special needs, disabilities and EAL, but here are parts A and B:

‘A. Setting suitable learning challenges

Teachers should aim to give every pupil the opportunity to experience success in learning and to achieve as high a standard as possible. The national curriculum programmes of study set out what most pupils should be taught but teachers should teach the knowledge, skills and understanding in ways that suit their pupils’ abilities. This may mean choosing knowledge, skills and understanding from earlier or later stages so that individual pupils can make progress and show what they can achieve. Where it is appropriate for pupils to make extensive use of content from an earlier stage, there may not be time to teach all aspects of the programmes of study. A similarly flexible approach will be needed to take account of any gaps in pupils’ learning resulting from missed or interrupted schooling.

For pupils whose attainments fall significantly below the expected levels at a particular stage, a much greater degree of differentiation will be necessary. In these circumstances, teachers may need to use the content of programmes of study as a resource or to provide a context, in planning learning appropriate to the requirements of their pupils.

For pupils whose attainments significantly exceed the expected levels, teachers will need to plan suitably challenging work. As well as drawing on work from later stages, teachers may plan further differentiation by extending the breadth and depth of study.

B. Responding to pupils’ diverse learning needs

When planning, teachers should set high expectations and provide opportunities for all pupils to achieve, including boys and girls, pupils with special educational needs, pupils from all social and cultural backgrounds, pupils from different ethnic groups including travellers, refugees and asylum seekers, and those from diverse linguistic backgrounds. Teachers need to be aware that pupils bring to school different experiences, interests and strengths which will influence the way in which they learn. Teachers should plan their approaches to teaching and learning so that pupils can take part in lessons fully and effectively.

To ensure that they meet the full range of pupils’ needs, teachers should be aware of the requirements of the equal opportunities legislation that covers race, gender and disability.

Teachers should take specific action to respond to pupils’ diverse needs by:

  • creating effective learning environments
  • securing their motivation and concentration
  • providing equality of opportunity through teaching approaches
  • using appropriate assessment approaches
  • setting targets for learning.’

Here (again) are the first two paragraphs of the version proposed in the February 2013 Framework Document:

Teachers should set high expectations for every pupil. They should plan stretching work for pupils whose attainment is significantly above the expected standard. They have an even greater obligation to plan lessons for pupils who have low levels of prior attainment or come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Teachers should use appropriate assessment to set targets which are deliberately ambitious….

…Teachers should take account of their duties under equal opportunities legislation that covers disability, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, gender identity, and religion or belief.’

This is entirely unchanged in the July document (though there has been a minor adjustment further down to reflect concerns expressed by SEN and disability lobbies).

I have already pointed out the shortcomings in the first paragraph, which are even more glaring and serious if this text continues to have a statutory basis (and of course this error should not be used as an excuse to downgrade the statement by removing its statutory footing).

While the version in the current National Curriculum may be prolix, it carries important messages that seem to have been lost in the newer version, about giving ‘every pupil the opportunity to experience success in learning and to achieve as high a standard as possible’ and expecting teachers to ‘provide opportunities for all pupils to achieve’. Overall its significance is depressed.

Revision of the first paragraph is urgent and critical, but the whole statement should be strengthened and – assuming it does still have statutory force – its statutory basis affirmed. Ofsted’s ‘Most Able Students’ Report explains why this is necessary.

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Attainment Targets

The February consultation invited respondents to say whether they approved of the decision to apply a single standard attainment target to each programme of study.

The consultation document said:

‘Legally, the National Curriculum for each subject must comprise both programmes of study and attainment targets. While programmes of study set out the curriculum content that pupils should be taught, attainment targets define the expected standard that pupils should achieve by the end of each key stage. Under the current National Curriculum, the standard is set out through a system of levels and level descriptions for each subject. The national expectation is defined as a particular level for the end of Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. At Key Stage 4, GCSE qualifications at grade C currently define the expected standard.

The Government has already announced its intention to simplify the National Curriculum by reforming how we report progress. We believe that the focus of teaching should be on subject content as set out in the programmes of study, rather than on a series of abstract level descriptions. Parents deserve a clear assessment of what their children have learned rather than a ‘level description’ which does not convey clear information.

A single statement of attainment that sets out that pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study will encourage all pupils to aspire to reach demanding standards. Parents will be given clear information on what their children should know at each stage in their education and teachers will be able to report on how every pupil is progressing in acquiring this knowledge.’

The analysis of consultation responses notes that:

‘739 (52%) respondents viewed the wording of the attainment targets as unclear and confusing. Many respondents also commented on the brevity of the attainment targets and felt that clarification would be needed to help schools to identify the standard and to ensure consistency in measuring pupil performance across schools. A number of respondents highlighted the interplay between curriculum and assessment and wanted to review the government’s plans for primary assessment and accountability and for recognising the achievements of low attaining pupils and those pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities, in order to provide a considered response.’

The Government’s response rather dismisses the views expressed by the majority of respondents, simply restating its case for removing National Curriculum levels and conceding nothing.

‘Schools should then be free to design their approaches to assessment to support pupil attainment and progression. The assessment framework must be built into the curriculum, so that schools can check what pupils have learned and whether they are on track to meet expectations at the end of the key stage, and so that they can report regularly to parents.

We have been clear that we will not prescribe a national system for schools’ ongoing assessment. Ofsted’s inspections will be informed by the pupil tracking data systems that individual schools choose to keep. Schools will continue to benchmark their performance through statutory end of key stage assessments, including national curriculum tests.’

The concern here is driven by lack of information. Respondents to the consultation cannot really be blamed for responding negatively when the Government has so far failed to explain how statutory Key Stage 2 tests and Key Stage 3 assessments will be built on top of the scaffolding supplied by the draft PoS.

It is also a reasonable expectation, on the part of schools, that their internal assessment arrangements are fully consistent with the statutory assessment framework operating at the end of each Key Stage.

There is no recognition, consideration or accommodation of the arguments against the removal of levels. The degree of conviction assumed by the response rings rather hollow given the significant weight of professional opposition to this decision, against which the Government sets the controversial views of its own Expert Panel.

Despite railing against ‘the blob’, this is one occasion where Ministers prefer to side with the views expressed by a handful of academics, rather than those of professional school leaders and teachers.

Mr Twigg called on the Government to rethink the removal of levels when the Ministerial Statement was debated in Parliament (Col 37) which might be indicative that Labour has come round to the view that this would be unwise.

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Support for Implementation

There was overwhelming concern amongst respondents to consultation about the implementation timetable and a perception that limited support would be provided to manage the transition. ASCL’s call for a thorough and properly resourced implementation plan reflected this concern.

The Consultation Report records that:

‘1,782 (64%) respondents raised the need for funding for materials and resources to support the teaching of the new national curriculum. There was a concern that existing resources would become obsolete and replacing them would incur significant costs.

1,643 (59%) respondents felt that there was a need for staff training and continuing professional development to increase teachers’ confidence and capability in designing and delivering the new curriculum and to respond to the need for specific specialist skills (e.g. computing, language teaching).

1,651 (59%) respondents highlighted the need for schools to have sufficient time to plan for the new curriculum. Some stated that schools would need the final new national curriculum at the start of the coming academic year to enable them to prepare for teaching the new curriculum from September 2014.’

In responses to questions about who is best placed to develop resources and provide such support, 42% of respondents mentioned schools and teachers, 21% advocated inter-school collaboration, 36% mentioned teaching and subject associations, 31% local authorities and 13% the government. Publishers were also nominated.

The extended section in the Government’s response to the consultation is long on advocacy of a school- and market-driven system – and correspondingly short on central support to enable this process to operate effectively.

It tells us that:

‘There will be no new statutory document or guidance from Whitehall telling teachers how to do this. Government intervention will be minimal

…We believe that schools are best placed to decide which resources meet their needs and to secure these accordingly. We want to move away from large-scale, centralised training programmes, which limit schools’ autonomy, and towards a market-based approach in which schools can work collaboratively to provide professional development tailored to individual needs. We expect schools to take advantage of existing INSET days and wider opportunities to bring staff together to consider the development needs that the new curriculum may pose.

… The Leading Curriculum Change resources developed through the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) by National Leaders of Education will inspire and guide school leaders through this process and teaching schools and others will support their use.

Sector-led expert groups have been looking at how existing resources can support the new curriculum and identifying any significant gaps… Resources and opportunities will be signposted from our website once the new national curriculum is finalised in the autumn and hosted by subject associations and other organisations.

Current government-funded provision is being refocused to support the new national curriculum. This includes support provided by the national network of Science Learning Centres, the work of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) and the extension of match funding for phonics resources and training until October 2013.

New support includes ring-fenced funding for sport in primary schools and over £2 million worth of support to bolster the supply of computing teachers. In addition, we will make a fund of £2 million available to teaching schools and national support schools, to enable them to support the delivery of the new curriculum across their alliances and networks in the coming academic year.

We have been working with publishers and educational suppliers throughout the review to ensure that they are well informed about changes to the curriculum and can meet schools’ needs by adapting existing products and by identifying what additional materials will be needed in time to support schools to prepare to teach the new curriculum from September 2014. We know that schools will prioritise, budget and plan for when and how to add gradually to – or indeed replace – resources and we expect publishers and suppliers to take this into account.’

As far as I can establish, only the £2 million for teaching schools and national support schools (the schools where National Leaders of Education are located) is new provision.  Many of these will be academies, not required to follow the National Curriculum. Some state-funded schools might reasonably look askance at their suitability and capacity to provide the requisite support.

Since there are likely to be somewhere between 1,100 and 1,500 institutions of this kind active during this period, this funding could amount to as little as £1,333 per school.

We do not know what capacity the National College, NCETM and the National Science Centres are devoting to their contribution.

By and large, schools are expected to meet any additional costs from their existing budgets. The combined cost of resources, professional development and staff time are likely to be significant, especially in larger secondary schools.

It seems that the Government will advertise online any ‘significant gaps’ in the availability of resources to support the curriculum and look to the market to respond within the 11 months available prior to implementation (though schools would clearly prefer to have such materials much earlier than that)..

A story on the progress made by the groups established to identify such gaps was published in the Guardian in late June, but based on papers dating from a month earlier. It is clear that they were then hamstrung by the draft status of the PoS and the likelihood of further significant change before they were finalised.

We have no idea of the magnitude of the gaps that are being identified and how those balance out between key stages and subjects. This information will not be released before the early Autumn.

There is no sign of extra dedicated INSET days to support the implementation process in schools, or of the implementation plan called for by ASCL.

The Government is continuing to push schools to take lead responsibility and ownership of the reform process, while the bodies representing heads and teachers are insisting that the Government is abdicating responsibility and they need more central support.

The distinct possibility that this state of confrontation will not result in uniformly effective implementation is likely to feature rather prominently in the Government’s risk registers.

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Challenge

When asked whether the draft PoS were sufficiently challenging, just 22% of consultation respondents agreed that they were sufficiently challenging, while 39% said that they were not.

The latter:

‘Felt that the proposed curriculum would not prepare pupils for the challenges of the 21st Century. Some of these respondents stated that the level of challenge could not be determined in foundation subjects due to insufficient detail in the programmes of study.’

The Government’s response does not expressly address this point, other than by restating the rationale for the approach it has adopted.

Moreover, 61% of respondents said that the draft PoS do not provide for effective progression between key stages and 63% said the new national curriculum does not embody an expectation of higher standards for all children.

These hardly amount to a ringing endorsement. Moreover, it is unlikely that the changes that have been introduced since the last round of consultation will have been sufficient in aggregate to alter this judgement. But we will never know because this question will not be repeated in the final round of consultation – the pitch of the PoS is now fixed until any future review.

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Aims

The overarching National Curriculum aims have been revised slightly from:

‘The National Curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the core knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

The National Curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the National Curriculum specifications. The National Curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons.’

To:

‘The national curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

The national curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the national curriculum specifications. The national curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.’

19% of consultation respondents liked the aims, but another 19% found them too vague. Some wanted guidance on the time the national curriculum should take up. Some 36% argued that the aims are over-focused on knowledge at the expense of skills and understanding.

Some 44% approved of the proposal to drop subject-specific aims but 37% opposed this. The Government has decided to retain them ‘to support and guide schools in their teaching and to help parents and pupils understand the desired outcomes of the curriculum’.

The statements of cross-curricular emphasis on English and maths have been strengthened slightly. A section on vocabulary development has been added to English – and, for some unknown reason, the order has been reversed, with maths now coming first.

The Government’s response in defence of its aims argues that the emphasis on knowledge reflects the purpose of the curriculum and that its accentuation was one of the objectives of the review.

While it is undeniably the role of schools to develop skills and understanding, the aims ‘are not…intended to capture everything that schools teach and do’. The revised version is intended to reflect more accurately the purpose and status of the aims.

The logic of a National Curriculum that gives statutory definition to knowledge but neglects skills and understanding is questionable.

Such a defence rather undermines the argument – advanced by proponents and opponents of Hirsch alike – that these elements do not lend themselves readily to artificial separation, gaining strength and significance from their inter-relationship, such that the whole is greater than the sum of parts. Schools may be hindered rather than helped by this document in their efforts to reunite them.

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Primary Assessment and Accountability: Issues and Omissions

The extended analysis in Part One revealed a plethora of issues with the various measures proposed within the consultation document it.

Equally, it ignores some important questions raised by material already published, especially the parallel secondary consultation document.

So we have a rather distorted picture with several missing pieces.

The longer first section below draws together the shortcomings in the argument constructed by the consultation document. I have organised these thematically rather than present them in order of magnitude – too many are first order issues.

The shorter second section presents the most outstanding unanswered questions.

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Issues arising from the consultation document

The multiple issues of concern include:

  • The core purpose of the Pupil Premium in primary schools: Is it to narrow attainment gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged learners, or to push the maximum number of schools over more demanding floor targets by delivering more ‘secondary ready’ pupils, regardless of disadvantage. There is much evidence to support the Husbands’ argument that the Premium ‘is now more clearly a fund to secure threshold levels of attainment.’ There is some overlap between the two objectives – though not as much as we commonly think, as the IPPR report quoted above points out. Chasing both simultaneously will surely reduce the chances of success on each count. That does not bode well for the Government’s KPIs.
  • The definition of ‘secondary ready’: This is based exclusively on an attainment measure derived from scores achieved in once-only tests in maths and aspects of English, plus teacher assessment in writing. It is narrow in a curricular sense, but also in the sense that it defines readiness entirely in terms of attainment, even though the document admits that this is ‘the single most important outcome’ rather than the only outcome.
  • The pitch of the new attainment threshold for the floor target: The level of demand has been ratcheted up significantly, by increasing the height of the hurdle from Level 4c to Level 4b-equivalent and increasing the percentage of pupils required to reach this level by 25%, from 60% to 85%. The consultation document says unpublished modelling suggests combining this with fixing the proposed progress measure a percentage or two below the average ‘would result in a similar number of schools falling below the floor as at present’. It would be helpful to see hard evidence that this is indeed the case. Given that the vast majority of schools will be judged against the floor standard solely on the attainment measure (see below), there are grounds for contesting the assertion.
  • Whether the proposed floor target consists of two measures or one of two measures: There is considerable ambiguity within the consultation document on this point, but the weight of evidence suggests that the latter applies, and that progression is only to be brought into the equation when schools ‘have particularly challenging intakes’. This again supports the Husbands line. It is a significant change from current arrangements in the primary sector and is also materially different to proposed arrangements for the secondary sector. It ought to be far more explicit as a consequence.
  • The risk of perverse incentives in the floor targets: The consultation document points out that inclusion of a progress measure reduces a perverse incentive to focus exclusively or disproportionately on learners near the borderline of the attainment threshold. But if the progress measure is only to apply to a small (but unquantified) minority of schools with the most demanding intakes, the perverse incentive remains in place for most. In any case, a measure that focuses on average progress across the cohort does not necessarily militate against disproportionate attention to those at the borderline.
  • Which principles are the core principles? We were promised a set of such principles in the piece quoted above on ‘Assessment without levels’. Instead we seem to have a set of ‘key principles’ on which ‘the proposals in this consultation are based’, these being derived from Bew (paragraph 1.5) and some additional points that the main text concedes do not themselves qualify as core principles (paragraph 3.7). Yet the consultation question about core principles follows directly beneath the latter and, moreover, calls them principles! This is confusing, to say the least.
  • Are the core principles consistently followed? This depends of course on what counts as a core principle. But if one of those principles is Bew’s insistence that ‘measures of progress should be given at least as much weight as attainment’, that does not seem to apply to the treatment of floor targets in the document, where the attainment threshold trumps the progress measure. If one of the core proposals runs counter to the proposed principles, that is clearly a fundamental flaw.
  • Implications of a choice of in-house assessment schemes: Schools will be able to develop their own schemes or else draw on commercially available products. One possibility is that the market will become increasingly dominated by a few commercial providers who profit excessively from this arrangement. Another is that hundreds of alternative schemes will be generated and there will be very little consistency between those in use in different schools. This will render primary-secondary transition and in-phase transfer much more complex, especially for ‘outlier’ learners. It seems that this downside of a market-driven curriculum and assessment model has not been properly quantified or acknowledged.
  • Whether or not these apply to statutory teacher assessment: We know that the results of teacher assessment in writing will feature in the new floor target, alongside the outcomes of tests which attract a new-style scale score. But does this imply that all statutory teacher assessment will attract similar scale scores, or will it be treated as ‘ongoing assessment’. I might have missed it, but I cannot find an authoritative answer to this point in the document.
  • Whether the proposed tripartite report to parents is easier to understand than existing arrangements: This is a particularly significant issue. The argument that the system of National Curriculum levels was not properly understood is arguably a fault of poor communication rather than inherent to the system itself. It is also more than arguable that the alternative now proposed – comprising a scaled score, decile and comparative scaled score in each test – is at least as hard for parents to comprehend. There is no interest in converting this data into a simple set of proxy grades with an attainment and a progression dimension, as I have proposed. The complexity is compounded because schools’ internal assessment systems may well be completely different. Parents are currently able to understand progress within a single coherent framework. In future they will need to relate one system for in-school assessment to another for end of key stage assessment. This is a major shortcoming that is not properly exposed in the document.
  • Whether decile-based differentiation is sufficient: Parents arguably have a right to know in which percentile their children’s performance falls, rather than just the relevant decile. At the top of the attainment spectrum, Level 6 achievement is more differentiated than a top decile measure, in that those who pass the test are a much more selective group than the top ten percent. The use of comparatively vague deciles may be driven by concern about labelling (and perhaps also some recognition of the unreliability of more specific outcomes from this assessment process). The document insists that only parents will be informed about deciles, but it does not require a soothsayer to predict that learners will come to know them, just as they know their levels. (The secondary consultation document sees virtue in older learners knowing and using their ‘APS8 score’ so what is different?) In practice it is hard to imagine a scenario where those in possession of percentile rankings could withhold this data if a parent demanded it.
  • Norm versus criterion-referencing: Some commentators appear relatively untroubled by a measure of progress that rests entirely on comparison between a learner and his peers. They suppose that most parents are most concerned whether their child is keeping up with their peers, rather than whether their rate of progress is consistent with some abstract measure. That may be true – and it may be also too difficult to design a new progress measure that applies consistently to the non-linear development of every learner, regardless of their prior attainment. On the other hand, it does not seem impossible to contemplate a measure of progress associated with the concept of ‘mastery’ that is now presumed to underpin the National Curriculum, since its proponents are clear that ‘mastery’ does not hold back those who are capable of progressing further and faster.
  • Development of tests to suit all abilities and the risk of ceiling effects: There must be some degree of doubt whether universal tests are the optimal approach to assessment for the full attainment spectrum, especially for those at either end, particularly in maths where the span of the spectrum is huge. The document contains an assurance that the new tests will be at least as demanding as existing Level 6 tests, so single tests will aim to accommodate six levels of attainment in old money. Is that feasible? Despite the assurance, the risk of undesirable ceiling effects is real and of particular concern for the highest attainers.
  • Where to pitch the baseline: The arguments in favour of a Year R baseline – and the difficulties associated with implementing one – have attracted the lion’s share of the criticism directed at the paper, which has rather served to obscure some of its other shortcomings. The obvious worry is that the baseline check will be either disproportionate or unreliable – and quite possibly both. Most of the focus is on the overall burden of testing: the document floats a variety of ideas that would add another layer of fragmentation and complexity, such as making the check optional, making KS1 tests optional and providing different routes for stand-alone infant/junior schools and all-through primaries.
  • The nature of the baseline check: Conversely, the consultation document is unhelpfully coy about the nature of the check required. If it had made a better fist of describing the likely parameters of the check, exaggerated concerns about its negative impact on young children might have been allayed. Instead, the focus on the overall testing burden leads one to assume that the Year R check will be comparatively onerous.
  • How high attainers will be defined in the performance tables: There are welcome commitments to a ‘high attainer’ measure for each test, based on scaled scores, and the separate publication of this measure for those in receipt of the Pupil Premium. But we are given no idea where the measure will be pitched, nor whether it will address progress as well as attainment. One obvious approach would be to use the top decile, but that runs against an earlier commitment not to incorporate the deciles in performance tables, despite there being no obvious reason why this should be problematic, assuming that anonymity can be preserved (which may not be possible in smaller cohorts). It would be particularly disappointing if high attainers continue to be defined as around one third of the cohort – say the top three deciles, but that may be the path of least resistance.

Labour’s response to the consultation document picks up some of these issues. Their initial statement focused on the disappearance of ‘national statements of learning outcomes’, how a norm-referenced approach would protect standards over time and the narrowness of the ‘secondary-ready’ concept.

A subsequent Twigg article begins with the latter point, bemoaning the Government’s:

‘Backward looking vision, premised on rote-learning and a failure to value the importance of the skills and aptitudes that young people need to succeed’.

It moves on to oppose the removal of level descriptors:

‘There might be a case to look at reforming level descriptors to ensure sufficient challenge but scrapping them outright is completely misguided and will undermine standards in primary schools’

and the adoption of norm-referenced ranking into deciles:

‘By ranking pupils against others in their year- rather than against set, year-on-year standards – this will lead to distortions from one year to another. There is not a sound policy case for this.’

But it offers support for changing the baseline:

‘I have been clear that I want to work constructively on the idea of setting baseline assessments at 5. There is a progressive case for doing this. All-too-often it is the case that the prior attainment of children from socially-deprived backgrounds is much lower than for the rest. It is indeed important that schools are able to identify a baseline of pupil attainment so that teachers can monitor learning and challenge all children to reach their potential.’

Unfortunately, this stops short of a clear articulation of Labour policy on any of these three points, though it does suggest that several aspects of these reforms are highly vulnerable should the 2015 General Election go in Labour’s favour.

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Omissions

There are several outstanding questions within the section above, but also a shorter list of issues relating to the interface between the primary assessment and accountability consultation document, its secondary counterpart and the National Curriculum proposals. Key amongst them are:

  • Consistency between the primary and secondary floor targets: The secondary consultation is clear ‘that schools should have to meet a set standard on both the threshold and progress measure to be above the floor’. There is no obvious justification for adopting an alternative threshold-heavy approach in the primary sector. Indeed, it is arguable that the principle of a floor relies on broad consistency of application across phases. Progression across the attainment spectrum in the primary phase should not be sacrificed on the altar of a single, narrow ‘secondary ready’ attainment threshold.
  • How the KS2 to KS4 progress measure will be calculated: While the baseline-KS2 progress measure may be second order for the purposes of the primary floor, the KS2-KS4 progression measure is central to the proposals in the secondary consultation document. We now know that this will be based on the relationship between the KS2 scaled score and the APS8 measure. But there is no information about how these two different currencies will be linked together. Will the scaled score be extended into KS3 and KS4 so that GCSE grades are ‘translated’ into higher points on the same scale? Further information is needed before we can judge the appropriateness of the proposed primary scaled scores as a baseline.
  • How tests will be developed from singleton attainment targets: This issue has already been raised in the National Curriculum section above. The process by which tests will be developed in the absence of a framework of level descriptions and given single ‘lowest common denominator’ attainment targets for each programme of study remains shrouded in mystery. This is not simply a dry technical issue, because it informs our understanding of the nature of the tests proposed. It also raises important questions about the relationship academies will need to have with programmes of study that – ostensibly at least – they are not required to follow. One might have hoped that the primary document would throw some light on this matter.

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Overall Judgement

National Curriculum

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On the National Curriculum side I have flagged up some significant concerns.

There are some major implementation challenges ahead, which now extend beyond AY 2013/14 into the following year.

The decision to phase national curriculum implementation – ultimately forced on the Government by its decision to stagger curriculum and assessment reforms – is rather more likely to increase those challenges than to temper them. There are significant question marks over whether the selected approach to phasing is optimal, either for schools or learners.

The first paragraph of the Inclusion Statement is plain wrong, especially given its statutory status. It requires amendment.

As things stand, the National Curriculum has a limited shelf-life under the Coalition. If it does not wither on the vine as a consequence of continuing conversion to academy status, it is likely to be marginalised in the medium term – and the new iteration will not be replaced.

As for Labour, your guess is as good as mine. Her Majesty’s Opposition has committed simultaneously to removing and retaining a National Curriculum, should it be elected in 2015. That is neither sensible nor sustainable – nor can this confusion add up to a vote-attracting proposition.

On a scaled score from 80 to 130 I would rate the Government at 95 and the Opposition at 80.

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Assessment and accountability

Because there has been no effort to link together the proposals in the primary and secondary consultation documents (and we still await a promised post-16 document) there are significant outstanding questions about cross-phase consistency and, especially, the construction of the KS2-KS4 progress measure.

I have identified no less than sixteen significant issues with the proposals in the primary consultation document. Several of these are attributable to a lack of clarity within the text, not least over the core principles that should be applied across the piece to ensure policy coherence and internal consistency between different elements of the package. This is a major shortcoming.

The muddle and obfuscation over the nature of the floor target is an obvious concern, together with the decision to hitch the Pupil Premium to the achievement of the floor, as well as to narrowing achievement gaps. There is a fundamental tension here that needs to be addressed.

The negative impact of the removal of the underpinning framework ensuring consistency between summative statutory end of key stage assessment and summative end-year assessment in schools has been underplayed. There is significant downside to balance against any advantages from greater freedom and autonomy, but this has not been spelled out.

The case for the removal of levels has been asserted repeatedly, despite a significant groundswell of professional opinion against it, stretching back to the original response to consultation on the recommendations of the Expert Panel. There may be reason to believe that Labour would reverse this decision.

While there is apparently cross-party consensus on the wisdom of shifting the KS1 baseline to Year R, big questions remain about the nature of the ‘baseline check’ required.

Despite some positive commitments to make the assessment and accountability regime ‘high attainer friendly’ there are also significant reservations about how high attainment will be defined and reported.

On a scaled score from 80 to 130, I would rate the Government at 85 and, with some benefit of the doubt, put the Opposition at 100.

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In a nutshell…

We have perhaps two-thirds of the bigger picture in place, though some parts are distinctly fuzzy.

The secondary proposals are much more coherent than those for the primary sector and these two do not fit together well.

The primary proposals betray an incoherent vision and vain attempts to reconcile irreconcilably divergent views. It is no surprise that they were extensively delayed, only to be published in the last few days of the summer term.

Has this original June 2012 commitment been met?

‘In terms of statutory assessment, however, I believe that it is critical that we both recognise the achievements of all pupils, and provide for a focus on progress. Some form of grading of pupil attainment in mathematics, science and English will therefore be required, so that we can recognise and reward the highest achievers as well as identifying those that are falling below national expectations.

We have scores rather than grading and they don’t extend to science. High achievers will receive attention but we don’t know whether they will be the highest achievers or a much broader group.

Regrettably, the answer is no.

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GP

June 2013

Accountability, Assessment and the New National Curriculum: Part One

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This post examines the Primary assessment and accountability consultation document published on 17 July 2013, considering its contribution to the emerging picture of National Curriculum, assessment and accountability reform across the primary and secondary phases.

It is a revised, expanded and updated version of an earlier post, published on 10 July, which foregrounded the revised National Curriculum proposals published two days earlier. Given its length I have divided it into two parts of roughly equal length.

Readers who prefer to focus exclusively on the fresh material should go to the emboldened sections of the text, or to this separate post containing the core argument.

I had always intended that this final version would explore the interplay between three major reforms – the revised proposals for the new National Curriculum, its assessment from 2016 when National Curriculum Levels are taken out of service and the associated arrangements for the publication of assessment outcomes in School Performance Tables – and offer some preliminary judgement of whether, taken together, they amount to a coherent and viable policy package.

There is a symbiotic relationship between curriculum, assessment and accountability. There are also important considerations associated with continuity and progression between phases.

The long-delayed primary assessment and accountability document had been expected since June 2012 and the timetable for publication was extended on more than one occasion. Such delay is typically evidence that there is disagreement over fundamental aspects of the policy – and that securing consensus has been problematic.

We have still not seen a promised consultation on post-16 assessment and accountability, and we await the outcome of the parallel secondary consultation, which closed on 1 May.

The extended disjunction between curriculum and assessment – apparent in both policy development and the timetable for implementation of these various reforms – has created unnecessary and potentially avoidable difficulties, for the Government and stakeholders alike.

There are also issues with the additional disjunction between primary and secondary (and post-16) assessment and accountability reforms. The Government’s decision to consult on these consecutively, without addressing important questions about how they fit together, suggests that critical pieces of the jigsaw are missing.

Finally, the decision to remove National Curriculum levels raises several difficult questions about how the Government will measure and monitor national progress in raising educational standards and narrowing gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged learners.

Part of the purpose of this post is to expose these rifts, so we can judge how robustly they are addressed in the next few months.

 

What has been published?

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Primary assessment and accountability reforms

17 July saw the publication of three documents in the following order:

  • A press release which appeared shortly after a midnight embargo;

There was no response to the parallel ‘Secondary school accountability’ consultation launched on 7 February and completed on 1 May, despite the connectivity between the two sets of proposals – and no firm indication of when that response would be published.

A third consultation, on post-16 assessment and accountability, was not mentioned either.

The staged publication of the primary material meant that initial analysis and questioning of Ministers was based largely on the headlines in the press release rather than on the substance of the proposals.

Initial media appearances appeared to generate a groundswell of hostility that Ministers could not readily counter. The answers to some reasonable questions on the detail were not yet in the public domain.

It was particularly noteworthy that the announcement had integrated within it a second, about the size of Pupil Premium allocations in 2014-15. This was clearly intended to sugar the pill, though the coating is rather thin and there are also potentially wider ramifications (see below).

The Pupil Premium announcement must have been the justification for presentation by Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Clegg and Minister of State Laws, rather than by Tory Secretary of State Gove.

He (Gove) must have been delighted at avoiding this particularly poisoned chalice, already delayed into the dog days of summer – often a deliberate strategy for downplaying a particularly contentious announcement.

The consultation has a deadline of 11 October, allowing a total of 11 weeks and two days for responses, including the entirety of the school summer holidays, so the majority of the consultation period occurs while most schools are closed. This may also serve to mute opposition to the proposals contained in the document.

There is a commitment to publish the outcomes of consultation, together with a response ‘in autumn 2013’, which is a very quick turn round assuming that autumn means November rather than December. If there is any degree of contention, this might well edge close to Christmas.

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National Curriculum publications

Nine days earlier, on 8 July 2013, a raft of National Curriculum proposals had appeared. The first iteration of this post concentrated primarily on these documents:

  • A Press Release ‘Education reform: a world-class curriculum to drive up standards and fuel aspiration’.
  •  A Consultation Document ‘National curriculum review: new programmes of study and attainment targets from September 2014’, with responses due by 8 August.
  • An updated framework document ‘The National Curriculum in England’ which includes the generic elements of the National Curriculum as well as each Programme of Study.

I have retained largely unchanged in this final version my record of recent history, to set the context for the analysis that follows.

 

A Recap of the last round of consultation and developments

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The February 2013 Package

Back in February, the Government released the draft and consultation documents that informed the preparation and publication of the latest round of material set out above.

They included:

  • A full set of draft National Curriculum Programmes of Study for Key Stages 1-3, as well as drafts of the PoS for Key Stage 4 English, maths, science, PE and Citizenship.
  • An earlier version of the National Curriculum Consultation Framework Document incorporating all those draft PoS, with the exception of the KS4 core subjects, plus the generic elements of the National Curriculum including draft Aims and a draft Inclusion Statement.
  • The Secondary School Accountability Consultation Document focused principally on the development of accountability measures and their publication within the School Performance Tables. Consultation closed on 1 May 2013. This promised parallel consultation documents on accountability for primary schools and post-16 providers ‘shortly’.
  • The Government’s response to an earlier consultation on reforming Key Stage 4 Qualifications and an associated letter to Ofqual. This resulted in a further consultation on the future shape of GCSE examinations (see below).

I produced an analysis and assessment of this package shortly after publication.

Key points included:

  • Significant disparities between the length and degree of prescription of different draft PoS, with the primary core at one extreme (long and prescriptive) and the secondary foundation subjects at another (short and flexible). This suggested that the Government’s commitment to schools’ autonomy is highly variable by subject and phase, and tailored deliberately to fit the profile of academisation.
  • The rather basic nature of the overarching National Curriculum Aims:

‘The National Curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the core knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

The National Curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the National Curriculum specifications. The National Curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons.’

and an associated proposal to dispense with subject-specific aims in each draft PoS, assumed to be superfluous given the generic statement above.

  • The wording of the draft Inclusion Statement, which was seriously flawed. It said (my emphases) that:

‘Teachers should set high expectations for every pupil. They should plan stretching work for pupils whose attainment is significantly above the expected standard. They have an even greater obligation to plan lessons for pupils who have low levels of prior attainment or come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Teachers should use appropriate assessment to set targets which are deliberately ambitious.’

I took issue with this because of the two infelicitous assumptions it contains –  first, that teachers somehow have a ‘greater obligation’ to plan for low attainers than for high attainers, rather than having an overriding obligation to  treat them equally;  second,  that learners from disadvantaged backgrounds cannot be included amongst the ranks of high attainers.

The first is against the basic principles of comprehensive education and profoundly inequitable; the second is anathema, including to Secretary of State Gove, who has constantly and correctly cautioned against harbouring low expectations of disadvantaged learners.

  • The decision to disapply the bulk of the existing National Curriculum, PoS, attainment targets and assessment arrangements in academic year 2013/14. Schools would be required to teach the subjects of the National Curriculum, but not the content of the PoS. At primary level this would apply across KS1 and 2 for all foundation subjects. But, for core subjects, it would apply only to Years 3 and 4. At secondary level, disapplication would apply across all subjects at KS3 and to English, maths, science, ICT, PE and citizenship at KS4. The disapplication at KS4 would continue until the new PoS came into force for each subject and year group (so leaving the way open for phasing). For, if schools – whether state-maintained or academies – can operate successfully without the PoS for a year, why bother to reimpose the requirement on the state-maintained only from 2014?
  • The ‘lowest common denominator’ approach to attainment targets, which relied on a single standard AT in each PoS:

‘By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.’

This – together with the scrapping of associated level descriptions – removes all scaffolding for the effective differentiation of the PoS, (with potentially negative implications for high attainers, amongst others, if they are insufficiently stretched). It also raises potentially awkward questions about the relationship between the PoS and assessment (see below). Finally, it  leaves the accountability framework – with the possible addition of the ‘power of the market’ – as the last remaining policy levers to bring poor performing schools into line.

  • How low, middle and high attainers will be distinguished in Performance Tables once National Curriculum Levels disappear, since the current distinction is based on achievement of Level equivalents at KS1 (for KS2) and at KS2 (for KS4). Such a distinction will be retained since the secondary accountability consultation mentions a ‘headline measure showing the progress of pupils in each of English and mathematics’ that will continue to ‘show how pupils with low, medium and high prior attainment perform’.
  • Whether these distinctions will be applied in Performance Tables to those eligible for the Pupil Premium, so parents and others can understand the gap within each school between the performance of high attainers from advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds respectively (not forgetting middle and low attainers too).
  • The future of Key Stage 3 assessment, given the disappearance of levels and proposals to remove the requirement on schools to report to the centre the outcomes of teacher assessment. Will it be left entirely to schools to design an assessment system or will a standard national framework continue to operate in the core subjects?
  • The potential implications of the proposed introduction of PISA-style sampling tests at KS4 to ‘track national standards over time’, including any potential ‘washback’ effect on the curriculum.
  • Several unanswered questions about the nature of the proposed value-added KS2-KS4 progress measure, with: separate and as-yet-unknown KS2 and KS4 grading systems; KS2 benchmarks based on performance in KS2 English and maths tests; and KS4 benchmarks based on a new ‘Average Points Score across a balanced scorecard of eight qualifications, including English and maths, three other EBacc subjects and three further ‘high value qualifications’. The consultation document says this measure:

‘Will take the progress each pupil makes between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 and compare that with the progress that we expect to be made by pupils nationally who had the same level of attainment at Key Stage 2 (calculated by combining results at end of Key Stage 2 in English and mathematics).’

A week later I published another post: ‘Whither National Curriculum Assessment Without Levels?’ that set out the history of the decision to dispense with levels and explored some of the issues this raises for assessment, in a context where the majority of secondary schools and a minority of primary schools are no longer bound by the National Curriculum.

This noted:

  • One implication of wholesale exemption from the National Curriculum for academies is that KS2 tests will need to be derived somehow from the content descriptions in the Programmes of Study. The manner in which this will be done is unclear, since it is open to question whether even the detailed draft PoS in the primary core contain sufficiently robust outcome statements to support grade-based statutory assessment at the end of Key Stage 2, especially given the very basic approach to attainment targets outlined above.
  • The desirability of harmonised end of KS2 and end of KS4 assessment and grading systems, so that progression between those two points is easier for parents and learners to follow and understand.
  • The desirability of ensuring that schools’ internal end-of-year assessment systems harmonise with the external assessment systems at end KS2 and end KS4 respectively, so that parents (and teachers) can more easily track progression between those two points.
  • The development of a grading scale that links attainment to the concept of ‘mastery’ of the PoS and progress to a judgement whether performance has improved, been maintained or declined compared with the previous year. I proposed my own ‘aunt sally’ to illustrate this point.

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Developments since February

In the five months that elapsed between the appearance of the two curriculum-related consultation packages there were several material developments that impacted significantly on the outcomes of the process and the future of the National Curriculum, assessment and accountability, including on the other side of the 2015 General Election.

I sought to capture those in this recent round-up of activity on the Gifted Phoenix Twitter feed.

Some of the most significant include:

  • A piece by Brian Lightman of ASCL arguing that we should not be trying to drive the curriculum through the assessment system.
  • A speech from David Laws confirming that the future equivalent of Level 4b will become the new KS2 ‘pass’ with effect from 2016, so heralding a recalibration of expectations on individual learners and raising the stakes for accountability purposes.
  • A speech from Brian Lightman at the ASCL Annual Conference which argued that the abolition of National Curriculum levels creates an unhelpful policy vacuum.

‘So I predict that in the months and years to come the best curriculums will be developed – and refined – in schools across the country by teachers for teachers.

And that is why I think this national curriculum may well be the last national curriculum. Because in future teachers will be doing it for themselves.’

  • An admission that the deadline for the publication of the consultation document on primary accountability had slipped to the end of the summer term (Col 383W).
  • Apparent confirmation from DfE that pupils ending Key Stage 2 in 2015 would be taught the new National Curriculum in  academic year 2014/15 but would be assessed against the old one in May 2015.

‘So Labour will give all schools the same freedom over the curriculum that academies currently enjoy while continuing to insist that all schools teach a core curriculum including English, Maths and Science.’

Some have suggested that this is different to the current requirement imposed on academies but the highlighted part of the sentence above explicitly counters that – and adding any greater specificity to future core curriculum requirements would of course reduce academies’ freedoms – an idea that goes against the entire tenor of Twigg’s speech:

‘Academies say freedom to innovate in the curriculum has given their teachers a new sense of confidence and professionalism. All young people should benefit from the positive impact this brings – trusting teachers to get on with the job.’

‘Develop progress measures to identify how well the most able students have progressed from Year 6 through Key Stage 4 to the end of Key Stage 5.’

  • A Sunday Times story announcing that the primary accountability consultation document would not be released alongside the National Curriculum documentation as anticipated, and suggesting that Ministers were considering KS2 tests in English, maths and science that would enable them to rank learners by performance and so identify the top 10%, (though it was unclear at this stage whether this was across the piece or in each subject).

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Three idiosyncratic interventions

One day after the publication of the second tranche of documents, Mr Twigg published a piece on the Labour List website implying a ‘volte face’ from his previous position, or else a contradictory muddle that requires urgent clarification.

The broad theme of the article is that the draft National Curriculum is insufficiently ambitious. But this would prompt the obvious riposte – if that’s the case, why are you committing Labour to doing without a National Curriculum altogether? Isn’t that even less ambitious by definition?

Mr Twigg strives to unhitch himself from the horns of this dilemma by repeating the commitment in his June speech:

‘Michael Gove believes only Academies and Free Schools can be trusted with the freedom to innovate in what they teach, other state schools must follow his highly prescriptive curriculum. Labour would end this divided system and extend these freedoms over the curriculum to all schools. All qualified teachers should be trusted to get on with the job and all schools should have the same freedoms to raise standards and innovate.’

That must mean extending to all the existing curricular freedoms enjoyed by academies. But then another paragraph is tacked on to the end of the article, almost as an afterthought:

‘His [ie Gove’s] divisive approach means curriculum freedom only applies to some schools. Instead, Labour would develop a reformed National Curriculum which allows teachers in all schools the freedom to innovate and prepares young people for the challenges of the modern economy.’

It is not possible to square these two contradictory statements. The freedoms currently enjoyed by academies do not amount to a National Curriculum (they are required to teach the three core subjects but are free to determine their content). As noted above, any universal National Curriculum would reduce academies’ freedoms rather than increase them.

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Slightly before the 8 July publications, DfE released a short statement on ‘Assessing without levels’ which restated its case for abolishing them, adding:

Schools will be able to introduce their own approaches to formative assessment, to support pupil attainment and progression. The assessment framework should be built into the school curriculum, so that schools can check what pupils have learned and whether they are on track to meet expectations at the end of the key stage, and so that they can report regularly to parents.

Ofsted’s inspections will be informed by whatever pupil tracking data schools choose to keep. Schools will continue to benchmark their performance through statutory end of key stage assessments, including national curriculum tests. In the consultation on primary assessment and accountability, the department will consult on core principles for a school’s curriculum and assessment system.

Although schools will be free to devise their own curriculum and assessment system, we will provide examples of good practice which schools may wish to follow.’

So the core principles would be an important feature of the upcoming consultation document, but it would need to extend beyond those to satisfy the June 2012 commitment:

‘In terms of statutory assessment, however, I believe that it is critical that we both recognise the achievements of all pupils, and provide for a focus on progress. Some form of grading of pupil attainment in mathematics, science and English will therefore be required, so that we can recognise and reward the highest achievers as well as identifying those that are falling below national expectations. We will consider further the details of how this will work.’

And of course some kind of framework would be required for the KS2 core to support the commitment to KS2-4 progression measures in the consultation on secondary accountability.

This statement rather set to one side the strong case for aligning schools’ own internal end-year assessment arrangements with the statutory end of Key Stage arrangements that will be in place from 2016.

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One further important signal towards the future direction of travel appeared, in the shape of Ofqual’s GCSE reform consultation published in June 2013, which sets out as its ‘preferred approach’ to GCSE grading an eight point numerical system, from Grade 8 down to Grade 1.

No convincing explanation is given for placing Grade 8 at the top of the scale rather than Grade 1, so following the precedent set by musical examinations rather than the more universally familiar approach taken in CSE and O level examinations (the latter prior to 1975).

Were this to be applied to the ‘APS8 measure outlined above, it would mean each student achieving a numerical score between 8 and 64. Top-performing schools could vie with each other over the number of their students achieving the magical 64 rating.

Assuming a similarly constructed grading system for the three primary core tests, this could provide the basis for a straightforward ratio of progression from KS2 to KS4, and even possibly on to KS5 as well.

But the Sunday Times story led us to assume that this might be set aside in favour of an equation based on percentiles. Whether this would be designed to accommodate the current predilection for ‘comparable outcomes’ remained unclear.

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An Aside: The Pupil Premium

The assessment and accountability announcement was sugar-coated by confirmation of the size of Pupil Premium allocations in 2014-15.

But close scrutiny of the coating reveals it as rather a thin veneer.

It was already known that the total Pupil Premium funding envelope would increase  by £625m, from £1.875bn in 2013-14 to £2.5bn in 2014-15, so the overall budget was not in itself newsworthy.

But the decision to weight this towards primary schools was new. Ministers made much of the 44% increase for primary schools, from £900 to £1,300 per pupil, while barely mentioning that this must be achieved at the expense of the allocation for secondary schools.

One assumes that the secondary allocation has been frozen at £900 per learner but, at the time of writing, I have seen no official confirmation of that. Hence there is a degree of economy with the truth at play if the funding is claimed to be ‘new money’.

We do know, from the Spending Review, that the total budget for the Premium will be protected in real terms in 2015-16 but will not be further increased.

It remains to be seen whether the new weighting in favour of the primary sector will be retained, but that seems highly likely given the level of disruption that would be caused by frequent recalibration.

One influential commentator – Institute of Education Director Chris Husbands – has suggested that the bracketing of the two announcements marks a significant adjustment:

‘This is a further twist in the evolving purpose of the pupil premium – once intended as an incentive to primary schools to admit more disadvantaged children, then a compensatory payment for the additional costs involved in meeting the needs of disadvantaged children, it is now more clearly a fund to secure threshold levels of attainment.’

This argument runs like a leitmotif through the analysis below.

But it also runs counter to the Government’s official position that the Premium is designed to support all disadvantaged pupils and close the attainment gap between them and their peers, a position reinforced by the fact that the Government has delineated separate ‘catch-up premium support’ exclusively for those below the thresholds.

There is no change in recent announcements about strengthening the accountability underpinning Pupil Premium support. Husbands’ argument also runs against the tenor of Ofsted’s publications about effective use of the Premium and the latest Unseen Children report, published following deliberations by an expert panel on which Husbands served.

The source appears to be a recent IPPR publication ‘Excellence and Equity: Tackling Educational Disadvantage in England’s Secondary Schools’, Chapter 4 of which asserts (without supporting evidence) that:

‘Policymakers talk interchangeably about the pupil premium being used to support pupils who are falling behind, and it being used to support those who are on free school meals.’

This despite the fact that:

‘The overlap between these two categories is not as large as many people suppose. Last year, only 23 per cent of low-attaining pupils at the end of primary school were eligible for free school meals, and only 26 per cent of pupils eligible for free school meals were low attaining. This puts schools in the difficult position of having to decide whether to spend their pupil premium resources on pupils who have a learning need, even though many of them will not be eligible for free school meals, or whether they should focus them on FSM pupils, even though many of them will be performing at the expected level.’

The notion that pupils who are performing at the expected levels do not, by definition, have a ‘learning need’ is highly contentious, but let that pass.

The substantive argument is that, because ‘tackling the long tail of low achievement is the biggest challenge facing England’s school system’ and because the Premium ‘provides insufficient funds targeted at the right age range’:

‘In order to have maximum impact, the pupil premium should be explicitly targeted towards raising low achievement in primary and early secondary school… The Department for Education should therefore focus the additional funding at this age range. It should… create a higher level of pupil premium in primary schools, and… increase the ‘catch-up premium’ (for year 7 pupils) in secondary schools; the pupil premium in secondary schools would be held at its current level. This would provide primary schools with sufficient resources to fund targeted interventions, such as Reading Recovery, for all children who are at risk of falling behind. It would also compensate secondary schools that have large numbers of pupils starting school below the expected level of literacy and numeracy.

…Secondary schools are currently given a catch-up premium for every pupil who enters below level 4 in English and maths. However, there is no mechanism to guarantee that these pupils benefit from the money. The ‘catch-up premium’ should therefore be replaced with a ‘catch-up entitlement’. Every pupil that falls into this category would be entitled to have the money spent specifically on helping to raise his or her attainment. Schools would be required to write a letter to these pupils and their families explaining how the resources are being spent.’

As we now know, the Government has front-loaded the Pupil Premium into the primary sector, but not – as far as we are aware – the early years of secondary school. Nor has it increased the catch-up premium, unless by some relatively small amount yet to be announced, or made it an individual entitlement.

Husbands’ initial argument – that the linking of Premium and assessment necessarily means a closer link being forged with tackling below-threshold attainment – depends on his assertion that:

‘The core message of the consultation is that the concern is with absolute attainment – secondary readiness – rather than the progress made by primary schools.’

The analysis below examines the case for that assertion.

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What the Primary Assessment Consultation Says

The commentary below follows the sections in the consultation document

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The case for change

The second paragraph of ‘The case for change’ says:

‘We believe that it is right that the government should set out in detail what pupils should be taught…’

a somewhat different  slant to that adopted in the National Curriculum proposals (and which of course applies only to the core subjects in state-maintained schools).

The next section works towards a definition of the term ‘secondary ready’, described as ‘the single most important outcome that any primary school should strive to achieve’.

It is discussed exclusively in terms of achievement in KS2 English and maths tests, at a level sufficient to generate five GCSE Grades A*-C including English and maths five years later.

This despite the fact that the secondary accountability consultation proposes two quite different headline measures: good GCSE grades in both English and maths and Average Points Score in eight subjects from a three-category menu (neither of which is yet defined against the proposed new 8 to 1 GCSE grading scale).

No other criteria are introduced into the definition, rendering it distinctly narrow. This might arguably be the most important outcome of primary education, but it is not the sole outcome by any stretch of the imagination.

The Government states an ‘ambition’ that all pupils should achieve this benchmark, excepting a proportion ‘with particular learning needs’.

There is no quantification of this proportion, though it is later used to identify a floor target assumption that 85% of the cohort should achieve the benchmark, so the group with ‘particular learning needs’ must be something less than 15% of all learners.

The introduction of a second and parallel floor target, relating to progression, is justified here on the grounds that ‘some schools have particularly demanding intakes’ so ‘will find it challenging to reach the ambitious [attainment] threshold…’. This will also help to identify coasting schools.

This approach to progression, as a fall back in circumstances where the threshold measure is problematic, lends some weight to Husbands’ contention that absolute attainment is now paramount.

Note that the wording in this section is unclear whether the new floor target consists of both of these measures – secondary readiness and progression – or the imposition of one or the other. This issue comes up again later below.

There is nothing here about the importance of applying measures that do not have in-built perverse incentives to focus on the threshold boundary, but this too will reappear later.

There is early confirmation that:

‘We will continue to prescribe statutory assessment arrangements in English, mathematics and science.’

The ‘core principles’ mentioned in the Assessment Without Levels text appear at this stage to be those proposed in the June 2011 Bew Report rather than any new formulation. Note the second bullet point, which pushes in directly the opposite direction to Husbands’ assertion:

  • ongoing assessment is a crucial part of effective teaching, but it should be left to schools. The government should only prescribe how statutory end of key stage assessment is conducted;
  • external school-level accountability is important, but must be fair. In particular, measures of progress should be given at least as much weight as attainment;
  • a wide range of school performance information should be published to help parents and others to hold schools to account in a fair, rounded way; and
  • both summative teacher assessment and external testing are important forms of statutory assessment and both should be published

Already there are mixed messages.

The next section justifies the removal of National Curriculum levels:

‘Imposing a single system for ongoing assessment, in the way that national curriculum levels are built into the current curriculum and prescribe a detailed sequence for what pupils should be taught, is incompatible with this curriculum freedom. How schools teach their curriculum and track the progress pupils make against it will be for them to decide. Schools will be able to focus their teaching, assessment and reporting not on a set of opaque level descriptions, but on the essential knowledge that all pupils should learn. There will be a clear separation between ongoing, formative assessment (wholly owned by schools) and the statutory summative assessment which the government will prescribe to provide robust external accountability and national benchmarking. Ofsted will expect to see evidence of pupils’ progress, with inspections informed by the school’s chosen pupil tracking data.’

Paraphrasing this statement, one can extract the following rather questionable logic:

  • We want to give schools freedom to determine their own approaches to formative assessment
  • The current system of levels has come to be applied to both formative and summative assessment
  • So we are removing levels from both formative and summative assessment.

The only justification for this must lie in recognition that the retention of levels in summative assessment will inevitably have a ‘backwash effect’ on formative assessment.

Yet this backwash effect is not acknowledged in respect of the proposed new arrangements for summative assessment. There is a fundamental issue here.

Schools will still be required to report to parents at the end of each year and key stage. There will be no imposition of a system for them doing so but, as we have already recognised, parents will more readily understand a system that is fully consistent with that applied for end of key stage assessment, rather than a substantively different approach.

The next segment begins to explore the case for shifting the baseline assessment – on which to build measures of progression in primary schools – back to Year R. This will ‘reinforce the importance of early intervention’. The EYFS profile will be retained but might be rendered non-statutory.

The introduction of new summative assessments at end KS1 and end KS2 is confirmed for 2016, with interim arrangements as noted elsewhere and accountability reforms also taking effect at this point (so in the December 2016/January 2017 Performance Tables).

There is also confirmation that academies’ funding agreements require compliance ‘with statutory assessment arrangements as they apply to maintained schools’. This is as close as we get to an explanation of how statutory assessments that apply to all schools will be derived from the National Curriculum PoS and single ‘lowest common denominator’ attainment targets.

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Teacher assessment and reporting to parents

This section begins with a second justification for the removal of levels. Some anecdotal evidence is cited to support the argument:

‘Teachers have told us that the use of levels for assessment has become burdensome and encouraged crude ‘best fit’ judgements to differentiate pupil progress and attainment.’

This is the beginning of the justification for a more sophisticated (and hence more complex) approach.

Schools are free to design their assessment systems, though these must be integrated with the school curriculum (in a way that these separate government proposals have not been integrated).

There is a hint that these systems might be different for different subjects (adding still further complexity for parents) though ‘groups of schools may wish to use a common approach’.

Paragraph 3.7 is a confusing complement to the Bew-based core principles that appeared earlier:

‘We expect schools to have a curriculum and assessment framework that meets a set of core principles and:

  • sets out steps so that pupils reach or exceed the end of key stage expectations in the new national curriculum;
  • enables them to measure whether pupils are on track to meet end of key stage expectations;
  • enables them to pinpoint the aspects of the curriculum in which pupils are falling behind, and recognise exceptional performance;
  • supports teaching planning for all pupils; and
  • enables them to report regularly to parents and, where pupils move to other schools, providing clear information about each pupils strengths, weaknesses and progress towards the end of key stage expectations.

Question 1: Will these principles underpin an effective curriculum and assessment system?’

The ‘and’ in the opening sentence suggests that this isn’t part of the set of core principles, but the question at the end suggests these are the principles we should be considering, rather than those derived from Bew.

So we have two competing sets of core principles, the latter referring to schools’ own curriculum and assessment frameworks, but not to accountability.

The references here – to steps relative to end of KS expectations, measuring progress towards those expectations, identifying areas where learners are ahead and behind, supporting planning and reporting to parents – are entirely familiar. They really describe the functions of assessment rather than any principles that govern its application.

There is a commitment that the Government will ‘provide examples of good practice’ and:

‘Work with professional associations, subject experts, education publishers and external test developers to signpost schools to a range of potential approaches. Outstanding schools and teaching schools have an opportunity to take the lead in developing and sharing curriculum and assessment systems which meet the needs of their pupils…Commercial providers and subject organisations may offer curriculum schemes of work with inbuilt assessment, including class exercises, homework and summative tests.’

The second consultation question asks respondents to identify additional support and ‘other good examples of effective practice’.

The final section on reporting confirms that the Government plans to continue to publish teacher assessment outcomes in the core subjects, in line with Bew’s recommendation.

There is a brief reference, almost an afterthought, to schools providing information on transfer and transition. There is no acknowledgement that this process becomes more complex when schools are following different curricula and pursuing different in-house assessment systems.

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National Curriculum tests in English, maths and science

This section begins with a further set of Bewisms, this time on the uses of data derived from statutory assessment. They are the justification for the continuation of externally-marked National Curriculum tests.

The proposal is that these should continue in maths and in English reading and grammar, spelling and punctuation. Writing will continue to be assessed through externally moderated teacher assessment, while national science sampling will also continue at the end of KS2. The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check will also continue, with results available in Raise Online but not in Performance Tables.

The timetable, including phasing, is rehearsed again, before the critically important tripartite approach to reporting is introduced.

This comprises:

  • A ‘scaled score’
  • Decile-based ranking within the ‘national cohort’ and
  • Progression from the baseline

The scaled score is the threshold marker of whether the learner is ‘secondary-ready’. We knew from previous announcements that this standard would be raised from the equivalent of 4c to the equivalent of 4b.

It is also necessary to know by how much any given learner has undershot or overshot this threshold. Hence:

‘We propose to report this attainment using a scaled score. Because it is not possible to create tests of precisely the same difficulty every year, the number of marks needed to meet the secondary readiness standard will fluctuate slightly from one year to another. To ensure that results are comparable over time, we propose to convert raw test marks into a scaled score, where the secondary readiness standard will remain the same from year to year.

Scaled scores are used in all international surveys and ensure that test outcomes are comparable over time. The Standards and Testing Agency will develop this scale. If, as an example, we developed scaled scores based on the current national curriculum tests, we might employ a scale from 80 to 130. We propose to use a scaled score of 100 as the secondary ready standard.’

The notion of a scaled score, with current Level 4b benchmarked at 100 and a scale sufficiently long to accommodate all levels of attainment above and below, is familiar from PISA and other international comparisons studies.

If the scale has 50 points, as this example does, then there are 50 potential levels of achievement in each assessment – about three times as many as there are currently.

But the score will also be accompanied by a norm-referenced decile, showing how each learner’s performance compares with their peers.

And an average scaled score is generated for learners with the same prior attainment at the baseline, which might or might not move to Year R, so enabling parents to compare their child’s scaled score with this average.

This material would not be used to generate simpler ‘proxy’ grades but would be provided in this tripartite format.

Assuming the illustrative elements above are adopted:

  • The highest possible KS2 performer would receive a scaled score of 130, confirmation that he is within the top decile of his peers and a comparative average scaled score. If this is less than 130, he has made better progress than those with the same prior baseline attainment. If it is 130 he has made the same progress. By definition his progress cannot be worse than the others.
  • A lowest possible KS2 performer would have a scaled score of 80, confirmation that he is within the bottom decile of the cohort and a comparative average scaled score which could be as low as 80 (all peers with the same prior attainment have made the same limited progress as he) but no lower since that is the extreme of the scale;
  • A median KS2 performer would obtain a scaled score of 100, confirmation that he is within the fifth decile and a correspondingly variable average scaled score.

No illustrative modelling is supplied, but one assumes that average scaled scores for those with similar prior attainment will typically group in a cluster, such that most learners will see relatively little difference, while some outliers might get to +15 or -15. It also seems likely that the ‘progression score’ will eventually be expressed in this manner.

The progress measure is based exclusively on comparison with how other learners are progressing, rather than any objective standard of the progression required.

The document claims that:

‘Reporting a scaled score and decile ranking from national curriculum tests will make it easy to identify the highest attainers for example using the highest scaled scores and the top percentiles of pupils. We do not propose to develop an equivalent to the current level 6 tests, which are used to challenge the highest attaining pupils. Key stage 2 national curriculum tests will include challenging material (at least of the standard of the current level 6 test) which all pupils will have the opportunity to answer, without the need for a separate test.’

But, while parents of high attainers who score close to the maximum might reasonably assume that their offspring have performed in the top one or two percentiles, they will be told only that they are within the top decile. This is rather less differentiated than securing a Level 6 under current arrangements.

Moreover, the preparation of single tests covering the full span of attainment will be a tall order, particularly in maths.

This DfES publication from 2004 notes:

‘It is well known that individual differences in arithmetical performance are very marked in both children and adults.  For example, Cockcroft (1982) reported that an average British class of eleven-year-olds is likely to contain the equivalent of a seven-year range in arithmetical ability. Despite many changes in UK education since then, including the introduction of a standard National Curriculum and a National Numeracy Strategy, almost identical results were obtained by Brown, Askew, Rhodes et al (2002).  They found that the gap between the 5th and 95th percentiles on standardized mathematics tests by children in Year 6 (10 to 11-year-olds) corresponded to a gap of about 7 chronological years in ‘mathematics ages’.’

There is no reference to the test development difficulties that this creates, including the risk that high-attaining learners have to undertake pointless ramping of easy questions, unnecessarily extending the length of their tests.

The text claims that the opposite risk – that ceilings are set too low – will not exist, with at least Level 6-equivalent questions included, but what will their impact be on low attainers undertaking the tests? This is the KS4 tiering debate rewritten for KS2.

One assumes that statutory teacher assessment in the core subjects will be reported in whatever format schools prefer, rather than in the same manner as test outcomes are reported but, like much else, this is not made clear in the document.

By implication there will be no reporting from the national sampling tests in science.

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Baselines to measure progress

The section on baselines is particularly confusing because of the range of choices it offers consultees.

It begins by stating bluntly that, with the removal of levels, KS1:

‘Teacher assessment of whether a pupil has met the expectations of the programme of study will not provide sufficient information to act as a baseline’.

This is because teacher assessment ‘will not provide differentiated outcomes to allow us to measure progress’. This despite the fact that the document says later on that KS1 data collected under the existing system might be used as an interim baseline measure.

Two core options are set out:

  • Retaining a baseline at the end of KS1, through new English and maths tests that would be marked by teachers but externally moderated. These would be introduced in ‘summer 2016’ Views are sought over whether these test results should be published, given that publication might reduce the tendency for schools to ‘under-report pupils’ outcomes in the interest of showing the progress pupils have made in the most positive light’.
  • Introducing a new baseline at the start of the reception year, from September 2015, an option that gives credit for progress achieved up to the end of Year 2 and removes a perverse incentive to prioritise early intervention. This is described as ‘a simple check…administered by a teacher within two to six weeks of each pupil entering reception…subject to external monitoring’. It would either be developed in-house or procured from a third party. The existing EYFS Profile would remain in place but become non-statutory, so schools would not have to undertake it and the data would not be moderated or collected.

But an array of additional options is also offered:

  • Allowing schools to choose their preferred baseline check (presumably always undertaken in Reception, though the consultation is not clear on this point).
  • Making the baseline check optional, with schools choosing not to use it being ‘judged by attainment alone in performance tables and floor standards’. In other words, the progress measure itself becomes optional, which would appear to run counter to one of Bew’s principles articulated at the beginning of the document and support the Husbands’ line.
  • Assuming a Reception baseline check, making end of KS1 tests non-statutory for primary schools, while retaining statutory tests for infant schools because of their need for such an accountability measure and to provide a baseline for junior schools. KS1 tests would still be available for primary schools to use on an optional basis.

Much of the criticism of the document has focused on the Reception baseline proposal, especially concern that the check will be too demanding for the young children undertaking it. On the face of it, this seems rather unreasonable, but the document is at fault by not specifying more clearly what exactly such a check would entail.

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Accountability

The penultimate section addresses performance tables and floor standards. It begins with the usual PISA-referenced arguments for a high autonomy, high accountability system, mentions again the planned data portal and offers continuing commitments to performance tables and floor standards alike.

It includes the statement that:

‘In recent years, we have made the floor both more challenging and fairer, by including a progress element’

even though the text has only just suggested making the progress element optional!

The section on floor standards begins with the exhortation that:

‘All primary schools should ensure that as many pupils as possible leave secondary ready.’

It repeats the intention to raise expectations by increasing the height of the hurdle:

‘We therefore propose a new requirement that 85% of pupils should meet the secondary readiness standard in all the floor standard measures (including writing teacher assessment). This 85% attainment requirement will form part of the floor standard. This standard challenges the assumption that some pupils cannot be secondary ready after seven years of primary school. At the same time it allows some flexibility to recognise that a small number of pupils may not meet the expectations in the curriculum because of their particular needs, and also that some pupils may not perform at their best on any given test day.’

So the 85% threshold is increased from 60% and the standard itself will be calibrated on the current Level 4b rather than 4c. This represents a hefty increase in expectations.

The text above appears to suggest that all pupils should be capable of becoming ‘secondary-ready’, regardless of their baseline – whether in Year R or Year 2 – apart from the group with particular unspecified needs. But, this time round,  there is also  allowance for a second group who might underperform on the day of the test.

Once again, the justification for a parallel progress measure is not to ensure consistency with the Bew principles, but to offer schools with ‘particularly challenging intakes’ a second string to their bows in the form of a progress measure. The precise wording is:

‘We therefore propose that schools would also be above floor standards if they have good progress results.’

Does this mean that schools only have to satisfy one of the two measures, or both? This is not absolutely clear, but the sentence construction is perhaps more consistent with the former rather than the latter.

If we are right, this is substantively different to the requirements in place for 2013 and announced for 2014:

‘In key stage 2 tests in 2014, primary schools will be below the floor standard if:

  • fewer than 65% of its pupils do not achieve Level 4 or above in reading, writing and maths, and
  • it is below the England median for progression by two levels in reading, in writing, and in maths.

*Results in the new grammar, punctuation and spelling test are likely to be part of the floor standard in 2014.

For tests taken this year, primary schools will be below the floor standard if:

  • fewer than 60% of its pupils do not achieve Level 4 or above in reading, writing and maths, and
  • it is below the England median for progression by two levels in reading, in writing, and in maths.

*Results in the new grammar, punctuation and spelling test will not be part of the floor standard this year.’

It is also substantively different to the arrangements proposed for secondary schools.

Slightly later on, the text explains that schools which exceed the floor target on the basis of progression, while falling below the 85% secondary-ready threshold, will be more likely to be inspected by Ofsted than those exceeding this threshold.

However, Ofsted will also look at progress measures, and:

‘Schools in which low, middle and high attaining pupils all make better than average progress will be much less likely to be inspected.’

The text argues that:

‘Progress measures mean that the improvements made by every pupil count – there is no perverse incentive to focus exclusively on pupils near the borderline of an attainment threshold.’

But, assuming the progression target only comes into play for schools with ‘particularly challenging intakes’, the large majority will have no protection against this perverse incentive.

As already stated, the progress measure will be derived from comparison with the average scaled scores of those with similar prior attainment at the baseline – in essence the aggregation of the third element in reporting to parents. Exactly how this aggregation will be calculated is not explained.

Of course, an average measure like this does not preclude schools from giving disproportionately greater attention to learners at different points on the attainment spectrum and comparatively neglecting others.

Unless the performance tables distinguish progress by high attainers, they might be likely to lose out, as will those never likely to achieve the ‘secondary-ready’ attainment threshold.

The precise score for the floor targets is yet to be determined, but is expected ‘to be between 98.5 and 99’:

‘Our modelling suggests that a progress measure set at this level, combined with the 85% threshold attainment measure, would result in a similar number of schools falling below the floor as at present. Over time we will consider whether schools should make at least average progress as part of floor standards.’

So the progress element of the standard will be set slightly below average progress to begin with, perhaps to compensate for the much higher attainment threshold. This may support the argument that progress plays second fiddle to attainment.

Finally, the idea of incorporating an ‘average point score attainment measure’ in floor targets is floated:

‘Schools would be required to achieve either the progress measure or both the threshold and average point score attainment measure to be above the floor. This would prevent schools being above floor standards by focusing on pupils close to the expected standard, and would encourage schools to maximise the achievement of all their pupils. Alternatively we could publish the average point score to inform inspections and parents’ choices, but not include the measure in hard accountability.’

The first part of this paragraph reinforces the interpretation that the floor standard is now to be based either on the attainment threshold or the progress measure, but not both. But, under this option, the threshold measure could have an additional APS component to protect against gaming the threshold.

That goes some way towards levelling the playing field in terms of attainment, but of course it does nothing to support a balanced approach to progression in the vast majority of schools.

The section on performance tables begins with a further reference to the supporting ‘data portal’ that will include material about ‘the attainment of certain pupil groups’. This is designed to reduce pressure to overload the tables with information, but may also mean the relegation of data about the comparative performance of those different groups.

The description of ‘headline measures’ to be retained in the tables includes, for each test presumably:

  • the percentage of learners who meet ‘the secondary readiness standard’;
  • the school’s average scaled score, comparing it with the average score for the national cohort
  • the rate of progress of pupils in the school

There will also be a ‘high attainer’ measure:

‘We will also identify how many of the school’s pupils are among the highest-attaining nationally, by including a measure showing the percentage of pupils attaining a high scaled score in each subject.’

The pitch of this high scaled score is not mentioned. It could be set low – broadly the top third, as in the current ‘high attainer’ measure, or at a somewhat more demanding level. This is a significant omission and clarification is required.

Statutory teacher assessment outcomes will also be published (though presumably these will follow schools’ chosen assessment systems rather than scaled scores – see above).

All annual results will also be accompanied by three year rolling averages, to improve the identification of trends and protect small schools in particular from year-on-year fluctuation related to the quality of intake. There is an intention to extend rolling averages to floor targets once the data is available.

All these measures will be shown separately for those eligible for the Pupil Premium. This means that, for the first time, high attainers amongst this group will be distinguished, so it will be possible to see the size of any ‘excellence gap’. This is an important and significant change.

There will also be a continuation of the ‘family of schools’ approach – comparing schools with others that have a similar intake – recently integrated into the current Performance Tables.

The Pupil Premium will be increased:

‘To close the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers and to help them achieve these higher standards…Schools have the flexibility to spend this money in the best way possible to support each individual child to reach his or her potential.’

So, despite the rider in the second sentence, the purpose of the Premium is now two-fold.

In practice this is likely to mean that schools at risk of being below the standard will focus the Premium disproportionately on those learners that are not deemed ‘secondary-ready’, which further supports the Husbands theory.

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Recognising the attainment and progress of all pupils

Rather disappointingly, this final short section is actually exclusively about low attainers and those with SEN – presumably amongst those who will not be able to demonstrate that they are ‘secondary ready’.

It tells us that access arrangements are likely to be unchanged. Although the new KS2 tests will be based on the entire PoS:

‘Even if pupils have not met the expectations for the end of the key stage, most should be able to take the tests and therefore most will have their attainment and progress acknowledged’.

There will also be ‘a small minority’ currently assessed via the P-scales. There is a commit to explore whether the P-scales should be adjusted to ‘align with the revised national curriculum’.

There is an intention to publish data about the progress of pupils with very low prior attainment, though floor standards will not be applied to special schools. The document invites suggestions for what data should be published for accountability purposes.

Here ends the first part of this analysis. Part Two begins with a review of the issues arising from the revised National Curriculum proposals and from the summary of the assessment consultation document above.

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GP

July 2013

Accountability, Assessment and the New National Curriculum (A Work in Progress)

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Interim Introduction

This post is something of an experiment, since I am publishing it initially as a ‘work in progress’, while waiting for outstanding documentation to be produced by the Government.

It will eventually examine whether three major reforms – the revised proposals for the new National Curriculum, its assessment from 2016 when National Curriculum Levels are taken out of service and the associated arrangements for the publication of assessment outcomes in School Performance Tables – when taken together amount to a coherent and viable policy package.

For all three of these issues are inextricably intertwined. There is a symbiotic relationship between the National Curriculum , the assessment instruments used to judge attainment and progress against it and how learners’ attainment and progress are aggregated, reported and judged with our school accountability framework.

At this ‘work in progress’ stage, the only substantive information in the public domain relates to the National Curriculum. A consultation on secondary assessment and accountability arrangements was completed on 1 May 2013, but neither the outcome nor the Government’s response has yet been published.

A parallel consultation on primary assessment and accountability (together with a post-16 equivalent) has still not appeared, despite proposals being awaited since the Government first decided to dispense with National Curriculum levels in June 2012, well over a year ago now.

This extended disjunction between curriculum and assessment – apparent in both policy development and the timetable for implementation of these various reforms – has created unnecessary and potentially avoidable difficulties, for the Government and stakeholders alike.

Part of the purpose of this post is to establish whether this artificial rift has been successfully healed in the proposals now emerging, which should be fully revealed by the end of this term at the latest, in line with a Government commitment to Parliament in May.

 

What has been published so far: the focus of this first iteration

This first iteration of my post concentrates primarily on the updated National Curriculum proposals, revealed in several different documents published on 8 July 2013:

  • A Press Release ‘Education reform: a world-class curriculum to drive up standards and fuel aspiration’.
  •  A Consultation Document ‘National curriculum review: new programmes of study and attainment targets from September 2014’, with responses due by 8 August.
  • An updated framework document ‘The National Curriculum in England’ which includes the generic elements of the National Curriculum as well as each Programme of Study.

But, in order to provide a meaningful analysis – and to set the context for both initial and final versions of this post – I need to retrace some recent history, covering National Curriculum, assessment and accountability together.

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A Recap of the last round of consultation and developments

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The February 2013 Package

Back in February, the Government released the draft and consultation documents that informed the preparation and publication of the latest round of material set out above.

They included:

  • A full set of draft National Curriculum Programmes of Study for Key Stages 1-3, as well as drafts of the PoS for Key Stage 4 English, maths, science, PE and Citizenship.
  • An earlier version of the National Curriculum Consultation Framework Document incorporating all those draft PoS, with the exception of the KS4 core subjects, plus the generic elements of the National Curriculum including draft Aims and a draft Inclusion Statement.
  • A Secondary School Accountability Consultation Document focused principally on the development of accountability measures and their publication within the School Performance Tables. Consultation closed on 1 May 2013. This promised parallel consultation documents on accountability for primary schools and post-16 providers ‘shortly’.
  • The Government’s response to an earlier consultation on reforming Key Stage 4 Qualifications and an associated letter to Ofqual. This resulted in a further consultation on the future shape of GCSE examinations (see below).

I produced an analysis and assessment of this package shortly after publication.

Key points included:

  • Significant disparities between the length and degree of prescription of different draft PoS, with the primary core at one extreme (long and prescriptive) and the secondary foundation subjects at another (short and flexible). This suggested that the Government’s commitment to schools’ autonomy is highly variable by subject and phase, and tailored deliberately to fit the profile of academisation.
  • The rather basic nature of the overarching National Curriculum Aims:

‘The National Curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the core knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

The National Curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the National Curriculum specifications. The National Curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons.’

and an associated proposal to dispense with subject-specific aims in each draft PoS, assumed to be superfluous given the generic statement above.

  • The wording of the draft Inclusion Statement, which was seriously flawed. It said (my emphases) that:

‘Teachers should set high expectations for every pupil. They should plan stretching work for pupils whose attainment is significantly above the expected standard. They have an even greater obligation to plan lessons for pupils who have low levels of prior attainment or come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Teachers should use appropriate assessment to set targets which are deliberately ambitious.’

I took issue with this because of the two infelicitous assumptions it contains –  first, that teachers somehow have a ‘greater obligation’ to plan for low attainers than for high attainers, rather than having an overriding obligation to  treat them equally;  second,  that learners from disadvantaged backgrounds cannot be included amongst the ranks of high attainers.

The first is against the basic principles of comprehensive education and profoundly inequitable; the second is anathema, including to Secretary of State Gove, who has constantly and correctly cautioned against harbouring low expectations of disadvantaged learners.

  • The decision to disapply the bulk of the existing National Curriculum, PoS, attainment targets and assessment arrangements in academic year 2013/14. Schools would be required to teach the subjects of the National Curriculum, but not the content of the PoS. At primary level this would apply across KS1 and 2 for all foundation subjects. But, for core subjects, it would apply only to Years 3 and 4. At secondary level, disapplication would apply across all subjects at KS3 and to English, maths, science, ICT, PE and citizenship at KS4. The disapplication at KS4 would continue until the new PoS came into force for each subject and year group (so leaving the way open for phasing). For, if schools – whether state-maintained or academies – can operate successfully without the PoS for a year, why bother to reimpose the requirement on the state-maintained only from 2014?
  • The ‘lowest common denominator’ approach to attainment targets, which relied on a single standard AT in each PoS:

 ‘By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.’

This – together with the scrapping of associated level descriptions – removes all scaffolding for the effective differentiation of the PoS, (with potentially negative implications for high attainers, amongst others, if they are insufficiently stretched). It also raises potentially awkward questions about the relationship between the PoS and assessment (see below). Finally, it  leaves the accountability framework – with the possible addition of the ‘power of the market’ – as the last remaining policy levers to bring poor performing schools into line.

  • How low, middle and high attainers will be distinguished in Performance Tables once National Curriculum Levels disappear, since the current distinction is based on achievement of Level equivalents at KS1 (for KS2) and at KS2 (for KS4). Such a distinction will be retained since the secondary accountability consultation mentions a ‘headline measure showing the progress of pupils in each of English and mathematics’ that will continue to ‘show how pupils with low, medium and high prior attainment perform’.
  • Whether these distinctions will be applied in Performance Tables to those eligible for the Pupil Premium, so parents and others can understand the gap within each school between the performance of high attainers from advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds respectively (not forgetting middle and low attainers too).
  • The future of Key Stage 3 assessment, given the disappearance of levels and proposals to remove the requirement on schools to report to the centre the outcomes of teacher assessment. Will it be left entirely to schools to design an assessment system or will a standard national framework continue to operate in the core subjects?
  • The potential implications of the proposed introduction of PISA-style sampling tests at KS4 to ‘track national standards over time’, including any potential ‘washback’ effect on the curriculum.
  • Several unanswered questions about the nature of the proposed value-added KS2-KS4 progress measure, with: separate and as-yet-unknown KS2 and KS4 grading systems; KS2 benchmarks based on performance in KS2 English and maths tests; and KS4 benchmarks based on a new ‘Average Points Score across a balanced scorecard of eight qualifications, including English and maths, three other EBacc subjects and three further ‘high value qualifications’. The consultation document says this measure:

‘Will take the progress each pupil makes between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 and compare that with the progress that we expect to be made by pupils nationally who had the same level of attainment at Key Stage 2 (calculated by combining results at end of Key Stage 2 in English and mathematics).’

A week later I published another post: ‘Whither National Curriculum Assessment Without Levels?’ that set out the history of the decision to dispense with levels and explored some of the issues this raises for assessment, in a context where the majority of secondary schools and a minority of primary schools are no longer bound by the National Curriculum.

This noted:

  • One implication of wholesale exemption from the National Curriculum for academies is that KS2 tests will need to be derived somehow from the content descriptions in the Programmes of Study. The manner in which this will be done is still unclear, since it is open to question whether even the detailed draft PoS in the primary core contain sufficiently robust outcome statements to support grade-based statutory assessment at the end of Key Stage 2, especially given the very basic approach to attainment targets outlined above.
  • The desirability of harmonised end of KS2 and end of KS4 assessment and grading systems, so that progression between those two points is easier for parents and learners to follow and understand.
  • The desirability of ensuring that schools’ internal end-of-year assessment systems harmonise with the external assessment systems at end KS2 and end KS4 respectively, so that parents (and teachers) can more easily track progression between those two points.
  • The development of a grading scale that links attainment to the concept of ‘mastery’ of the PoS and progress to a judgement whether performance has improved, been maintained or declined compared with the previous year. I proposed my own ‘aunt sally’ to illustrate this point.

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Developments since February

In the five months that have elapsed between the appearance of the two consultation packages there have been several material developments that impact significantly on the outcomes of the process and the future of the National Curriculum, including on the other side of the 2015 General Election.

I sought to capture those in this recent round-up of activity on the Gifted Phoenix Twitter feed.

Some of the most significant include:

  • A piece by Brian Lightman of ASCL arguing that we should not be trying to drive the curriculum through the assessment system.
  • A speech from David Laws confirming that the future equivalent of Level 4b will become the new KS2 ‘pass’ with effect from 2016, so heralding a recalibration of expectations on individual learners and raising the stakes for accountability purposes.
  • A speech from Brian Lightman at the ASCL Annual Conference which argued that the abolition of National Curriculum levels creates an unhelpful policy vacuum.

‘So I predict that in the months and years to come the best curriculums will be developed – and refined – in schools across the country by teachers for teachers.

And that is why I think this national curriculum may well be the last national curriculum. Because in future teachers will be doing it for themselves.’

  • An admission that the deadline for the publication of the consultation document on primary accountability had slipped to the end of the summer term (Col 383W).
  • Apparent confirmation from DfE that pupils ending Key Stage 2 in 2015 would be taught the new National Curriculum in  academic year 2014/15 but would be assessed against the old one in May 2015.

‘So Labour will give all schools the same freedom over the curriculum that academies currently enjoy while continuing to insist that all schools teach a core curriculum including English, Maths and Science.’

Some have suggested that this is different to the current requirement imposed on academies but the highlighted part of the sentence above explicitly counters that – and adding any greater specificity to future core curriculum requirements would of course reduce academies’ freedoms – an idea that goes against the entire tenor of Twigg’s speech:

‘Academies say freedom to innovate in the curriculum has given their teachers a new sense of confidence and professionalism. All young people should benefit from the positive impact this brings – trusting teachers to get on with the job.’

‘Develop progress measures to identify how well the most able students have progressed from Year 6 through Key Stage 4 to the end of Key Stage 5.’

  • A Sunday Times story announcing that the primary accountability consultation document would not be released alongside the National Curriculum documentation as anticipated, and suggesting that Ministers are considering KS2 tests in English, maths and science that would enable them to rank learners by performance and so identify the top 10%, (though it is unclear whether this is across the piece or in each subject).

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Three idiosyncratic interventions

One day after the publication of the second tranche of documents, Mr Twigg published a piece on the Labour List website implying a ‘volte face’ from his previous position, or else a contradictory muddle that requires urgent clarification.

The broad theme of the article is that the draft National Curriculum is insufficiently ambitious. But this would prompt the obvious riposte from the Government – if that’s the case, why are you committing Labour to doing without a National Curriculum altogether? Isn’t that even less ambitious by definition?

Mr Twigg strives strives to unhitch himself from the horns of this dilemma by repeating the commitment in his June speech:

‘Michael Gove believes only Academies and Free Schools can be trusted with the freedom to innovate in what they teach, other state schools must follow his highly prescriptive curriculum. Labour would end this divided system and extend these freedoms over the curriculum to all schools. All qualified teachers should be trusted to get on with the job and all schools should have the same freedoms to raise standards and innovate.

That must mean extending to all the existing curricular freedoms enjoyed by academies. But then another paragraph is tacked on to the end of the article, almost as an afterthought:

 ‘His [ie Gove’s] divisive approach means curriculum freedom only applies to some schools. Instead, Labour would develop a reformed National Curriculum which allows teachers in all schools the freedom to innovate and prepares young people for the challenges of the modern economy.

It is not possible to square these two contradictory statements. The freedoms currently enjoyed by academies do not amount to a National Curriculum (they are required to teach the three core subjects but are free to determine their content). As noted above, any universal National Curriculum would reduce academies’ freedoms rather than increase them.

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Slightly before the 8 July publications, DfE released a short statement on ‘Assessing without levels’ which restated its case for abolishing them, adding:

Schools will be able to introduce their own approaches to formative assessment, to support pupil attainment and progression. The assessment framework should be built into the school curriculum, so that schools can check what pupils have learned and whether they are on track to meet expectations at the end of the key stage, and so that they can report regularly to parents.

Ofsted’s inspections will be informed by whatever pupil tracking data schools choose to keep. Schools will continue to benchmark their performance through statutory end of key stage assessments, including national curriculum tests. In the consultation on primary assessment and accountability, the department will consult on core principles for a school’s curriculum and assessment system.

Although schools will be free to devise their own curriculum and assessment system, we will provide examples of good practice which schools may wish to follow.’

This cannot mean that the consultation on primary assessment and accountability will consist entirely of a broad framework of core principles, since there is the June 2012 commitment to satisfy:

‘In terms of statutory assessment, however, I believe that it is critical that we both recognise the achievements of all pupils, and provide for a focus on progress. Some form of grading of pupil attainment in mathematics, science and English will therefore be required, so that we can recognise and reward the highest achievers as well as identifying those that are falling below national expectations. We will consider further the details of how this will work.’

And of course some kind of grading system is required for the KS2 core to support the commitments to progression measures in the consultation on secondary accountability.

This statement rather sets to one side the strong case for aligning schools’ own internal end-year assessment arrangements with the statutory end of Key Stage arrangements that will be in place from 2016.

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One further important signal has been provided as to the future direction of travel, in the shape of Ofqual’s GCSE reform consultation published in June 2013, which sets out as its ‘preferred approach’ to GCSE grading an eight point numerical system, from Grade 8 down to Grade 1.

No convincing explanation is given for placing Grade 8 at the top of the scale rather than Grade 1, so following the precedent set by musical examinations rather than the more universally familiar approach taken in CSE and O level examinations (the latter prior to 1975).

Were this to be applied to the ‘APS8 measure outlined above, it would mean each student achieving a numerical score between 8 and 64. Top-performing schools could vie with each other over the number of their students achieving the magical 64 rating.

Assuming a similarly constructed grading system for the three primary core tests, this could provide the basis for a straightforward ratio of progression from KS2 to KS4, and even possibly on to KS5 as well.

But the Sunday Times story cited above might, if true, suggest instead some sort of equation based on percentiles, eg the top 10% at KS2, on the basis of English, maths and science, would be expected to achieve a top-10%-equivalent score on the APS 8 measure, or similar. Whether this would be designed to accommodate the current predilection for ‘comparable outcomes’ remains unclear.

It’s not really possible to progress this line of argument in the absence of the expected Government proposals, so let us return our attention to what’s changed in the latest batch of National Curriculum documents.

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How the National Curriculum Proposals Have Changed

It is not my purpose here to detail the changes to each programme of study, since several writers have already provided such material

I want to concentrate instead on the broad shape of the National Curriculum and plans for its implementation. The treatment below highlights the six issues I find most concerning, and takes them in order of concern.

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Phasing of Implementation

It is clear that legal issues did arise from the troublesome mismatch between the timetables for the implementation of National Curriculum and assessment reform.

This has caused the Government to move away from its preferred position of universal implementation (at least up to the end of KS3) from September 2014.

The Government Response to the National Curriculum Consultation says:

‘All maintained schools will be required to teach the new national curriculum for all subjects and at all key stages from September 2014, with two exceptions. The new national curriculum for year 2 and year 6 English, mathematics and science will become compulsory from September 2015, to reflect the fact that key stage 2 tests in summer 2015 will be based on the existing national curriculum. Key stage 4 English, mathematics and science will be taught to year 10 from September 2015 and year 11 from September 2016, to ensure coherence with the reformed GCSE qualifications in these subjects.’

In other words, introduction of the new PoS – in the three core subjects only – is delayed for one year for those learners beginning Year 2 and Year 6 in September 2014.

Similarly, the new core KS4 programmes will be introduced for Year 10 in September 2015 and Year 11 in September 2016, to align with the introduction of new GCSE specifications.

This results in a complex set of transitional arrangements. In primary schools alone:

  • In AY 2013/14, the foundation subjects are disapplied for all, the core subjects are disapplied for Years 3 and 4 and the existing PoS continue to apply for Years 1, 2, 5 and 6.
  • In AY 2014/15, the new National Curriculum applies in foundation subjects for all Years but, in the core subjects, it only applies for Years 1, 3, 4 and 5. Year 2 and Year 6 follow the existing core PoS.
  • In AY 2015/16, the new National Curriculum applies in core and foundation subjects for all Years.

This Table shows the implications for different primary year groups in the core subjects only.

AY 2013/14 AY 2014/15 AY 2015/16
Year 1 Old PoS New Pos New PoS
Year 2 Old PoS Old PoS New PoS
Year 3 Dis New PoS New PoS
Year 4 Dis New PoS New PoS
Year 5 Old Pos New PoS New PoS
Year 6 Old PoS Old PoS New PoS

Depending on a learners’ Year Group in 2013/14, each will experience, over this three year period, one of three combinations:

  • Old, Old, New
  • Old, New, New
  • Disapplied, New, New

Moreover, because there is a different pattern in respect of the foundation subjects, many will be simultaneously pursuing parts of the old National Curriculum and parts of the new National Curriculum in AY2014/15.

As far as the PoS are concerned, that may be fairly straightforward, but which National Curriculum Aims apply? Which Inclusion Statement? What about the requirements for English and maths across the curriculum?

The Inclusion Statement certainly used to be statutory. I have seen no suggestion that the new version is no longer statutory, which causes me to question how two different statutory Inclusion Statements can apply to the same pupils at the same time?

Other commentators have suggested that managing this transition will be a fairly easy ask of schools – and that the compromise presented is an improvement on the previous situation, in which some learners would have followed the new PoS for a year, only to be tested on the old one.

But complexity is the enemy of efficiency, especially in schools that may already be struggling to meet expectations imposed by the accountability framework.

Given that the Government was initially wedded to a ‘big bang’ approach rather than phased implementation, it might have been preferable to have stuck with that decision and delayed implementation of the entire National Curriculum until September 2015.

Failing that, it might have been preferable to have delayed the entire National Curriculum – not just the core subjects – by one year for those beginning Years 2 and 6 in September 2014, so those learners would follow a single version in that year rather than sections of old and new combined.

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Inclusion statement

The Inclusion Statement for the current National Curriculum has three sections:

‘The curriculum should provide relevant and challenging learning to all children. It should follow the three principles set out in the inclusion statement:

A. setting suitable learning challenges

B. responding to pupils’ diverse learning needs

C. overcoming potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of pupils.

There is not space to quote the full statement here, especially the lengthy third section covering special needs, disabilities and EAL, but here are parts A and B:

‘A. Setting suitable learning challenges

Teachers should aim to give every pupil the opportunity to experience success in learning and to achieve as high a standard as possible. The national curriculum programmes of study set out what most pupils should be taught but teachers should teach the knowledge, skills and understanding in ways that suit their pupils’ abilities. This may mean choosing knowledge, skills and understanding from earlier or later stages so that individual pupils can make progress and show what they can achieve. Where it is appropriate for pupils to make extensive use of content from an earlier stage, there may not be time to teach all aspects of the programmes of study. A similarly flexible approach will be needed to take account of any gaps in pupils’ learning resulting from missed or interrupted schooling.

For pupils whose attainments fall significantly below the expected levels at a particular stage, a much greater degree of differentiation will be necessary. In these circumstances, teachers may need to use the content of programmes of study as a resource or to provide a context, in planning learning appropriate to the requirements of their pupils.

For pupils whose attainments significantly exceed the expected levels, teachers will need to plan suitably challenging work. As well as drawing on work from later stages, teachers may plan further differentiation by extending the breadth and depth of study.

B. Responding to pupils’ diverse learning needs

When planning, teachers should set high expectations and provide opportunities for all pupils to achieve, including boys and girls, pupils with special educational needs, pupils from all social and cultural backgrounds, pupils from different ethnic groups including travellers, refugees and asylum seekers, and those from diverse linguistic backgrounds. Teachers need to be aware that pupils bring to school different experiences, interests and strengths which will influence the way in which they learn. Teachers should plan their approaches to teaching and learning so that pupils can take part in lessons fully and effectively.

To ensure that they meet the full range of pupils’ needs, teachers should be aware of the requirements of the equal opportunities legislation that covers race, gender and disability.

Teachers should take specific action to respond to pupils’ diverse needs by:

  • creating effective learning environments
  • securing their motivation and concentration
  • providing equality of opportunity through teaching approaches
  • using appropriate assessment approaches
  • setting targets for learning.’

Here (again) are the first two paragraphs of the version proposed in the February 2013 Framework Document:

Teachers should set high expectations for every pupil. They should plan stretching work for pupils whose attainment is significantly above the expected standard. They have an even greater obligation to plan lessons for pupils who have low levels of prior attainment or come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Teachers should use appropriate assessment to set targets which are deliberately ambitious….

…Teachers should take account of their duties under equal opportunities legislation that covers disability, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, gender identity, and religion or belief.’

This is entirely unchanged in the July document (though there has been a minor adjustment further down to reflect concerns expressed by SEN and disability lobbies).

I have already pointed out the shortcomings in the first paragraph, which are even more glaring and serious if this text continues to have a statutory basis (and of course this error should not be used as an excuse to downgrade the statement by removing its statutory footing).

While the version in the current National Curriculum may be prolix, it carries important messages that seem to have been lost in the newer version, about giving ‘every pupil the opportunity to experience success in learning and to achieve as high a standard as possible’ and expecting teachers to ‘provide opportunities for all pupils to achieve’. Overall its significance is depressed.

Revision of the first paragraph is urgent and critical, but the whole statement should be strengthened and – assuming it does still have statutory force – its statutory basis affirmed. Ofsted’s ‘Most Able Students’ Report explains why this is necessary.

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Attainment Targets

The February consultation invited respondents to say whether they approved of the decision to apply a single standard attainment target to each programme of study.

The consultation document said:

‘Legally, the National Curriculum for each subject must comprise both programmes of study and attainment targets. While programmes of study set out the curriculum content that pupils should be taught, attainment targets define the expected standard that pupils should achieve by the end of each key stage. Under the current National Curriculum, the standard is set out through a system of levels and level descriptions for each subject. The national expectation is defined as a particular level for the end of Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. At Key Stage 4, GCSE qualifications at grade C currently define the expected standard.

The Government has already announced its intention to simplify the National Curriculum by reforming how we report progress. We believe that the focus of teaching should be on subject content as set out in the programmes of study, rather than on a series of abstract level descriptions. Parents deserve a clear assessment of what their children have learned rather than a ‘level description’ which does not convey clear information.

A single statement of attainment that sets out that pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study will encourage all pupils to aspire to reach demanding standards. Parents will be given clear information on what their children should know at each stage in their education and teachers will be able to report on how every pupil is progressing in acquiring this knowledge.’

The analysis of consultation responses notes that:

‘739 (52%) respondents viewed the wording of the attainment targets as unclear and confusing. Many respondents also commented on the brevity of the attainment targets and felt that clarification would be needed to help schools to identify the standard and to ensure consistency in measuring pupil performance across schools. A number of respondents highlighted the interplay between curriculum and assessment and wanted to review the government’s plans for primary assessment and accountability and for recognising the achievements of low attaining pupils and those pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities, in order to provide a considered response.’

The Government’s response rather dismisses the views expressed by the majority of respondents, simply restating its case for removing National Curriculum levels and conceding nothing.

‘Schools should then be free to design their approaches to assessment to support pupil attainment and progression. The assessment framework must be built into the curriculum, so that schools can check what pupils have learned and whether they are on track to meet expectations at the end of the key stage, and so that they can report regularly to parents.

We have been clear that we will not prescribe a national system for schools’ ongoing assessment. Ofsted’s inspections will be informed by the pupil tracking data systems that individual schools choose to keep. Schools will continue to benchmark their performance through statutory end of key stage assessments, including national curriculum tests.’

The concern here is driven by lack of information. Respondents to the consultation cannot really be blamed for responding negatively when the Government has so far failed to explain how statutory Key Stage 2 tests and Key Stage 3 assessments will be built on top of the scaffolding supplied by the draft PoS.

It is also a reasonable expectation, on the part of schools, that their internal assessment arrangements are fully consistent with the statutory assessment framework operating at the end of each Key Stage, a framework which is so far conspicuous by its absence.

There is no recognition, consideration or accommodation of the arguments against the removal of levels. The degree of conviction assumed by the response rings rather hollow given the significant weight of professional opposition to this decision, against which the Government sets the controversial views of its own Expert Panel.

Despite railing against ‘the blob’, this is one occasion where Ministers prefer to side with the views expressed by a handful of academics, rather than those of professional school leaders and teachers.

Mr Twigg called on the Government to rethink the removal of levels when the Ministerial Statement was debated in Parliament (Col 37) which might be indicative that Labour has come round to the view that this would be unwise.

But, given its contradictory position on the National Curriculum, one might be foolish to expect a properly worked position on the accompanying assessment framework, especially since the Government’s own position is still shrouded in mystery.

We will no doubt return to this issue when the missing material is finally published.

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Support for Implementation

There was overwhelming concern amongst respondents to consultation about the implementation timetable and a perception that limited support would be provided to manage the transition. ASCL’s call for a thorough and properly resourced implementation plan reflected this concern.

The Consultation Report records that:

‘1,782 (64%) respondents raised the need for funding for materials and resources to support the teaching of the new national curriculum. There was a concern that existing resources would become obsolete and replacing them would incur significant costs.

1,643 (59%) respondents felt that there was a need for staff training and continuing professional development to increase teachers’ confidence and capability in designing and delivering the new curriculum and to respond to the need for specific specialist skills (e.g. computing, language teaching).

1,651 (59%) respondents highlighted the need for schools to have sufficient time to plan for the new curriculum. Some stated that schools would need the final new national curriculum at the start of the coming academic year to enable them to prepare for teaching the new curriculum from September 2014.’

In responses to questions about who is best placed to develop resources and provide such support, 42% of respondents mentioned schools and teachers, 21% advocated inter-school collaboration, 36% mentioned teaching and subject associations, 31% local authorities and 13% the government. Publishers were also nominated.

The extended section in the Government’s response to the consultation is long on advocacy of a school- and market-driven system – and correspondingly short on central support to enable this process to operate effectively.

It tells us that:

‘There will be no new statutory document or guidance from Whitehall telling teachers how to do this. Government intervention will be minimal

…We believe that schools are best placed to decide which resources meet their needs and to secure these accordingly. We want to move away from large-scale, centralised training programmes, which limit schools’ autonomy, and towards a market-based approach in which schools can work collaboratively to provide professional development tailored to individual needs. We expect schools to take advantage of existing INSET days and wider opportunities to bring staff together to consider the development needs that the new curriculum may pose.

… The Leading Curriculum Change resources developed through the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) by National Leaders of Education will inspire and guide school leaders through this process and teaching schools and others will support their use.

Sector-led expert groups have been looking at how existing resources can support the new curriculum and identifying any significant gaps… Resources and opportunities will be signposted from our website once the new national curriculum is finalised in the autumn and hosted by subject associations and other organisations.

Current government-funded provision is being refocused to support the new national curriculum. This includes support provided by the national network of Science Learning Centres, the work of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) and the extension of match funding for phonics resources and training until October 2013.

New support includes ring-fenced funding for sport in primary schools and over £2 million worth of support to bolster the supply of computing teachers. In addition, we will make a fund of £2 million available to teaching schools and national support schools, to enable them to support the delivery of the new curriculum across their alliances and networks in the coming academic year.

We have been working with publishers and educational suppliers throughout the review to ensure that they are well informed about changes to the curriculum and can meet schools’ needs by adapting existing products and by identifying what additional materials will be needed in time to support schools to prepare to teach the new curriculum from September 2014. We know that schools will prioritise, budget and plan for when and how to add gradually to – or indeed replace – resources and we expect publishers and suppliers to take this into account.’

As far as I can establish, only the £2 million for teaching schools and national support schools (the schools where National Leaders of Education are located) is new provision.  Many of these will be academies, not required to follow the National Curriculum. Some state-funded schools might reasonably look askance at their suitability and capacity to provide the requisite support.

Since there are likely to be somewhere between 1,100 and 1,500 institutions of this kind active during this period, this funding could amount to as little as £1,333 per school.

We do not know what capacity the National College, NCETM and the National Science Centres are devoting to their contribution.

By and large, schools are expected to meet any additional costs from their existing budgets. The combined cost of resources, professional development and staff time are likely to be significant, especially in larger secondary schools.

It seems that the Government will advertise online any ‘significant gaps’ in the availability of resources to support the curriculum and look to the market to respond within the 11 months available prior to implementation (though schools would clearly prefer to have such materials much earlier than that)..

A story on the progress made by the groups established to identify such gaps was published in the Guardian in late June, but based on papers dating from a month earlier. It is clear that they were then hamstrung by the draft status of the PoS and the likelihood of further significant change before they were finalised.

We have no idea of the magnitude of the gaps that are being identified and how those balance out between key stages and subjects. This information will not be released before the early Autumn.

There is no sign of extra dedicated INSET days to support the implementation process in schools, or of the implementation plan called for by ASCL.

The Government is continuing to push schools to take lead responsibility and ownership of the reform process, while the bodies representing heads and teachers are insisting that the Government is abdicating responsibility and they need more central support.

The distinct possibility that this state of confrontation will not result in uniformly effective implementation is likely to feature rather prominently in the Government’s risk registers.

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Challenge

When asked whether the draft PoS were sufficiently challenging, just 22% of consultation respondents agreed that they were sufficiently challenging, while 39% said that they were not.

The latter:

‘Felt that the proposed curriculum would not prepare pupils for the challenges of the 21st Century. Some of these respondents stated that the level of challenge could not be determined in foundation subjects due to insufficient detail in the programmes of study.’

The Government’s response does not expressly address this point, other than by restating the rationale for the approach it has adopted.

Moreover, 61% of respondents said that the draft PoS do not provide for effective progression between key stages and 63% said the new national curriculum does not embody an expectation of higher standards for all children.

These hardly amount to a ringing endorsement. Moreover, it is unlikely that the changes that have been introduced since the last round of consultation will have been sufficient in aggregate to alter this judgement. But we will never know because this question will not be repeated in the final round of consultation – the pitch of the PoS is now fixed until any future review.

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Aims

The overarching National Curriculum aims have been revised slightly from:

‘The National Curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the core knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

The National Curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the National Curriculum specifications. The National Curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons.’

To:

‘The national curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

The national curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the national curriculum specifications. The national curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.’

19% of consultation respondents liked the aims, but another 19% found them too vague. Some wanted guidance on the time the national curriculum should take up. Some 36% argued that the aims are over-focused on knowledge at the expense of skills and understanding.

Some 44% approved of the proposal to drop subject-specific aims but 37% opposed this. The Government has decided to retain them ‘to support and guide schools in their teaching and to help parents and pupils understand the desired outcomes of the curriculum’.

The statements of cross-curricular emphasis on English and maths have been strengthened slightly. A section on vocabulary development has been added to English – and, for some unknown reason, the order has been reversed, with maths now coming first.

The Government’s response in defence of its aims argues that the emphasis on knowledge reflects the purpose of the curriculum and that its accentuation was one of the objectives of the review.

While it is undeniably the role of schools to develop skills and understanding, the aims ‘are not…intended to capture everything that schools teach and do’. The revised version is intended to reflect more accurately the purpose and status of the aims.

The logic of a National Curriculum that gives statutory definition to knowledge but neglects skills and understanding is questionable.

Such a defence rather undermines the argument – advanced by proponents and opponents of Hirsch alike – that these elements do not lend themselves readily to artificial separation, gaining strength and significance from their inter-relationship, such that the whole is greater than the sum of parts. Schools may be hindered rather than helped by this document in their efforts to reunite them.

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Overall

Conclusions are inevitably partial given the current status of this post as a ‘work in progress’, while awaiting further details of the Government’s plans for assessment and accountability.

On the National Curriculum side there are some major implementation challenges ahead, which now extend beyond AY 2013/14 into the following year.

The decision to phase national curriculum implementation – ultimately forced on the Government by its decision to stagger curriculum and assessment reforms – is rather more likely to increase those challenges than to temper them. There are significant question marks over whether the selected approach to phasing is optimal, either for schools or learners.

The first paragraph of the Inclusion Statement is plain wrong, especially given its statutory status. It requires amendment.

As things stand, the National Curriculum has a limited shelf-life under the Coalition. If it does not wither on the vine as a consequence of continuing conversion to academy status, it is likely to be marginalised in the medium term – and the new iteration will not be replaced.

As for Labour, your guess is as good as mine. As I complete this post, Her Majesty’s Opposition has committed simultaneously to removing and retaining a National Curriculum, should it be elected in 2015. That is neither sensible nor sustainable – nor can this confusion add up to a vote-attracting proposition.

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GP

July 2013

Gifted Phoenix Twitter Round-Up Volume 12: Curriculum, Assessment, Fair Access and Gap-Narrowing


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This is the second section of my retrospective review of the Gifted Phoenix Twitter feed covering the period from February 24 to July 7 2013.

4-Eyes-resized-greenjacketfinalIt complements the first section, which concentrated on Giftedness and Gifted Education.

This section includes material relating to other ‘specialist subjects’: curriculum and assessment, accountability, social mobility and fair access, disadvantage and gap-narrowing.

It provides a benchmark for consideration of forthcoming announcements about the National Curriculum , assessment and accountability which are expected next week.

This is a chronological narrative of developments over the last four months – my best effort at recording faithfully every key piece of information in the public domain.

I have divided the material as follows:

  • National Curriculum
  • Other Curriculum-related
  • National Curriculum Assessment
  • Qualifications
  • Performance Tables and Floor Targets
  • Ofsted
  • International Comparisons
  • Social Mobility
  • Fair Access
  • Careers
  • Pupil Premium
  • FSM gaps, Poverty, Disadvantage and EEF
  • Selection and Independent Sector

Please feel free to use this post as a resource bank when you reflect on and respond to the material we expect to be released over the next few days.

You might also like to visit some previous posts:

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National Curriculum

Pressure from the Board of Deputies for special treatment for Hebrew, exempted from NC language list: http://t.co/CwlD2YAotp  – Tricky

Support in principle and claims that new NC History PoS is unworkable are not mutually exclusive: http://t.co/PZ1tiUQ2Md

Interesting study of competency-based learning in New Hampshire throws light on NC Expert Panel’s ‘Mastery’ vision: http://t.co/58dlXuFY17

MT @michaelt1979: DfE appointed experts to review National Curriculum – and then ignored all of their advice! Blog: http://t.co/zMwl3atP5b

National Curriculum “Cookery would only be compulsory in those schools with kitchen facilities” – surely not? http://t.co/Bu8TEZej0M

The vexed history of the draft ICT programme of study: http://t.co/dpovmo9UM8 – a microcosm of current autonomy/prescription tensions

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/309713663881781248

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What the NUT welcomes and doesn’t welcome about the draft National Curriculum: http://t.co/gdaijpaUaR – seems pretty representative

Latest from @warwickmansell on the shortcomings of the NC review (this time featuring the history PoS): http://t.co/sgWtXMlKzX

PQ reply on support for National Curriculum implementation: http://t.co/kLbGXRJz9p (Col 240W)

Cannadine on draft History PoS: http://t.co/465Ruv9kIy – includes a robust critique of the drafting process as well as the content

Confused story on climate change in draft NC: http://t.co/AbgPYZRkKP Does it give the lie to Gove’s claim at ASCL that PoS is uncontentious?

New Truss speech on National Curriculum: http://t.co/ZvFa0zf5Lw – Have I missed the golden nugget of news it contains?

More on climate change in the National Curriculum. I think it contradicts yesterday’s piece: http://t.co/DhWOHruVrm

Third in a triumvirate of climate change in the NC articles: http://t.co/dDB5eECBFs – basically it’s all about what’s on the face of the PoS

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/314266425843908608

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DfE has published the list of people consulted on the draft NC Programmes of Study published last month: http://t.co/VdnS8iWTlK

Yesterday’s Westminster Hall debate on the Design and Technology Curriculum: http://t.co/ASY1GWvuXZ (Col 285WH)

Richard Evans redemolishes the draft PoS for history: http://t.co/fq3vLX48IR  – Alleges explicitly that Gove himself wrote the final version

Next of the PoS in line for criticism is D&T (following up yesterday’s Westminster Hall debate): http://t.co/P3Gb9l3ARd

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/316080670273310720

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So we now have two levels of listing for participants in drafting NC PoS (for maths at least): http://t.co/dYt25UgIKI – awkward precedent

Link to the NUT’s National Curriculum Survey is at the bottom of this page: http://t.co/uD8dEOza8q

Government to extend National Curriculum exemption to all schools rated either outstanding or good by Ofsted: http://t.co/KYp4h0djrz

Engineers don’t like the draft D&T PoS: http://t.co/iJVOtbryvS (warning: story contains the most terrifying stock head-and-shoulders shot)

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/318751619921629185

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Don’t see anything wrong with pitching NC expectations high: http://t.co/UlYqXTY8df  – The issue is how you then manage the ‘mastery’ notion

Civitas defends Hirsch: http://t.co/r8p9JReyZQ – Yet more wearisome polarisation. As ever, the optimal path lies somewhere in between.

I see the endgame in this cycle as ditching the NC entirely, only for it to be reinvented half a generation later: http://t.co/3CsF6BFISN

Sadly it may be too late to rescue the draft NC from the poisonous clutches of ideology and political opportunism: http://t.co/3CsF6BFISN

FoI seeking correspondence with RAE and BCS over preparation of the draft ICT PoS draws a blank: http://t.co/W7ULIg694f

Curriculum for Cohesion response to the draft History PoS: http://t.co/1Qhjfo9hhg – as featured in this BBC story: http://t.co/hoqJtDNWKH

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/322019960295665664

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ASCL National Curriculum response calls for retention of levels (at least for KS3 core) or a pilot of alternatives: http://t.co/YB9ZRpLA7q

TES on ASCL and NAHT responses to NC consultation: http://t.co/4drArVSvgC – Is that the sound of chickens coming home to roost?

Apropos Natural England signing that draft NC protest letter, I see they’re currently subject to triennial review: http://t.co/zjXpdMdcee

South China Morning Post: Troubled England has much to learn from HK’s curriculum reforms: http://t.co/mESujyoOYR

UCET’s response to the National Curriculum consultation: http://t.co/J5ElUIkwWf

Latest protest letter about environmental education in the draft NC is signed by Natural England, a DEFRA NDPB: http://t.co/pehCetI1Oh

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/324154681876180992

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Full CBI response to National Curriculum Review: http://t.co/ztyUIGR8Ml  – says NC should be focused much more on outcomes:

Truss pushes school curriculum over NC http://t.co/DXcaF3jFGx We could do with guidance on how much time the prescribed PoS should consume?

FoI reveals NC Expert Panel cost £287.6K in fees and expenses for 342 days’ work http://t.co/BDhNDCcvOx – Hardly bargain basement?

Confirmation that the draft History PoS was written by DfE officials: http://t.co/7A6X8cu7SY (Col 881W)

2 years into NC Review, DfE reported to be taking draft D&T PoS back to the drawing board: http://t.co/Nas8LX1My0 – More humble pie consumed

Sec Ed carries a report of a March Westminster Forum event on MFL: http://t.co/QlaaCHYGvi

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/327484933998247937

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Bringing balance and diversity to the new history curriculum (courtesy of Curriculum for Cohesion): http://t.co/TCDX8ireIJ

So DECC also thinks there’s an issue with climate change in the National Curriculum: http://t.co/j5bIY3qgVJ – that raises the stakes a bit

There was a very small majority in NC consultation to change ICT to Computing – 39% yest; 35% no: http://t.co/KL0OKK9rkV

This new document on National Curriculum disapplication says only 23% of NC consultation responses supported it: http://t.co/dRFBGGPWS6

DfE consultation on the Order replacing ICT with Computing and disapplying parts of the NC from September 2013: http://t.co/xs6P6TXDcq

SCORE’s Report on Resourcing Practical Science at Secondary Level: http://t.co/zTYvwjZWTH

There’s been a desperate search for additional surveys demonstrating children’s lack of historical knowledge: http://t.co/B6VZQdD5bM

If Government doesn’t abandon NC in 2014/15 my guess is that will be in the 2015 Tory Manifesto: http://t.co/gmE4EHTXA4

@warwickmansell fisks Gove’s speech on curriculum reform: http://t.co/gmE4EHTXA4  Could 2013/14 disapplication pave the way for abandonment?

Gove seems to be suggesting that National Curriculum may need to change iteratively to reflect innovation http://t.co/EdWssxHd84 Unworkable?

Davey’s private letter about climate change in the NC is officially acknowledged in a PQ reply: http://t.co/fx76s9scQU (Col 358W)

Robinson breaks cover to criticise the National Curriculum (and promote his new book): http://t.co/o6h98R1UPn

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/336746672883396608

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HEFCE is funding a new programme to support MFL including raising aspirations and attainment in secondary schools: http://t.co/eg5pws1Pme

More of the shortcomings of the National Curriculum Review process laid bare by @warwickmansell: http://t.co/ZUpkvekz8V

More attacks on national curriculum history: http://t.co/OIy1l5dZyD

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/346511361028784128

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Twigg has just advocated almost complete fragmentation in curriculum, but says he’s against fragmentation! http://t.co/nepHKaziLH

Twigg’s decision to ditch entire National Curriculum isn’t getting media scrutiny it deserves http://t.co/AHcEL4pPoG  20,000 secret gardens!

Government response to consultation on the order replacing ICT with Computing: http://t.co/xs6P6TXDcq

New Labour policy to drop National Curriculum is directly at odds with ASCL’s preference for a universal entitlement: http://t.co/ZN83xoU2GO

Government response to consultation on NC disapplication: http://t.co/Dg9pbmmCZ6  (we’re going to do it anyway…)

Reports that draft History PoS significantly revised: http://t.co/etSGXxePOj – also being cleared by both PM and DPM!

Groups advising on training/resource implications of new NC PoS have a go at draft PoS instead. Beyond their remit? http://t.co/7Nqtr82JKo

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/351982610148368384

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NUT’s Advice on National Curriculum Disapplication 2013/14: http://t.co/zY7KvfkiES

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/353024273729863680

 

https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/353444033303027712

 

https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/353444300387917824

 

https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/353459007995904000

 

https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/353802320175316992

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Other Curriculum-Related

Direct link to new APPG Report on RE: ‘The Truth Unmasked’: http://t.co/uClQGD59M9 – stops short of pushing (again) for RE in EBacc

Outcome of PSHE Review: http://t.co/9F6iBqXf4i – There will be no separate PoS. Links to consultation report and FAQ from this page

Yesterday’s Ministerial Statement on PSHE Education: http://t.co/X8n5KpejDv (Col 52WS)

PSHE consultation report doesn’t give percentage of respondents wanting some topics to be statutory http://t.co/IyECrBZ1Qg Likely a majority

Eurydice has published a timely new report on PE and sport at school in Europe: http://t.co/aEyu0fjTSM

Powerful case for statutory PSHE following the relatively pallid Review: http://t.co/he3CIbLRFV  – could be fertile Manifesto territory…

Google wants more emphasis on the STEM pipeline: http://t.co/f9p7rtxlcY  – How can government harness their enthusiasm (and spondoolicks)?

The Next Generation Science Standards: http://t.co/H0oaK6bLeR and an instructive insight into the drafting process: http://t.co/fgnsm5mjtM

Wonder why this PQ reply on school sport funding fails to confirm that it will be ringfenced: http://t.co/BoN08PB0UO (Col1196W)

Letter from Sex Education Forum et al about sex ed in the draft NC: http://t.co/B46EqtMrQ5 Weird decision to write to a paywalled organ (!)

A National Shakespeare Week and new bank of teaching materials? http://t.co/ixaFlV7VQ9 – There are more things in heaven and earth…

Westminster Hall debate on long-awaited National Plan for Cultural Education: http://t.co/7tqSlZKdcF (Col 94WH) – here ‘very soon indeed’

TES comment from YST on spending the £150m for school sport: http://t.co/OTSDTRUUvY – hard for them to add value without national framework

Yesterday’s short Lords’ Debate on PSHE: http://t.co/CXoOAafGNJ (Col GC403)

Sue Campbell repeats warnings about the patchiness that will result from uncoordinated support for school sport: http://t.co/BPsOr6FEnz

Ofsted’s PSHE Survey Report: http://t.co/0TkhFNm32M

New phonics document: Learning to Read through Phonics: Information for Parents: http://t.co/uVtjTzcyXA

Quiet news day on the education front, so all the better opportunity to engage with Mr Point (geddit?) http://t.co/994uBgIvG3 A neat riposte

Education Committee is taking evidence on school sports from 9.30am this morning: http://t.co/IYTM3RR8ap

Two Plashet School students review this morning’s Select Committee session on school sport: http://t.co/W1C3yFLI2N – excellently written

NLT press release on the increase in children’s online reading: http://t.co/uULtsGEYPV – says the report itself is ‘forthcoming’

Belated link to the Smith Institute Survey of Participation in School Sport: http://t.co/qIZO4OZdEm

Is it socially unacceptable to use bad grammar but fine to make mathematical errors? http://t.co/ukuxdCV5we

Lords Oral PQ on school sports: http://t.co/86omWG5x4d (Col 623)

Uncorrected Transcript of 14 May Education Committee Oral Evidence Session on School Sports: http://t.co/n9jMXd13vg

Direct link to ‘Learning the Lesson: The Future of School Swimming’: http://t.co/zRByR2zVDE

What’s going on with this PM intervention over school sports funding? http://t.co/cxhfDZAy9G  – one could read a fair bit into it

Here’s Oxford’s press release on the Snowling phonics test research: http://t.co/1q3BkHS2kQ No link to paper (which isn’t yet peer-reviewed)

Labour wants to bring elements of PSHE into the National Curriculum: http://t.co/AzcNBcSW9x – but why are Home Office shadow team leading?

£7m over 5 years to support A level Physics: http://t.co/KyjajFgXdk and http://t.co/xq4LkvRJDK  – but no hint of priority for disadvantaged

Lords Oral PQ on PSHE: http://t.co/1iVQ0w5vyq (Col 1512) leaves the way open for change to the National Curriculum

By the way, whatever’s happened to the National Plan for Cultural Education? http://t.co/gGaB9ScUJb

The Cultural Education Plan will be published ‘within the next few weeks’: http://t.co/0GkX1TjPZ2 (Col 620W)

Details of Further Maths Support Programme tender now on Contracts Finder: http://t.co/3QHq3rNfb7 – EOIs by 19/4 and Supplier Day on 2/5

Truss increases funding for Further Maths Support Programme: http://t.co/AwNsNN5gDS Current offer is here: http://t.co/nqsOofug0B

Sting in the tail here. That Further Maths Support Programme expansion will be tendered, so MEI may not get the gig: http://t.co/IB0gbZaAud

DfE is inviting bids to run the Further Maths Support Programme: http://t.co/jwBCbdK2Aa – up to £25m over 5 years

NATRE’s Survey of RE provision in primary schools: http://t.co/F1Qc0FpBeC

Short Lords Debate yesterday on Citizenship Education: http://t.co/nFuhwBiBf3 (Col 953)

Need to see how these various maths reforms amount to coherent strategy where whole’s greater than the sum of parts: http://t.co/AwNsNN5gDS

DfE has refreshed its school sports advice on http://t.co/fRKX7ciiSd  Press release on gov.uk http://t.co/xrGaWzl3Vl

Government held a roundtable meeting on arts education on 5 June: http://t.co/zYAuduZ0ST (Col 528W)

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/352668612596731904

https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/353203077723070465

https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/353223177230491648

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National Curriculum Assessment

Still no-one’s rising to the challenge I posed to design a new KS1-3 grading system: http://t.co/kZ2Ki7k18M – The silence is deafening

Today I have been mostly worrying about National Curriculum Assessment: http://t.co/ybJ13d8rVR I desperately need help from @warwickmansell

RT @localschools_uk: Ofsted “expected progress” measure flawed – higher grade students much more likely to achieve it: http://t.co/07TNk

Brian Lightman: we should not be trying to drive the curriculum through our assessment system: http://t.co/6Q8Sr3FMY1 – I agree

Many thanks to everyone RTing my post on future of NC assessment: http://t.co/ybJ13d8rVR – separate KS2 test syllabuses seem inevitable

Warwick Mansell on National Curriculum assessment: http://t.co/me1Ecnd9Ia – the perfect complement to my own post!

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/308890950527250434

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Apropos Levels going in 2016, we should imminently get announcement of who has KS2 marking contract 2014-2016: http://t.co/9aKktsQFwm

The Laws speech to ASCL confirms that Level 4b equivalent will become the new KS2 test ‘pass’ from 2016: http://t.co/OT91Q7KfCW

MT @emoorse01: Unpopular level descriptions are going. But what will replace them? http://t.co/P7zkKotuv9 inspired by @GiftedPhoenix Thanks!

Further KS2 grammar punctuation and spelling sample materials for level 6: http://t.co/MMDbkh14KF

“In particular we shall consider refreshing the p-scales”: http://t.co/3cVnw0uGUy (Col 344W)

@brianlightman tells #ascl2013 that abolition of NC levels creates a policy vacuum. ASCL to discuss further with DfE: http://t.co/2g7MKulC4m

2013 Performance tables will show percentage of children achieving KS2 Level 6, but not as percentage of entries: http://t.co/pHV2q4Vvle

New primary assessment and accountability regime (consultation awaited) won’t be confirmed until September http://t.co/VF0r5wEAR5 (Col 722W)

The primary school accountability consultation will still be published “shortly”: http://t.co/nrlWy3x5qx (Col 806W) Next week presumably.

New KS2 Writing moderation and exemplification materials levels 2-6: http://t.co/lzaMwFpTnN

Tokyo high schools are about to introduce a set of attainment targets: http://t.co/xsZ16I7KOd

New DfE research on KS2 Level 6 Tests: http://t.co/2FdvVGeoKY – Critical of lack of guidance; doesn’t mention disappearance of L6

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/322704575041781761

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Wonder why there’s no reference to primary accountability consultation in this new timeline for schools: http://t.co/19aW9z2t8W

How Level 6 tests are viewed in secondaries: http://t.co/Ie7nzkOWOA Gifted learners suffer badly from this poor transition practice

The list of Education Oral Questions for this afternoon: http://t.co/X5Dvwd2swc – Includes one from Ollerenshaw on Level 6 tests

113,600 pupils from 11,700 schools (21% of cohort) are registered for a 2013 KS2 L6 test: http://t.co/AfDYI0OsRW (Col 680W) Iffy

More about KS2 L6 tests: http://t.co/hXTS6d4XOO  NB: a 21% entry rate seems excessively high; NC levels will disappear by 2016

@warwickmansell Did you know about this? http://t.co/TXbaOZVtZE – I might have missed it but I saw no announcement. It looks as though…

@warwickmansell ..Pearson were the only bidder and have been awarded a £60m contract following negotiations…

@warwickmansell ‘Only one bid received which did not meet the minimum selection criteria. Negotiations were conducted with that bidder’

@DrFautley @warwickmansell NB that the estimated value of the contract was originally £50m – see: http://t.co/bCS3eMSUJi

What’s wrong with tests being marked abroad, provided quality is sustained and savings are passed on via lower fees? http://t.co/vjhtxgms5O

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/329273791882596352

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Worth comparing this Duncan speech on assessment with similar discussion on this side of the Atlantic: http://t.co/DSgzUXEl4i

5 Reasons to Keep NC Levels by @LKMco http://t.co/iYpPn2MTZc If no rabbit in the assessment consultation hat will Labour commit to keep them

This reaction from Crystal on SPAG raises awkward wider questions about current QA processes for statutory assessment http://t.co/q3aVOus50X

Given the furore over the grammar, spelling and punctuation test, any feedback on these L6 materials? http://t.co/iqDpS7vXT8 – helpful?

Wow! This post on National Curriculum levels is a bit of a rollercoaster ride: http://t.co/idrE54bxyO – I agree with substantial parts

For completeness sake, the press release on today’s grammar punctuation and spelling test: http://t.co/KbKXd5trYt

Timetable for the primary assessment/accountability consultation slips to ‘by the end of the summer term’: http://t.co/oaL231aj69 (Col 383W)

New DfE research into KS2 Access Arrangements Procedures: http://t.co/H0Xt49YR1Y

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/341826694082084866

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The significance of progression in assessment reform: http://t.co/u2DsNj47PH – a timely reminder from Australia

(Slightly) veiled criticism from Economist for ‘endless fiddling with tests’: http://t.co/LsmW6XSkC5

FoI reveals Standards and Testing Agency’s 2012/13 programme budget was £35.7m: http://t.co/iPNJzvRQRz

My piece ‘Whither National Curriculum Without Levels’ http://t.co/JNTYosr4nL We await a new KS2 grading structure

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/345592470232514560

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First Interim Report from the Evaluation of the Phonics Screening Check http://t.co/g4e1o9djiN conveys negative teacher feedback over value

This on NC Levels from DfE rather glosses over importance of internal assessment dovetailing with statutory grading: http://t.co/2wziieK5Bv

There doesn’t seem to be any defensive line on the odd dissonance between the NC and assessment timetables: http://t.co/L9U6ICI0MH

Confirmation that in 2015 pupils will be following the new NC but will be assessed against the old NC: http://t.co/3NQb9AAsGM (Col 357W)

Last night’s #ukedchat transcript on the removal of National Curriculum levels: http://t.co/zGKCjhnwiN – My post: http://t.co/JNTYosr4nL

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/350505289507803138

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STA received 240 complaints re non-registration of KS2 pupils for Level 6 tests post-deadline: http://t.co/zYAuduZ0ST (Col 531W)

If it’s not legally possible to keep NC and assessment out of kilter: http://t.co/AxlG0W61Sp  Could this delay NC implementation to 2015?

Breakdown of responsibilities in Standards and Testing Agency: http://t.co/fpVIEknny4  (Col 601W) Will be reducing from 3 divisions to 2

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/353803264438972417

 

https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/353803745898934273

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Qualifications

 Chris Wheadon on the difference between tiering and extension papers (via @warwickmansell ): http://t.co/lFJgjllA3Y

DfE has released an Equality Analysis of its planned GCSE Reforms: http://t.co/pXkyHnPZXF  – You can decide whether it stands close scrutiny

Seven new GCSE-equivalent 14-16 courses in engineering and construction: http://t.co/Zdri1TZAZx – Bet they’re not the last!

TES reports Ofqual has embarked on an international comparisons study of GCSE equivalents: http://t.co/HM4tr4b1gP

Truss IoE Open Lecture on A Level reforms: http://t.co/lucLs9KVHM plus the latest increment of maths support

What’s the difference between a Maths M Level and (part of) a stand-alone AS level? http://t.co/zzx6Z5YBGU

Not very revealing PQ replies about the decision to make AS level a stand-alone qualification: http://t.co/hUFtrO6zho (Col 142W)

TES interview with Ofqual’s Stacey throws further doubt on exam reform timetable and viability of untiered GCSEs: http://t.co/V6m5C1BvOH

New letter from Gove to Stacey on A level reform: http://t.co/MUepfQmyn8  – sounds like AS reform beyond content will be delayed

PQ asking which universities us AS level for admissions purposes: http://t.co/mBk6f2IrmU  (Col 594W) – Answer not that illuminating

Uncorrected evidence from Education Select Committee’s 12 March session on GCSE English results: http://t.co/soK7X9z3UR

SEN lobby coming to the forefront in arguments against removal of GCSE tiering (TES): http://t.co/gKnFgTTopB – Looks increasingly vulnerable

Ofqual’s response to the last Gove letter on the exam reform timetable: http://t.co/hdVyDaO26B

Glenys Stacey back before Education Select Committee at 10.40 this morning re GCSE English results: http://t.co/X5B7HIumzZ

So what alternatives are there to GCSE tiering, apart from core + extension model? Any of them substantively better? http://t.co/55eLxHkEjQ

Uncapped GCSE APS data for London Challenge, City Challenges, All secondary by ethnic group, 2007-2012: http://t.co/BoN08PB0UO (Col 1190W)

PQs from Glass and Stuart about HE support for standalone AS levels still getting short shrift: http://t.co/BoN08PB0UO (Col 1187W)

Uncorrected transcript of 26 March Education Select Committee session on GCSE English with Ofqual: http://t.co/iRF55cMZsB

Hansard record of yesterday’s Westminster Hall Debate on AS and A levels: http://t.co/QMJ35QD6ak (Col 33WH)

Today’s TES Editorial is about the perverse effect of comparable outcomes: http://t.co/fGeC5qdQ7V

Ofqual Note on GCSE English Marking in 2012 sent ahead of 26 March Session with Stacey: http://t.co/6QbFIGlQnx

O’Briain advocates core plus extension in GCSE maths: http://t.co/eRmYsc29fN – but his comments seem more likely to justify tiering

Ofqual’s GCSE English S+L proposals would mean a 60/40 split in favour of written papers (compared with 40/60 now): http://t.co/bigkAQQvw1

TES piece on OUCEA report on GCSE reforms: http://t.co/9B1HVEVatB – and here’s the paper itself: http://t.co/8EiV3onziZ

Government Response to Education Committee Report on KS4 Reform http://t.co/Qi4EDjx0W7 Nothing new; handy summary ahead of May consultations

So AS level will be a clear dividing line in educational policy ahead of 2015 election http://t.co/gsoN51rrS6 A one off or first of several?

Direct link to the OUCEA Report on research evidence relating to GCSE reforms: http://t.co/8EiV3onziZ  – think I may have tweeted this before

Ofqual’s secondary accountability consultation response:http://t.co/FjZiWK3Yee – Isn’t weighting Eng and Ma in the best 8 measure overkill?

Coverage of Cambridge Assessment’s call for GCSE scale scores: http://t.co/8ia6fY84At and http://t.co/K5vRXDyRbN and http://t.co/Po14hPyuL9

Another Cambridge Assessment Paper on GCSE tiering: http://t.co/aPra9aCzkB Sees merit in 2 separate levels in Ma and Eng: ie Tiering Plus!

Here’s a direct link to the Cambridge Assessment paper on GCSE scale scores: http://t.co/ldnOTOd0sA

Laws to Brennan on AS Levels: http://t.co/VMAsjOIAdN – internal analysis suggests AS have marginal additional predictive value

Reports of a new commitment from DfE to consult the other education departments on qualifications reform: http://t.co/8ZrMBlqUWX

Coverage of yesterday’s indication of more ceiling space for GCSE high attainers: http://t.co/nrh6KBcBxq and http://t.co/474RgDUgEb

Pretty much inevitable home countries split over GCSE/A Level: http://t.co/9x7dx7tFq9 and http://t.co/YLBPC43ohJ There’s plenty of downside

Here’s the study of the predictive value of GCSE versus AS that Laws quoted last week: http://t.co/3mbNOvtE8v

CUSU has written to Education Ministers about AS Levels: http://t.co/zpfyb98Mcv

TES say AQA is monitoring Twitter for evidence of cheating in its exams (but presumably not in other’s exams): http://t.co/wJFVPY2e8z

Leaked notion that son-of-GCSE grades go from 1 up to 8 reverses Gove’s 1-4 down illustration: http://t.co/oHJUQ4DAYW What’s the logic here?

Incidentally, introducing an I(ntermediate) level at age 16 begs a big question about the identity of E(ntry) level: http://t.co/znAH11STJU

Hmm – building in space for a hypothetical Grade 9 is most definitely a ‘speculative’ proposal! http://t.co/rr91ir37zc

Independent Editorial on I-Levels seems to be off the pace, or at least rather idiosyncratic: http://t.co/79QceNtdR2

Will there be pressure in future to keep Welsh and Northern Irish GCSEs available in English schools? What of IGCSE? http://t.co/CQvDzvT7e0

Twigg on I levels: http://t.co/xzpO3ppS0m

TES on I-levels: http://t.co/MI7mbLmKi0 – also says yesterday’s Estyn report on science is a threat to their PISA 2015 aspirations

Some distancing here from the new I-level moniker: http://t.co/0R8JB6S0VP – maybe we’ll have GCSE(E) instead!

Ofqual on A level review arrangements: http://t.co/aiKa18kbi2 and http://t.co/qLzlWkZKEX  Russell Group references conspicuous by  absence

Ofqual’s Interim Review of Marking Quality http://t.co/LXcht4zCQh + Literature Review on Marking Reliability Research http://t.co/zqWNfdc07c

Two newly-published interim research briefs from evaluation of the linked pair of GCSEs in maths (M LP): http://t.co/L6iTg2aE8w

Direct link to Education Select Committee report on GCSE English marking: http://t.co/mn5l58lXkE

This looks authoritative on today’s GCSE announcements: http://t.co/USfhSmP8SW  New line on reverse grading from 8 down to 1 still looks weak

So it appears tiering may be reprieved in maths, physics, chemistry biology: http://t.co/USfhSmP8SW  Annual 1K pupil sample tests in Ma/Eng

Update on Ofqual’s progress in investigating awarding organisations that also publish text books: http://t.co/wjN6ya5xMe (Col 124W)

DfE consultation says high achievers’ content is separately indicated in Maths spec. But why only Maths? http://t.co/Eog0u5rq10 (p7)

DfE GCSE content consultation says no specifications for any further subjects: http://t.co/Eog0u5rq10 (pp5-6)

Here is Ofqual’s Review of Controlled Assessment in GCSE, also released today: http://t.co/doP85MINLa

Ofqual is proposing new short course GCSEs, and there could be common content with full GCSEs: http://t.co/KHDBXOyyeV (p32)

Ofqual promises a separate Autumn consultation on setting grade standards from first principles: http://t.co/KHDBXOyyeV (p30)

Can’t see any justification from Ofqual’s for why the grading goes from 8 to 1, rather than vice versa: http://t.co/KHDBXOyyeV (pp26-29)

As expected, Ofqual proposes ‘improved’ overlapping tiers in Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology: http://t.co/KHDBXOyyeV  (pp13-17)

DfE GCSE Subject Content Consultation Document: http://t.co/Eog0u5rq10 and subject specifications: http://t.co/JdFkUvlwWk

Ofqual GCSE consultation press release: http://t.co/tUoMAGtZPQ and consultation document: http://t.co/KHDBXOyyeV

Today’s oral statement on GCSE reform: http://t.co/V6bah8Wf8l

Interesting if somewhat idiosyncratic list of the (14) experts consulted on the GCSE specifications: http://t.co/jU9mzRVeE6

As Wales and NI stick with integrated AS level, the UK-wide exam reform picture begins to resemble a dog’s breakfast: http://t.co/BDgyrEEGSW

My gov.uk notification says draft GCSE science spec has already been replaced with a new version: http://t.co/y7ZDv6qwu6 – what’s changed?

Russell Group will have an A Level Content Advisory Group (ALCAB) after all: http://t.co/khv5tOT9KK but no real detail about process

Set of fairly non-committal PQ replies about Welsh GCSEs: http://t.co/c55IFqatcr (Col 581W)

Handy NUT guide to proposed changes to GCSE: http://t.co/09DCibEJJT

GCSE MFL entries by language over the last decade: http://t.co/eKA5N4OOxA (Col WA90)

How well does AS predict A level grades? http://t.co/KMTGBHMvsE

Ofqual needs two new board members, pay is £6K a year: http://t.co/Jm53Ff2ltk

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/352680828268052480

https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/352730368845156352

https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/353027254709784576

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Performance Tables and Floor Targets

Bell criticises Russell Group-focused destination data: http://t.co/vcBS7VB9Mo – likely to be relegated to planned Data Warehouse/Portal?

AoC has complained to the UK Statistics Authority about the KS5 Performance Tables (TES): http://t.co/h7F0xy896G

Details of new primary floor targets from DfE: http://t.co/qlhoDYi5Eq – Level 4 becomes 4A/4B only until it’s discarded in 2016

Repitching Level 4 at current 4B must be precursor to using the higher threshold as new post-Levels end KS2 benchmark http://t.co/qlhoDYi5Eq

By the way, results in the new GSP test ‘are likely to be part of the floor standard in 2014’: http://t.co/qlhoDYi5Eq – why so provisional?

Sounds like there are also plans (long on the back burner?) to publish ‘families of schools’ data: http://t.co/OT91Q7KfCW

@headguruteacher On school accountability: http://t.co/zo3QD7kiRy – Can’t see universal performance indicators being sacrificed entirely

Direct link to IPPR Report on how performance table reforms have affected 14-16 vocational education: http://t.co/l1OoqsiJsm

Direct link to Demos Report on Detoxifying School Accountability: http://t.co/Z5SZk71vDE  plus press release: http://t.co/LSVGazLSex

Interim report tomorrow from Labour’s 14-19 review will apparently recommend abolition of EBacc: http://t.co/Vxo2h6BoYS

International comparisons of school accountability systems: http://t.co/J4fgxLEwHx

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/345121638506954754

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Ofsted

FAQs on Ofsted’s School Data Dashboard: http://t.co/SLJX93VUDl – Nothing on link with new Performance Tables proposals

Mumsnet users aren’t impressed by the Ofsted Schools Dashboard: http://t.co/GVN1JA2F0L

TES reports concern that data determining which LAs Ofsted inspects is out of date: http://t.co/FPtyc0uLjn

TES editorial suggests Ofsted should consider Montesquieu before undertaking school improvement alongside inspection: http://t.co/vgArtBkNsg

Ofsted will tomorrow publish data on the outcome of school inspections in first term under new framework: http://t.co/yLQJIZPO2H (Col 987W)

The promised Ofsted school inspection data for October to December 2012: http://t.co/Ampa57zT5M  plus press release: http://t.co/VFbVi2pkuI

38 sponsored academies inspected October-December 2012: 0 outstanding; 20 good; 13 require improvement; 5 inadequate: http://t.co/Ampa57zT5M

Ofsted has published the Data Dashboard/school governors Wilshaw speech: http://t.co/YRBrc9iiYP

Ofsted Survey: Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools: http://t.co/qi05eHb2hY

Update from NAHT on Ofsted data dashboard issues: http://t.co/lv259wSH8n

Following Derby and Portsmouth, Ofsted next blitz Coventry: http://t.co/6Tpf78JChe

Norfolk is next authority in line for the full Ofsted treatment: http://t.co/cxUENfpBqA

Ofsted’s letter to Portsmouth following mass inspection there is less emollient than the earlier one to Derby: http://t.co/6Gzl4uPN2V

Ofsted has published its response to a consultation on improving its own complaints procedures: http://t.co/XQY9jAdDbi

Omigod (literally!) Christian Today says “Sir Michael’s sins are too long to detail”: http://t.co/NLWvc5ohg5 but I think it’s ironic

Ofsted has written to Coventry about the outcomes of the recent LA-wide inspection there: http://t.co/6Gzl4uPN2V

In case you haven’t yet had a link to….Ofsted’s consultation document on early years inspection: http://t.co/6BSMUMjt4T

Not sure if this breakdown of grades for the 9 free schools so far inspected has been made public before: http://t.co/zY98hnQFcO (top link)

Papers from the Ofsted Board Meeting of 26 March: http://t.co/HSLtSywpvZ including a Performance Report on the last Quarter of 2012

All the Ofsted bumph on LA inspection: http://t.co/0uoTSOSgUB and http://t.co/L4uCbIymSV and http://t.co/9MVPli31GM

Norfolk gets a stiff letter from Ofsted, Here’s the full text courtesy of the EDP: http://t.co/AnXruhJytU

Ofsted has released a first set of monthly figures updating latest school inspection outcomes by phase and LA/region: http://t.co/H7dOL1k3TA

NAHT press release about Instead, its alternative inspection model: http://t.co/P0Gg7IOLS6

Interesting piece on the impact of a negative Ofsted on test outcomes: http://t.co/21vs0QbFeS

Ministers haven’t pinned down the criteria determining a decision to ask HMCI to inspect a local authority http://t.co/uIqHyNszr9 (Col 596W)

The Ofsted roadshow reaches Bristol: http://t.co/4xuYt3gIP7

Ofsted will on Monday start inspection of local authority school improvement services in Norfolk and Isle of Wight: http://t.co/Ak3qmFir13

Full DfE FOI response on evidence of effectiveness of Ofsted inspection: http://t.co/Wc6yzuU9qm Includes 2012 internal research review.

TES reports that some private school emergency inspections are prompted by fears of religious extremism: http://t.co/Rs2VKph5Ee

Medway is next in Ofsted’s sights: http://t.co/URDpiAr1Qj

Ofsted press release on its inspection of Medway primary schools: http://t.co/URDpiAr1Qj

East Riding escapes relatively lightly following Ofsted scrutiny: http://t.co/6Gzl4uPN2V

Is Ofsted now acting as a school improvement broker, asks @Robt_Hill http://t.co/rirkTzCdit

Really useful data via Ofsted FOI on how academies’ inspection ratings change after achieving academy status: http://t.co/Ucldk1c5BG

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International Comparisons

New OECD working paper on the Predictive Power of PISA test items: http://t.co/YLSiI6aBOu

RT @OECD_Edu: The ideas that shaped PISA, & the ideas that PISA shaped – Slidedeck for @SchleicherEDU TED talk http://t.co/vW3qlyXLQ4

Latest PISA in Focus on marking: http://t.co/hgNXEUYnNK

Schleicher presentation from OECD summit on using evaluation to improve teaching: http://t.co/cOIG1UR31y

What’s wrong with NC Levels: http://t.co/6sgLjPN212 Interested to see how the author’s alternative differs to mine: http://t.co/JNTYosr4nL

BBC reports that PISA test for schools is about to be launched: http://t.co/ECcHnUjaSI  – further background here: http://t.co/t4rBw5sssG

A whole range of US pilot material from the OECD (PISA) test for schools can be accessed here: http://t.co/5aGWuGlZxp

Today’s TES editorial is about our penchant for things American: http://t.co/X72zSyL6vT – but PISA is now driving a more eclectic approach?

‘You’ll be Shocked by How Many of the World’s Top Students are American’: http://t.co/hHH1vihzNx (I wasn’t)

Tim Oates in TES on comparative study of high-performing education systems: http://t.co/hAbCyLSHZ1 – is the full analysis published?

PISA in Focus study on What Makes Urban Schools Different: http://t.co/PoGkZjegCe as reported here: http://t.co/FAEGWkKx3i

Interesting World Bank blog post about OECD’s ‘PISA for Development’ (building PISA use in developing economies): http://t.co/DULGaN96ru

Interesting NCEE article exemplifying data produced from the PISA Test for Schools: http://t.co/WED2ztV8vS

International comparisons of school accountability systems: http://t.co/J4fgxLEwHx

TES on PISA Tests for Schools: http://t.co/KQjAugyG8s – They’ll cost at least £5,250 a throw. Government ‘supportive’ but won’t impose

Forgot to mention you can check how our high achievers perform on PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS here: http://t.co/OvqmNIJO7J

PISA’s approach to assessing collaborative problem-solving (in 2015): http://t.co/Zn01bSsjvy

Here is Education at a Glance 2013 (all 440 pages): http://t.co/vMw2wWsonC and here’s the 10 page note on the UK: http://t.co/hEMaPeHNN5

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Social Mobility

The ASCL page from which you can download all three of today’s publications about social mobility: http://t.co/wbXhX89uPx

On quick review ASCL social mobility documents are good in parts while ignoring the Excellence Gap concept: http://t.co/wbXhX89uPx

Upcoming ISER social mobility report: http://t.co/6mheoYoFQj Doesn’t yet show up on their website: http://t.co/vYtaj2Rqfi

NYT article on social mobility through HE access in the USA: http://t.co/qH8Xtd5bNB – unfortunately the paper it discusses is £

@brianlightman on schools’ contribution to social mobility: http://t.co/Yf8dDeVozB

Book of abstracts for today’s HEA social mobility conference http://t.co/clpTWHbsat – let’s hope the papers are published and free to access

Top strand of the IT pipeline is dominated by independent schools: http://t.co/qYmTqQbprT

Some fairly rigorous intervention is required before grammar schools will be a key to social mobility: http://t.co/rQ4RK2tUwU

Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission reminds us of its existence: http://t.co/E6zAQizcuU  – There’s plenty for it to address

BIS FOI Release concerning evidence of guidance on unpaid internships and unpaid interns: http://t.co/Soje8x3Asg

Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has issued a call for evidence to inform 1st annual report http://t.co/wkIx8QBfNo

Grammar schools and the myth of social mobility: http://t.co/ltOADwOJve – Exactly

Not exactly an enthusiastic answer to Hinds PQ on Government progress on social mobility: http://t.co/ZaSg2aw1e5 (Col 1097W)

DPM’s Opening Doors Press Release: http://t.co/3pSPybcQ5O – so glad to know who provided the double-deckers for the Talent Tour!

Full text of Milburn’s Scottish Speech setting out the stall of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission: http://t.co/EFBdc5xfYB

Yesterday’s Westminster Hall Debate on unpaid internships: http://t.co/HRvLNpmlfk (Col 161WH)

20 June Lords Debate on Social Mobility: http://t.co/Mo88u8Y7nW (Col GC139) When Government spokesman ditches his speech, that’s a bad sign

Public Attitudes Research on Social Mobility from the SMCPC: http://t.co/BvbgFBzdLI and press release: http://t.co/rqgfZlP9qV

The Grandparents Effect in Social Mobility: Evidence from British Birth Cohort Studies by Chan and Boliver: http://t.co/aNnf6OpqHE

Thirteen Economic Facts about Social Mobility and the Role of Education (US): http://t.co/nOSq5EV2oa

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Fair Access

Ever wonder why state schools don’t send students to Oxbridge? Read this and weep: http://t.co/puvhYZhPen

It’s becoming harder to get a place on a UNIQ summer school than to gain admission to Oxford: http://t.co/ro7kV9vbtf

Oxford and Telegraph lock horns over statistical analysis of ‘summer born’ effect on admissions http://t.co/NS4pCYe1Cg

If there’s no problem with Oxbridge admissions let’s have full data transparency. Secrecy breeds conspiracy theories http://t.co/D2vrLdK22N

OFFA has appointed nine new members to its advisory group including Penelope Griffin of the Bridge Group: http://t.co/mQ78zvi3ol

Direct link to HEFCE’s ‘The Uses and Impact of HEFCE Funding for Widening Participation’: http://t.co/0ZbP3GXklg

The sting in the tail of HEFCE’s report is on page 68: http://t.co/0ZbP3GXklg

THE says OFFA/HEFCE national access strategy interim report will propose coordinated outreach strategy: http://t.co/xNBhyJdWLd

The HEFCE/OFFA Interim Report on the National Strategy for Access: http://t.co/WDKbMqWt84 said to propose son of Aim Higher

BiS press notice about the OFFA/HEFCE Access Strategy Interim Report: http://t.co/rPXhuxVUqu

I’m struggling to understand how factual information about applications could be defamatory to universities: http://t.co/rjGrV5LGNL

Early stages of a FOI wrangle over those UCAS admission statistics: http://t.co/RqOpSvPD42

HEFCE has published a bit of extra material from the National Scholarship Programme evaluation they commissioned: http://t.co/781hQMQGn1

The long arm of RCT reaches across to the Sutton Trust’s fair access work: http://t.co/HI8K250mCu – RCT is the new fad/Heineken/Mr Tickle!

Why don’t independent schools introduce loans that aren’t repayable if you don’t enter a Russell Group university? http://t.co/yv9C7pb2uW

Is OFFA going soft on fair access? http://t.co/9MHSRpSNif – no ratcheting up of expectations in 2013-14

HEFCE confirms open recruitment for ABB+ grades (a third of students) Press release: http://t.co/eDGhU3uYym Circular: http://t.co/6qjma2yT8L

New HESA participation data http://t.co/dbUjMykxb4 Higher says 6 of 24 Russell Group HEIs met state school benchmarks http://t.co/5Kt4HLgsvF

Durham press release on that Boliver fair access research: http://t.co/29wqUO8Tz1 and the project that spawned it: http://t.co/AJtP0nm4Cv

Gove statement on the Boliver social mobility research http://t.co/MMXipicX2u Last line seems to contradict Government HE admissions policy

Sounds like IPPR’s HE Commission is developing an approach to fair access that Mr G will not find conducive: http://t.co/pvDZ6PjvRG

The proportion of UCAS applications from private and independent schools 2008 to 2012: http://t.co/JRfh8mQy0A  (Col 1067W)

THE reports a Mahmood speech yesterday. Labour would ‘urgently restore’ widening participation as policy priority: http://t.co/qZEN1QJ6Ed

Ivy League universities are becoming increasingly selective: http://t.co/C8uXBRJgoL

Latest Independent Commission on Fees Analysis of 2012/13 HE admissions: http://t.co/USds5tryru and Sutton Trust PN: http://t.co/SGsxcJIgYr

@conorfryan expands on this morning’s news about the potentially deleterious impact of tuition fees: http://t.co/CnA5SAahY3

HEFCE briefing and report on Non-continuation rates at English HEIs 2003-2011: http://t.co/y4JXksj87r

HEFCE estimates that 18,555 students achieved AAA+ at A level in 2009/10 and 96% entered HE: http://t.co/np7w9UBKcR  (Col 319W)

Laws says proportion of independent/selective students at Oxbridge is ‘unacceptably high’: http://t.co/e40OVnnWf7 (Col 53WH)

Willetts speech in which he announces information packs to support fair access to HE http://t.co/E9WopWgLg3 Marginally positive

Number of Welsh comprehensive pupils admittted to Oxbridge is flatlining – and significantly lower than in 2008/2009: http://t.co/EgSxD63K25

Willetts’ ‘well done’ letters not going down too well: http://t.co/TutennonJw  Idea has a certain affinity with Dux. It won’t impress Milburn

Direct link to the BIS data on HE Participation Rates 2006/07 to 2007/12 (Provisional): http://t.co/cL5NP94rbe

OFFA’s comment on the HE participation data: http://t.co/idXGME8VVP

Imposing a universal embargo on admissions below BBB is hardly praiseworthy university admissions practice: http://t.co/lAkcV0ggIH

Good showing for non-Russell Group in Complete University Guide. Durham also outranks Oxbridge for English: http://t.co/OojYmR16DN

The latest application figures from UCAS: http://t.co/czw2XrXdmw

HEFCE Consultation Document on Student Number Controls 2014-15 onwards: http://t.co/KAUZLzAJYT – includes proposals for moving beyond ABB+

Early evaluation of Unistats from HEFCE: http://t.co/vVERy2JDEj and associated press release: http://t.co/KeHyisXWZx

Is ASCL against all use of contextual data in HE admissions, or concerned about which data is used for the purpose? http://t.co/IjspRbRGL6

Gove’s CPS Joseph Memorial Speech: http://t.co/qfd9TrRAeX  Says his policies are explicitly designed to improve FSM progression to Oxbridge

Direct link to Cambridge Undergraduate Admission Statistics for 2012 http://t.co/5BhG1nmwpC  – disadvantage is by POLAR quintile

Interesting comparison of fair access north and south of the border: http://t.co/LsYBEw0HY7 and http://t.co/Qi2JAn1z5n

Sutton Trust press release on impact of fees: http://t.co/hc1TqEPhpI and Lampl commentary on same: http://t.co/gwuMjHFnst

US debate on ‘affirmative action’ is peaking in expectation of the outcome of the University of Texas court case: http://t.co/P8CgECIvu1

Direct link to new Centre Forum report on access to postgraduate education: http://t.co/tpyjOEW7VI

Guardian preview of OFFA’s annual report (with HEFCE) due out today: http://t.co/yrsl3fqzXh  Expect the anodyne, not fireworks

OFFA’s press release on today’s report: http://t.co/xTWlhOYhuc and the Report itself, plus annexes http://t.co/xGUPzkvQBQ

Stock response from BIS to yesterday’s OFFA/HEFCE report: http://t.co/9KoZTdvNIn – wonder what the latest FSM to Oxbridge figure is…

IPPR’s HE Commission will propose a £1K HE Premium for up to 230K disadvantaged students from existing WP budget: http://t.co/8HqPG9AqOP

Missed this Guardian coverage of geographical disparities in Oxbridge admissions http://t.co/kstNax8Jkw and http://t.co/VC8VFgTp7o

IPPR’s HE Commission is pro-contextualised admissions; HEIs could admit unlimited numbers of student premium-eligible http://t.co/eaZbhFkuZC

Direct link to IPPR HE Commission summary (the download mysteriously provides only pages 112-144): http://t.co/eaZbhFkuZC

Here’s the full IPPR HE Commssion Report: http://t.co/N7wjVbktgO – Glitch now fixed thanks to @IPPR_Nick

WonkHE analysis puts the IPPR HE Commission Report (which I still can’t access in full) firmly in its place: http://t.co/A5E3cmzzPF

I like the IPPR HE Commission Report on both Student Premium and Contextualised Admissions: http://t.co/N7wjVbktgO but two tricks missed…

…first, the Student Premium needs to align with 16-19 support as well as the Pupil Premium as suggested here http://t.co/vopcXghiS6 and…

…second, HE outreach budget/effort (HE ‘pull’) needs to be integrated with the school/post-16 budget/effort (‘push’) to maximise impact.

Milburn quietly re-endorses contextualised admissions to HE while up in Scotland: http://t.co/qRpYIFpKWN

Next set of Destination Measures will be published on 20 June: http://t.co/BQIzJbIdAR (Col 231W)

Milburn will publish a report on Monday showing that fair access to prestigious universities has stalled http://t.co/YOOL8xUkKd

Direct link to new Social Mobility Commission policy paper: Higher Education: The Fair Access Challenge: http://t.co/GCBNqtcxRl

Excellent Report by Social Mobility Commission: http://t.co/GCBNqtcxRl – So good that it raises awkward questions about OFFA’s contribution

Today’s Social Mobility Commission report on Fair Access, but now with added data: http://t.co/IJ5YS8V7no  Can’t see FSM though

OFFA responds to Social mobility Commission Report on Fair Access to HE: http://t.co/NQzuqjydkw which shows OFFA’s having negligible impact

Now there’s a thought – link VCs’ pay to the achievement of their fair access targets: http://t.co/gnUjG3DAtm Warwick OKish on this measure?

THE reports the National Scholarship Programme could be vulnerable under the Spending Review: http://t.co/MrM50928uT

Updated Destination Measures general information: http://t.co/rJ64rECRro and Q&A: http://t.co/0M4ukptFzF

KS4/5 Destinations Data PN: http://t.co/fe8lpw4V8Y – SFR and tables: http://t.co/C7MEmY0lEe  FSM breakdown not published until 23 July

Russell Group on SMCPC Report on Fair Access http://t.co/QXrWgZ6ocd and @tessa_stone’s powerful response http://t.co/EppEi11oN5

THE reviews IntoUniversity: http://t.co/cbsZhVNN1V Successfully squeezing money from corporate sponsors to support fair access

Why 9 of these students: http://t.co/Cj0QXueVp3 rejected Oxbridge: http://t.co/opqCP24K2U – Still a trickle but could it become a flood?

Debate continues over affirmative action despite Supreme Court Ruling: http://t.co/Tw1jquylX2 and http://t.co/C6k4wezKdU

Here’s a brief report on Fair Access issues, especially some news about the Dux Award Scheme: http://t.co/krPc7Uweo4

National Scholarship Programme reduced back to £50m and focused exclusively on postgraduates: http://t.co/52iWzTrjOT

Progress of the Post-16 Education (Scotland) Bill which supports WP/fair access north of the border, passed yesterday http://t.co/kjZU5vQG5N

I’ve finalised my brief post of yesterday about the future of Dux Awards, now renamed Future Scholar Awards http://t.co/krPc7Uweo4

HEFCE analysis of trends in transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study 2002-2011: http://t.co/RMVP6znz5D

HEFCE’s Overview Report of Postgraduate Education in England and Northern Ireland 2013: http://t.co/MJIr5ik7fe

HEFCE’s invitation to submit pilot project proposals to support progression into postgraduate education: http://t.co/C6mZoCbHrx

Further detail of Government financial support for access by disadvantaged students to postgraduate education: http://t.co/1VU6MOkWWr

Think this is the report: http://t.co/b5ISODUQPl on the state/private school university experience referenced here: http://t.co/EPGDBA7hUX

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/352499444035489793

https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/352674966271037440

https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/353023250034458624

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Careers

Deed of variation to funding agreements will require academies to secure independent careers advice: http://t.co/B80SinZNAn (Col WA339)

Lords Oral PQ about careers guidance in schools: http://t.co/L7Q3cZiMD4 (Col 1267)

Updated statutory guidance for schools on Careers Guidance: http://t.co/X04WvS5Bru

Government response to Education Select Committee report on Careers Guidance for Young People: http://t.co/wipyXovbJS

RT @SecondaryCEIAG: Tony Watts forensically takes apart Government response to Education Committee report on careers http://t.co/kHKG8hPhfh

Yesterday’s Westminster Hall debate on Careers Guidance: http://t.co/WzQp3ZAI04 (Col 1WH)

Direct link to today’s National Careers Council publication: ‘An Aspirational Nation’: http://t.co/TG0HacIsmj

New guidance for post-16 institutions on Securing Independent Careers Guidance: http://t.co/ubSsBOh8c9

Cridland on careers: http://t.co/sg6rVB0lOK – His topic at the GS Heads Association was ‘nurturing ability’: http://t.co/WsAKS1mqBe

Yesterday’s backbench debate on careers advice in schools: http://t.co/kI8QEAP5W0 (Col 120)

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Pupil Premium

Primary floor rises; schools rated by Ofsted below ‘good’ with attainment gap issues need Pupil Premium action plan http://t.co/jKDkZSUycK

DfE Evaluation of Summer Schools for Disadvantaged Pupils: http://t.co/eOd9JF7wKu  plus key findings for schools: http://t.co/sKqsISskUC

Who are these experts that will advise schools on their use of Pupil Premium? http://t.co/bA03gftEMb – What happened to ‘schools know best’?

Not much evidence in this Evaluation of Disadvantaged Summer Schools of a focus on improving attainment: http://t.co/eOd9JF7wKu

Pupil Premium intervention requires accredited ‘System Leaders’ (not all NLEs) to help schools produce action plans http://t.co/OT91Q7KfCW

Laws’ Pupil Premium intervention is basically the old Labour mantra: ‘intervention in inverse proportion to success’  http://t.co/OT91Q7KfCW

Fact Check revisits how much of a premium the Pupil Premium really is http://t.co/hg8MZIlY9o Big issue for current spending review I’d guess

FAQs for the 2013 Summer Schools for Disadvantaged Pupils: http://t.co/s21G1ZbKH8  – continuation announced by Laws yesterday

RT @fimclean: SAM Learning debate on how the £1.25 billion Pupil Premium affects school spending http://t.co/HleTnmUo7d

Hansard record of yesterday’s Westminster Hall debate on the Pupil Premium: http://t.co/jVYFyWRENc (Col 25WH)

Laws ratchets up pressure on schools to narrow gaps via the Pupil Premium http://t.co/R4MZyRcMnb – Schools know best approach is now history

Can you see the Pupil Premium reducing the FSM attainment gap to 12.5% any time soon? http://t.co/zKpfBJk5LO – No, me neither

@RobAnthony01 @miconm Then again there’s Deloitte’s ‘Insight 5’: http://t.co/boxxy21V6w (which rather undermines the Pupil Premium concept)

Just how much Pupil Premium is being pocketed by private tutors? http://t.co/XIswAp64nJ – Wouldn’t it make sense to cut out the 3rd party?

Guardian reports new Sutton Trust survey of Pupil Premium funding: http://t.co/Wz3FMP4q96 Presume details here later: http://t.co/SoVIOiRVqG

Here’s that belated Sutton Trust Pupil Premium Survey: http://t.co/OIwNumz8BN and press release: http://t.co/yUPzqPFfgX

The independent evaluation of the Pupil Premium will be published in July: http://t.co/UymKtQiLTq (Col 300W)

Young Foundation Report ‘Social Investment in Education’ urges using Pupil Premium to support said social investment: http://t.co/ojufJMnnfR

More detail of Pupil Premium accountability measures; John Dunford’s appointment as Pupil Premium National Champion: http://t.co/iWhWCt76gE

Limited support in this Pupil Premium evaluation for Ofsted’s complaint that high attainers are neglected: http://t.co/n4K4K771lF

Pupil Premium Evaluation says it’s too early to offer a judgement of the impact on pupil attainment: http://t.co/n4K4K771lF – Why so?

New Evaluation of the Pupil Premium: http://t.co/n4K4K771lF Identifies tensions between schools’ use and ‘external expectations’

Pupil Premium reinforcement illustrates how few strong policy levers exist in a ‘self-improving school system’: http://t.co/iWhWCt76gE

There’s also more detail here about how Pupil Premium Reviews will work: http://t.co/dtejHrLnk9

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/353445813168504833

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FSM Gaps, Poverty, Disadvantage and EEF

EEF’s Evidence in Action Events: Discussion Paper on ‘Knowledge Mobilisation’: http://t.co/kYhuJsZ3eC and report: http://t.co/1CpSW18zVh

If the EEF now deals with ‘Improving education outcomes for school-aged children’ isn’t that serious mission creep? http://t.co/pVR0ltTkBe

This implies that elevation of EEF to ‘What Works Centre’ extends its remit to all outcomes for 4-19 year-olds: http://t.co/pVR0ltTkBe True?

What the Education Endowment Fund was originally for: http://t.co/xYqAJYGJuY and http://t.co/chzsiw16lx

Essential reading for right-lurching politicians: The Lies We Tell Ourselves: Ending Comfortable Myths About Poverty: http://t.co/qiQlfobfKe

This is the Troubled Families evidence base: http://t.co/moLvZowzCA about which this report is so scathing: http://t.co/qiQlfobfKe

How the Pygmalion effect works: http://t.co/5sV6Xclq6B

A deeply troubling round-up of the impact of the various April benefits cuts: http://t.co/uGjYwII7b8

And here’s a benchmark report on 2012 UK poverty levels ahead of the new round of benefits cuts. Required reading: http://t.co/MiDBjew7Bj

Teach First commissioned IFS report on its choice of indicators of disadvantage http://t.co/faArHvgcd9 – TES on same: http://t.co/8M49PfNBRQ

Set of new EEF-funded projects: http://t.co/9yp7ddwyN5 – includes £700K for chess in schools. Who is evaluating the EEF?

Laws speech to ATL references a Liberal ‘ambition’ to halve the current FSM gap by 2020: http://t.co/nsurEnGHhY – remember that one!

IoE blog on why linking FSM gap-narrowing to the inspection framework may not be entirely fair or appropriate: http://t.co/uCgoKl06Sa

DfE Research Topic Note on EYFSP Pilot outcomes: http://t.co/UEWS7MO0oM – reports bigger EM and FSM gaps under new model

DfE publishing data shortly on attainment by age 19 broken down by pupil characteristics including FSM. Here is link http://t.co/RX0fVlrolp

New SFR 13/2013 shows increased FSM gap on 2+ A levels measure, one of Government’s social mobility indicators: http://t.co/Nx3EWkNlfp (p13)

Mongon on white working class underachievement: http://t.co/U8SQdhXk93 – advocates a localised, co-ordinated zone-based response

TES feature on underachievement in coastal towns: http://t.co/5EU995vVpp – 10 years on it’s as if Education Action Zones never existed

Is Universal Credit a disaster waiting to happen? http://t.co/VlflM8mHvl What’s the fallback for FSM eligibility if it can’t be made to work?

New Children’s Centre Evaluation (ECCE) baseline survey of families using centres in the most disadvantaged areas: http://t.co/Kj7LpgYdMP

Don’t understand how FSM eligibility could be cut back by councils if it’s passported on universal credit? http://t.co/0YH4F4dd4X

Government does not expect to introduce the FSM element of Universal Credit until after October 2013: http://t.co/Kmhk1F543K  (Col 479W)

Education Endowment Fund has so far funded 56 projects at a cost of £28.7m (full list provided): http://t.co/Wsgd5KLgmx (Col 959W)

New Good Practice Guide for the 16-19 Bursary Fund: http://t.co/VcLM5vVUiZ

Do low aspirations hold back low income students? http://t.co/vTiSTqayc2 – summary of Rowntree research

New Invitation to Tender for Education Endowment Foundation’s data-crunching activity: http://t.co/LmlPHaxZFR – deadline 31 May

New consultation document on allocation of discretionary element of 16-19 Bursary Fund: http://t.co/1uytICb53g

The proportion of FSM-eligible pupils at the first tranche of free schools: http://t.co/HFQfA6fEpg (Col 90W)

Year 1 Evaluation of the 16-19 Bursary Fund: http://t.co/Ffk5yFiD6r plus associated press release: http://t.co/jLiRfUOofr

Replugging my new post about support for FSM high achievers, applying US research to English settings: http://t.co/XREYgg8bmO

Apropos Sutton Trust report do we know how many Academies/free schools give admissions priority to FSM? http://t.co/RjT0iEUfY1 (footnote 22)

Wonder why Sutton Trust isn’t advocating priority FSM admissions to academies/free schools as well as ballots/banding http://t.co/MsISlp7Sh0

New DfE research report on impact of summer schools programme on disadvantaged learners: http://t.co/FZhTDtGBBA – not a ringing endorsement

IoE PN on Jerrim et al research on impact of genetics on reading achievement gap: http://t.co/0YEVA7Sjcv Exec summary http://t.co/raJBzgVmB0

FSM to Universal Credit is all about the transition: http://t.co/eWtxkkI0FQ  Protect entitlement of 168K losers already eligible to age 16?

UCET advice to ministers on closing the achievement gap and ITT: http://t.co/knzaQupHyy

Preview of HMC’sI themes in next week’s speech on disadvantage: http://t.co/HdC2whRFmd  Including disadvantaged high attainers hopefully

Twigg commits to admissions reform so all schools can give priority to disadvantaged learners. Good http://t.co/nepHKaziLH

Direct link to IPPR’s Excellence and Equity: Tackling educational disadvantage in England’s secondary schools: http://t.co/EG5UzaETS8

Interesting that the Education Endowment Foundation has released a statement on teaching assistants: http://t.co/Z4basqS7Ox

Schools, Pupils and Characteristics January 2013: http://t.co/wIpVZg8JT9 Primary FSM down 0.1% to 19.2%; secondary FSM up 0.3% to 16.3%

Series of Jamie Reed PQs following up on Ofsted’s ‘Unseen Children’ Report: http://t.co/1P0wSgQ0p9 (Col 236W)

No Rich Child Left Behind – on the ‘upper-tail inequality’ in US education: http://t.co/dg73xDwHWW

Report of an Expert Panel considering reform of the measure of socio-economic status deployed in NAEP: http://t.co/gOmSdrLxSn

Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Achievement for Low Income Students and Students of Color from The Education Trust (US) http://t.co/MGYMJglK44

“The distribution of opportunity in our education system is nutty”: http://t.co/oo7Ri27gnS – Fair point

Labour also reported to be proposing admissions reform: http://t.co/MunADl43Zz  – devil will be in the detail here

Funding of NZ schools according to socio-economic deciles under further scrutiny: http://t.co/jvHglmxt9H

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Selection and Independent Sector

Thin end of the wedge if it’s OK for politicians to say one thing and do another when choosing private education?  http://t.co/8aQ8eXeEcl

So what feedback to we have on the CEM 11+ pilot in Bucks? Exactly how much less coachable is it? http://t.co/Rg1EwHj5rO – I’m sceptical

Subject to DfE approval Invicta GS to run Sevenoaks grammar annex – now seem OK sharing site with Trinity Free School http://t.co/xSs2Eh63Hg

All the papers seem to be reporting the Independent Schools Census 2013. I guess it’s published here towards tiffin: http://t.co/drLgzU0bQd

TES report on the Independent Schools Census 2013: http://t.co/XtxDOqe3Xs – and here is the Census itself at last: http://t.co/p6EKqHKqpr

Today’s Sutton Trust Research on Selective Comprehensive Schools: http://t.co/vipxLDdv7a  and associated press release http://t.co/MsISlp7Sh0

The Ethics of Tutoring: http://t.co/BYWpvluyfw  – refreshingly honest

Hang on! ‘Moronic repetition and preparation for cognitive ability tests’? Aren’t they supposed to be non-coachable? http://t.co/8FlcE4UCUr

Oxford Times profiles Tim Hands, incoming Chair of HMC: http://t.co/BvlmuGwlw0  – who sounds like he might make waves

I simply don’t believe that Chelmsford HS’s change of 11+ test will materially change its intake: http://t.co/wdZZci6dtn

I see Mr G is delivering ‘a fresh vision for the independent sector’ today: http://t.co/LzVIKMoXRc

Mr G’s speech turned out a different animal: http://t.co/MBsmWmynkh – I worry his high expectations are too narrow, like a hurdle in a race

Tony Little says he and others can’t see an overarching ‘big picture’ vision for the Government’s education reforms: http://t.co/XlRGAnzzB8

New GSA President joins the chorus of disapproval: http://t.co/61ltLEtM7s

Outside the elite institutions, the private sector in US education is dying out argues Chester Finn: http://t.co/ypeIcFjln5

Love the ambiguous ‘too’ in the final para of this on Eton and poverty of aspiration: http://t.co/tVEVEEos38

Fair Admissions Campaign Statement: http://t.co/8Qfoa2DSJ8 Will map religious and socio-economic selection. FAQs: http://t.co/Tp1svgyGfJ

Centre for Market Reform of Education on its Tutors Association Consultation: http://t.co/7iWZx3FRwL  More detail here http://t.co/85qoGqevWq

The rapid expansion of online tutoring in the UK: http://t.co/s7oDRmdqbe

These are the grammar school statistics: http://t.co/H27wwW5ik8 cited in today’s latest Mail article on the subject: http://t.co/J8n5Ct1JKH

Grammar schools and the myth of social mobility: http://t.co/ltOADwOJve – Exactly

I wonder if Hitchens would support the wholesale introduction of ‘contextualised admissions’ into grammar schools: http://t.co/QcougJ89fb

@headguruteacher I still stand by most of what I proposed in Jan 2011 – essentially an OFFA for (grammar) schools: http://t.co/8ZvhNo2RA0

Post on selection by @headguruteacher: http://t.co/sajaOw2nSN  Appears to suggest GS select on attainment, not on ability so FSM imbalance OK

The continuing expansion of grammar school places: http://t.co/7yqrNsW2Nb  – How many are adding 1FE+ post academisation?

A second, competing, proposal to run a satellite grammar school in Sevenoaks: http://t.co/KomIp9xlzO

Chris Ray calls for 11+ admission via assessment days: http://t.co/oKjIBRg8Ad – I agree

HMCI prods independent sector towards stronger partnership with state schools: http://t.co/M46q0kiJCg and http://t.co/mbIY0UAeJz

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/352672826341343232

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GP

July 2013

Gifted Phoenix Twitter Round-up Volume 12: Giftedness and Gifted Education

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Here is a slightly overdue termly round-up of activity on the Gifted Phoenix Twitter feed.

4-Eyes-resized-greenjacketfinalThe sheer volume of activity undertaken over the four month period since my last review – attributable to my efforts to cover domestic education policy alongside global gifted activity – has led me to experiment with separating those two strands.

So this section of Volume 12 is dedicated to giftedness and gifted education over the period February 24 to July 3 2013.

Two further sections are devoted to wider education policy, organised on a thematic basis.

The material is organised into the following categories:

  • Global coverage, including sub-sections for each continent. As ever, this broadly reflects the distribution of activity worldwide, with little happening in Africa and a lot in the US.
  • UK coverage, including a discrete sub-section on Ofsted’s ‘Most Able Students’ survey, published in June 2013.
  • Thematic coverage, containing sub-sections on Intelligence and Neuroscience, Creativity and Innovation, Twice-Exceptional and Gifted Research.
  • Gifted Commentary, with subsections devoted to Yours Truly, Twitter chats and other posts.

Because the timespan covered by this review is relatively long, I have decided to keep the broad chronological order rather than grouping tweets thematically within sections. This means that readers will need to search a little more – for example for the limited non-US coverage within the sub-section devoted to The Americas.

As usual I have relied almost exclusively on my own Tweets, including only those that carry a hyperlink. I have not checked that all links remain live. I have included a few retweets and modified tweets originated by others.

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GP

July 2013

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Giftedness and Gifted Education Around the World

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Global

A Learnist board on gifted education: http://t.co/hXvqfPPpsX

The Open Education Database includes a single offering on gifted education: http://t.co/n5HtaP66gm Frankly that’s pathetic

Confirmation that @LesLinks is the new World Council President: http://t.co/A56sCrvGGi – I shall have to mind my Ps and Qs!

Looks as though ICIE’s 2014 Conference is in Chennai, India: http://t.co/RQZKuG5SDr – Usual suspects involved

IRATDE’s latest journal – Talent Development and Excellence Vol 5 No 1 (2013): http://t.co/OWuqQf1CQ2

Inside view of WCGTC Conference preparations: http://t.co/UO5srcTllP – I hadn’t appreciated that Denmark is hosting in 2015

World Council Conference in Kentucky is up to 350 acceptances: http://t.co/o4C2b81NbJ so they need a last-minute surge

World Council 2015 Gifted Conference in Denmark will be located in Odense, August 10-14: http://t.co/UT3KQX689u No direct flights?

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Africa

Guardian feature on Sheikh School, the ‘Eton of Somaliland’: http://t.co/OaOaYIMihD

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/344343066884333568

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Americas

A more hostile position on the expansion of Renzulli academies in Connecticut: http://t.co/jaICAcZPT2

About US NAGC’s Administrator’s Toolbox for Gifted Education http://t.co/Dv5vCrzgXG – which is here http://t.co/DXQO69mgGL

The row about NYC’s gifted programme rumbles on and on…and on: http://t.co/JGXD0nFjZH

New Executive Director of US federal initiative to secure Educational Excellence for African Americans: http://t.co/qXjabm2die

How does Insight Help Gifted Children? http://t.co/Y3OcICZctn – Piece on Esther Katz Rosen Early Career Research Grants

Paper on impact on gifted learners of inclusion policy in British Columbia: http://t.co/9lYbM7LVnm

Evidence of a backlash against those proposed new Renzulli academies in Connecticut: http://t.co/quLDWY2v4L

Article on college readiness of gifted students by CTY’s Director: http://t.co/5voDJ6Vius

Senator Chuck Grassley continues his support for high ability students in the USA: http://t.co/oZMw19VfPd

Legal action threatened over gifted education in NY State: http://t.co/E1TlcAxf8D

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/311884567839653888

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Chuck Grassley press release on latest introduction of the Talent Act: http://t.co/Fu1CYSzBPN

MT @ljconrad: Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth Newsletter http://t.co/er6yARhY3l

CEC press release on the latest edition of the Talent Act: http://t.co/wRv4oKHdux

Missouri Senate progressing bill to establish a gifted and talented advisory council: http://t.co/NJEhvpAQSr

More on ability grouping in the US: http://t.co/tYNQ1KuqM6 and http://t.co/AbuYy17epj

The Socialist Worker perspective on gifted education in New York City: http://t.co/qPNdy6qmO3

Recap of an event to discuss gifted education issues in Ohio: http://t.co/f7CEH1wKEy

State-wide review of gifted education in Pennsylvania moves a step closer: http://t.co/fbNx3hge1x

Louisiana gifted funding plan under fire: http://t.co/jaQoi3Rnkz and this from Ravitch http://t.co/zX0G9xZhBk

A bit more negative reaction to Louisiana proposal to link gifted funding to test scores: http://t.co/VnhdKFEJdR

Why my grandson, 4, won’t be taking a gifted ed test: http://t.co/qUzOBnPKuN

Meanwhile discussion continues over Delaware’s grants for gifted education bill: http://t.co/gkVWfM8hxB

The Renzulli Academy planned in New London is relegated to an incubator programme: http://t.co/GNKGWRyg1k

NEPC review says recent ‘Does Sorting Students Improve Test Scores’ paper too poor to inform tracking policy: http://t.co/obpw7NfPD9

Pro-acceleration legislation enacted in Colorado: http://t.co/7vFyB4NtwV

Belin-Blank on Grassley’s Talent Act: http://t.co/BYXt7WCICc

Rapper Wale (next album ‘Gifted) to perform at WKU, home of the World Council. A publicist’s dream! http://t.co/Bym9lN029e

Florida’s apprach to gifted education begins to focus more strongly on equity issues: http://t.co/kRL2iloSGM

Jann Leppien lands that Gifted Chair at Whitworth U (reserved for someone of a Christian persuasion) http://t.co/xg6dke3EMQ

Report on Talent Management in US Education: http://t.co/kPKMYUcltd – They and we could start the process with school-age students

Loveless reviews the US history of tracking and ability grouping and calls for more research: http://t.co/AIZLQyFWqM

A couple of reports on initial impact of changes to tests for the NYC gifted programme: http://t.co/YzdRaTxakf and http://t.co/oOOwOJiVvY

January 2013 CTYI doctoral thesis about impact of the Centre for Academic Achievement (CAA): http://t.co/ODL52gznL7

Iowa elementary school teacher says gifted learners deserve attention too: http://t.co/horeVbLOZI

NGLB – No Gifted Left Behind: http://t.co/8CFuut2zyi  – a view from Illinois

Ohio’s new report cards include gifted learners. Simulation based on old data suggests shortcomings: http://t.co/LrEffMShs7

Pearson make clunking great horlicks of NY gifted test http://t.co/opewyB0e3F and http://t.co/8sp7rTPdNN Humble pie abounds

Belin-Blank Director refers you to her paywalled research http://t.co/lQED8Dzg8o I want it freely accessible

State report card shows some high performing Ohio districts don’t cut the mustard with gifted ed: http://t.co/51ziRRRbfa

Rumblings continue over Pearson’s testing issues in NYC http://t.co/QIBSIMhDac Apparently it’s being called TestingGATE (ho ho)

Democrat sources argue for reform to NYC’s gifted programme: http://t.co/k8yjUjIWJq

A call for stronger gifted education in Baltimore: http://t.co/h76lnFLwMh

Pearson’s gifted assessment contract with NYC reportedly under threat as a second error is uncovered http://t.co/4teFDmhdMY

More from across the Atlantic on grouping by ability: http://t.co/cgTGYl3Kv3

African-Americans and Hispanics are heavily under-represented in Virginia’s gifted programmes: http://t.co/KpMfDhwqbs

Profile of Sue Khim: http://t.co/iacJ6ZyNXd the founder of Brilliant: http://t.co/80kxzDpjGE

Following the testing debacle, NYC gifted admissions process now faces a parental lawsuit: http://t.co/lLTyd8ZepR

Brief feature on the founder of a Center for Talent Attention, presumably based in Mexico: http://t.co/sDRh0bbQfn

New London has rejected a Renzulli Academy: http://t.co/P7UE2nxaa6 – but is it the last word? http://t.co/DbEsQjYk7C

Latest NEPC Policy Brief is resolutely anti-tracking and so won’t go unchallenged: http://t.co/vDL5sWqYqb

Looks as though @donnayford is launching a blog: http://t.co/HBUkwt6oJC

Gatton Academy at WKU has a relationship with Harlaxton College in Grantham http://t.co/Dx0OIJdaEC

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/343287080123768832

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Debate about the pros and cons of ability grouping continues: http://t.co/XIkM2DME8I

Finding America’s Missing AP/IB Students http://t.co/zp3g0tuGkb Education Trust says they can help tackle excellence gaps

More about ability grouping, from the NYT: http://t.co/E5wGV5DLzY

US NAGC press release on inclusion of gifted learners in draft ESEA Reauthorisation Bill: http://t.co/vao9Go0imf

Another view on ability grouping/tracking in US http://t.co/NqkxWKI8qS Will Ofsted report on ‘most able’ reignite debate here?

Another contribution to US debate on ability grouping: http://t.co/WZ59o5vYLx

Fixing America’s Talent Problem (mostly higher education focused): http://t.co/SHHG8n5Smi

CEC press release on the latest moves to introduce a US TALENT Act: http://t.co/8VTwT2f3Wt

NAGC’s Press Release on the Talent Act: http://t.co/gWK0WVBy0m

A real slanging match in the comments on: ‘The Anti-Gifted Sentiment Behind Closing the Gap’: http://t.co/D8lXzc7a76

A giftedness blog in British Columbia has come back to life: http://t.co/Bpvs6bvgzh

Ending the neglect of Illinois’ gifted students: http://t.co/mEVTVGWiiB

This page carries a link to a powerpoint on gifted education (for women) in Costa Rica: http://t.co/yAdl2mOnQa

NYC gifted education again: http://t.co/BQtVIm1Qnk  (including the judge who needs a crash course in gifted education)

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Asia

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi donates $10m to Permata Pintar gifted programme in Malaysia: http://t.co/wW1IetQpik – Jealous!

There’s a talk in Cambridge next week on gifted education in Kazakhstan: http://t.co/dIhXx7J8RY

Next round of gifted education awards in the Philippines: http://t.co/j2RakCyxBd

New Wikipedia entry on the High School for Gifted Students at Hanoi University of Science: http://t.co/YxC1XdFxg4

Positive outcomes of Malaysia’s Permata Pintar Gifted programme via @noorsyakina: http://t.co/E20rqM9yrn

Over in Hong Kong, HKAGE is running a student conference on giftedness and creativity in November: http://t.co/kXbbHsEAOX

Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education needs Associate Director for Student Programmes and Services: http://t.co/gkvdkumROH

A very brief item on Kuwaiti gifted education from the national news agency: http://t.co/Y3pp2uLaGa

Interesting feature on giftedness from the Bangkok Post: http://t.co/BunytKPhTI  (don’t be put off by the awful stock photo)

Recording of that Cambridge seminar I referenced on gifted education in Kazakhstan: http://t.co/F4DOdMdXdP

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/325213559476867073

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Bloom Nepal sounds like a valuable gifted education initiative in that country: http://t.co/IOwuufRCCL

Is Vietnam’s national gifted education programme a waste of money? http://t.co/0w2EBYNK8o

A Talent School of Academic and Arts (TSAA) is opening in Makati, Philippines: http://t.co/FqPGmUIrrZ

A Glance at Gifted Education in Singapore: http://t.co/eDSr2TBN7u

Brief piece on gifted education in Bahrain: http://t.co/Y65v1z2OP3

Mawhiba (gifted education in Saudi Arabia) is supporting over 12,000 students in its third phase: http://t.co/WiyZVElRTW

Evaluating the Effects of the Oasis Enrichment Model (on gifted education in Saudi Arabia): http://t.co/SGRmBNiRUz

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/339412463302893569

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Feature on China’s School for the Gifted Young: http://t.co/aBOMYNSig6 with an interesting opening line

RT @noorsyakina: First Lady of Mozambique visits Permata Pintar in Malaysia http://t.co/dnANlt76BU

There’s now a National Association of Gifted Education in India. Here’s its test website: http://t.co/dPGDamYkXu

Expansion of Saudi Mawhiba gifted summer school plus international girls’ programme involving CTY http://t.co/KiJ1jmUbmT

Bahraini students will take part in the Mawhiba-CTY girls only summer school: http://t.co/dkdufvfgYW

UKM in Malaysia has signed a MoU with Kazakhstan University including gifted education collaboration http://t.co/hA9sB4GbV7

The Eden Center: A Haven for Korea’s Highly Gifted Kids: http://t.co/GHeLfktoQz

A piece on teaching mathematically gifted Muslim girls from India: http://t.co/a90Tm7wzkN

Kazakhstan: Nazarbayed Intellectual Schools needs teachers (to teach in English) http://t.co/vjjkIed6Ty

Jakarta Post features an academy for poor but gifted students in Sumatra: http://t.co/Tf71eMTGar

China has launched a first Regional Talent Competitiveness Report: http://t.co/h9IvtwqDDO and http://t.co/lPk4yXgGjL

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Australasia

Gifted Kids in NZ has appointed a new chair: http://t.co/obXU0lMRb9

RT @jofrei: Gifted Resources March newsletter can be read online at http://t.co/Gratg3fUQm

Gifted education is a focus in state elections in Western Australia: http://t.co/jyAqQFFn3F

Feature on gifted education in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand: http://t.co/YYjYqfPT9C

Brief Massey University press release on an upcoming regional gifted education conference in NZ: http://t.co/mpzOjxNeiI

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/313393533061042178

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Guidance from New Zealand about developing Professional Learning Networks in Gifted Education: http://t.co/utariVh8f9

MT @jofrei: Gifted Resources March No 2 Newsletter can be read online at http://t.co/88FWthytvj

New article from New Zealand comparing enrichment and acceleration: http://t.co/m1g8aRSuXH

TKI Gifted in NZ is now advertising the World Council Conference, shifted from NZ to Kentucky: http://t.co/e9Mnm2TqyQ

Bit of a coup for GERRIC, who are running gifted teacher education courses for ESF in Hong Kong: http://t.co/p6tDaQX0A9

MT @jofrei: Gifted Resources April Newsletter can be read online at http://t.co/pOueUEIB8t

State Government’s response to the Inquiry into Victorian gifted education begins to emerge: http://t.co/PNr9auuYJK

University of New England (Australia) seeks Lecturer in School Pedagogy/Gifted Education: http://t.co/ePU1pZqZIz

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/330234232221859840

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MT @jofrei: VAGTC EmpowerED Conference report on Gifted Resources blog http://t.co/G0OjSqlF6B

Extended differentiated Instruction presentation from recent gifted conference in Victoria, Australia: http://t.co/dm1E47L7BV

New Zealand’s Got Talent. The Role of Schools in Talent Development: http://t.co/0EKvjkF6Mn – Unites arguments I support and oppose

Time for the annual New Zealand Gifted Awareness Blog Tour: http://t.co/XdT1KDi54K

Welcome to the NZGAW Blog Tour 2013: http://t.co/oXGeftp9fY

‘Your MP is Probably Gifted’: http://t.co/9Fu48aVyFb – a timely comment from New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week

Australian Mensa is worried about what happens to gifted students in Australian universities: http://t.co/M1Zt0KI2WY

A contribution to the ability grouping debate (the one in NZ this time): http://t.co/6Avu7y0R8Y

Young members of Mensa New Zealand: http://t.co/pCD2xPyiQj – a world away from Child Genius!

Picture this: gifted (from NZGAW): http://t.co/e97yIHukn2

Gifted Kids at [NZ] Parliament: http://t.co/aftRSrW7EF – Green Party support for NZGAW

NZ Labour Party supports Gifted Awareness Week: http://t.co/8v4g56ksrT

Another NZGAW offering – Kiwi learners reflect on what it means to be gifted: http://t.co/bQSsLacDnT

Investigation into the Identification of Maori Gifted and Talented Students (from NZGAW): http://t.co/vc0zILWe53

RT @ljconrad: AUS: Gifted Resources Newsletter June 2013 (pdf) from @jofrei  http://t.co/RNxEYa8nu6

Interesting progress report on New South Wales’ Virtual Selective High School, xsel: http://t.co/KEjmg9nTZU

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Europe

It’s Ireland’s 3rd National Gifted Awareness Week soon! Are you a potential sponsor? http://t.co/I9iVAuZouM

European Talent Centre website has ended its hibernation; features an essay by Roland Persson http://t.co/Lgeqj4REBe

Summary of the recent EU Hearing on Talent Support: http://t.co/Umk3BKVOeN – No comment.

The EU Talent Centre has finally published volume 2 of International Horizons of Talent Support: http://t.co/MYTWMSAmwt

ECHA is calling for bids to host its 2016 conference http://t.co/98uHStXGsz and http://t.co/oUzo2GGgPW – Deadline 10 April

Maltese Education Department reforms to support high achievers. Report: http://t.co/A4JYf7xlYI – coverage: http://t.co/psoqdt8bo3

Potential Plus and Silverman on Tour in Denmark: http://t.co/8ZUBGlrcpS

Contributions to Denmark’s 2013 Symposium on gifted including contributions from Potential Plus: http://t.co/nSYL0CAnYe

RT @GTNIrl: What if Giftedness was not defined as SEN in Ireland? http://t.co/JVQSh5AL5J

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/330190074148962305

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EESC Opinion Unleashing the potential of children and young people with high intellectual abilities in EU: http://t.co/J9E0hwsukb

MT @Dazzlld: Some news from the Irish Gifted Education Blog: http://t.co/ay09uPNlPU

MT @peter_lydon:Gifted And Talented Network Ireland helps parents of gifted children to support each other http://t.co/1253SSD58e

Gifted education arrives in Gozo: http://t.co/FxsZuuS6bE

RT @Begabungs: The first Gifted Awareness Week in Germany – June 3rd to June 9th 2013 https://t.co/uMtCNEKEES

Supply of Turkish gifted education inadequate to meet demand (courtesy of @ljconrad): http://t.co/MfPzEzTHpa

CTYI/DCU setting up Irish Centre for Gifted Research with support from College of William and Mary: http://t.co/R0HpozNZyr

Armenian scholarship fund for gifted learners at Dilijan International School: http://t.co/8tLFu5KNTb and: http://t.co/rUU5kh6e4Z

MT @Begabungs: Article from France! Thank you France! http://t.co/ZSbBrhlC2A

Legislative Strategies to Promote Talent in Romania (full text via PDF link): http://t.co/lFWXzY5kLQ

RT @Begabungs: The Development of Giftedness and Talent in 21st Century October 5th – 6th, 2013 Toulouse http://t.co/16J0IxGqXj

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UK Coverage

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News and Developments

Dance and Drama Awards Guide for 2013/14 (New Students): http://t.co/tFqhAJEHFf

Dear Treasury: economic growth is driven by human capital. Jerrim makes strong case for investment in high achievers http://t.co/ZJLRxj49gl

TES on How to Meet the Needs of Child Prodigies http://t.co/UcL9k1MtUB plus article featuring my alter ego:  http://t.co/wRp4Q8JqHn

A positive profile of Chetham’s, part of the MDS and an important part of our gifted education provision: http://t.co/32dtGvkOS1

Gove concedes that ‘there is much more that we can do’ to support high achievers: http://t.co/ZGicrHF4sn (Col 652) We’re all ears

Will removal of a flexi-schooling option impact disproportionately on gifted learners? Evidence?: http://t.co/PO7c9E1TGB

New Ofsted Report on Schools’ Use of Early Entry to GCSE Examinations (March 2013): http://t.co/5yWot7W64K

TES: Familiar portrayal of Chinese education ethos http://t.co/WtDQUxnkaz Author (a head) wants to ban use of ‘gifted and talented’

Adonis is new chair of trustees at IPPR: http://t.co/vBrUPuECIA so maybe they’ll show some interest in future of gifted education

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/312150806172418049

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Cridland speech to #ascl2013 asks whether gifted learners get the challenge and support they need: http://t.co/fDqdQx0mLM

Q. How can education best contribute to Cameron’s ‘global race’? A. Partly by investing in tomorrow’s high achievers: http://t.co/jaiOGpmi15

Concern at the plight of EAL support – will hit the oft-forgotten EAL gifted learners: http://t.co/7wgrOeYasU

Reports on safeguarding at Chetham’s: http://t.co/jZW9f4zhc2  and http://t.co/omukgQctTI  – will there be wider implications for MDS?

@judeenright Amazingly I’ve just had a pingback from a post on Dux you published 362 days ago!: http://t.co/nBduvBiE1p

Will Gilbert’s audit push Thurrock to improve gifted education? This mum hopes so: http://t.co/351GRxdWOH – I won’t hold my breath

RT @DMUVC: Hundreds of secondary school pupils have been on campus for DMU Gifted and Talented programme http://t.co/lJEPoRRadi

New DfE research on KS2 Level 6 Tests: http://t.co/2FdvVGeoKY – Critical of lack of guidance; doesn’t mention disappearance of L6

“It is the unfortunate nature of state schools that gifted children are often limited”: http://t.co/u8nHPUqy0G

Somewhere in England there’s a school that thinks NAGTY still exists: http://t.co/uny4HkWtUc – It closed in 2007

Sutton Trust’s future strategy features Open Access (bad) and Helping the Highly Able (depends how) – see p5 http://t.co/cUt0swcx09

TES says Government is no longer promoting setting: http://t.co/ZkVd71YWKY – but what will Ofsted say about impact on highly able?

How Level 6 tests are viewed in secondaries: http://t.co/Ie7nzkOWOA Gifted learners suffer badly from this poor transition practice

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/325906314293305344

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Waiting to see whether and how high attainers will be accommodated in TechBacc: http://t.co/vZRkJOHy83 and http://t.co/ZDW6dxiJ7h

Cybersecurity’s the latest industry to harness the power of gifted learners: http://t.co/yPMEixt8Bk

We had the school that thought NAGTY still existed; now we have the College seeking to re-energise YG&T: http://t.co/ACToxSXdnd

Still no TES this morning so you’ll have to make do with my new post on KS2 L6 and prospects for a Summer of Love: http://t.co/EWOMHD0sql

THE article on Universities’ sponsorship of academies http://t.co/py3vPFq91f and my piece on 16-19 maths free schools http://t.co/UQDNCNXwuX

Collaborative support for gifted education in Dudley: http://t.co/7UElTLGmCH

The importance of cross-phase collaboration: http://t.co/ge0Gpe6fp7 – critical for gifted learners as the KS2 L6 report showed

Abuse enquiries spreading across MDS schools: http://t.co/bLYoPGN2yE – Presumably some central action is under consideration

One of Labour’s policy forums urged review of gifted education policy: http://t.co/ynPH77YZJN (more detail in linked Word doc)

Cambridge University willl be sponsoring the Villiers Park Scholars Programme in Hastings: http://t.co/sc1JivwZHd

IGGY’s reached 2,500 members: http://t.co/a3rqhHEsN2 and http://t.co/75yQ79Q89K That’s slower progress than I’d anticipated

My post on IGGY discusses its membership/targets: http://t.co/ruSQuV6EUO 3,000 members’ claimed in 2012 v ‘over 2,500’ now?

Kings College 16-19 Maths School’s appointed a Head http://t.co/NQGPXxxClo My progress report on 16-19 Maths Schools http://t.co/UQDNCNXwuX

This TES report states explicitly that 16 16-19 maths schools are planned: http://t.co/NQGPXxxClo – Would like to know the source for that

Hoping for crossover between Ofsted’s upcoming reports on highly able and gap-narrowing. Excellence gaps need closing http://t.co/giEK2eymau

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/340878084758704128

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Estyn’s Report on KS2/3 Science says more able pupils are insufficiently stretched: http://t.co/17iWrTpNEP

TES on threat to NASA’s space education budget: http://t.co/Am5IouEKeK – would be a significant loss to gifted education

Timely publicity for Government-supported Cyber Security Talent Search for KS4 students: http://t.co/o2VvpILuOn GCHQ is a sponsor!

Thought-provoking piece ahead of ‘Child Genius’: http://t.co/x0W3a67Z6y Penultimate paragraph is the killer

Latest edition of the gtvoice Newsletter: http://t.co/Ht0vtI8Sn8 Mentions two very important meetings in this ‘Summer of Love’

Congratulations to Horndean Techonology College for being one of 8 lead schools for more able http://t.co/4RHBV3CuDM  Not sure whose scheme?

Sweeteners for university sponsors of 16-19 maths free schools http://t.co/cEcP8nIKs3 My analysis of progress to date http://t.co/UQDNCNXwuX

Here’s a brief report on Fair Access issues, especially some news about the Dux Award Scheme: http://t.co/krPc7Uweo4

STA received 240 complaints re non-registration of KS2 pupils for Level 6 tests post-deadline: http://t.co/zYAuduZ0ST (Col 531W)

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Ofsted Report

Still wondering why Ofsted’s rapid response gifted education survey: http://t.co/PyLE23L00o – isn’t yet listed here: http://t.co/ZItPkhyO0u

HMCI still bigging up Ofsted’s upcoming report on highly able: http://t.co/QeNdhwvv2A Identification, tracking sure, but streaming?

Telegraph says Ofsted’s ‘Most Able Pupils’ report will issue next week, but no new details of likely content http://t.co/wg9OhTcmvn

Telegraph calls the Ofsted Able pupils Report ‘damning’; Ofsted will now routinely check whether their needs are met: http://t.co/a2wB03Gc9a

Guardian coverage of the Ofsted Able Pupils Survey launch says it based on visits to 41 non-selective schools: http://t.co/ymHoV9RefL

Independent on Ofsted Able Pupils Survey: some schools not identifying most able (which was a requirement up to 2011): http://t.co/jDmAn41lfH

BBC coverage of Ofsted Able Pupils Report leads on failure to translate L5 to A* HMCI advocates setting/streaming: http://t.co/xeHiKGKBvB

Sutton Trust wants Government to fund trials of best ways to support gifted learners: http://t.co/nKlvxkMMV4 So a job for the EEF Sir Peter?

This short piece on gifted education and Learning Schools should’ve been published elsewhere today It wasn’t http://t.co/6MOnrWm6do

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/345080217297117184

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In which I propose a National Network of Learning Schools (to complement the Teaching Schools Network): http://t.co/6MOnrWm6do

RT @dandoj: Interesting Ofsted story on schools failing to challenge the brightest – particularly true for the poorest http://t.co/S6rTQaVKbX

@rchak100 @brianlightman @dylanwiliam There’s more data than you can shake a stick at in my analysis here: http://t.co/J0Kt7Aegpl

Ofsted Report on the Most Able Pupils now published: http://t.co/SrxQMNn1vP plus press release http://t.co/Rpdd3li9q2

Ofsted report says in only 20% of 2327 lessons observed were able pupils supported well or better: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn (p7)

Also surprised that Ofsted most able report is silent on school-to-school collaboration. My own modest proposal here: http://t.co/6MOnrWm6do

Key Finding 1: In many schools expectations of most able are too low: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Key Finding 2: In non-selective schools 65% of those achieving L5 in Eng and Ma didn’t get GCSE A*/A (2012): http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Key Finding 3: School leaders ‘haven’t done enough to create a culture of scholastic excellence’: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Key Finding 3 (cont) Schools don’t routinely give same attention to most able as they do to those struggling http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Key Finding 4: Transition arrangements don’t ensure high attainers maintain momentum into Year 7: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Key Finding 5: KS3 teaching is insufficiently focused on the most able: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Key Finding 6: Many students become used to under-challenge. Parents and teachers accept this too readily: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Key Finding 7: KS3 curriculum and early GCSE entry are key weaknesses; homework insufficiently challenging: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Key Finding 8: Inequalities amongst most able aren’t being addressed satisfactorily. Particularly FSM boys: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Key Finding 8 (cont): Few schools are using Pupil Premium to support most able from disadvantaged backgrounds http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Key Finding 9: Many schools aren’t using assessment, tracking and targeting effectively with most able: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Key Finding 10: Too few schools worked with families to remove cultural/financial obstacles to HE admission http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Key Finding 11: Most 11-16 schools visited were insufficiently focused on progression to HE: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Key Finding 12: Schools’ knowledge/expertise on application to top universities not always up-to-date: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Ofsted Recommendation 1: DfE should ensure parents get annual report showing if their children are on track http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/345102728479006720

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Ofsted Recommendation 3: DfE should promote new destinations data on progression to (leading) universities: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Ofsted Recommendation 4: Schools should develop ethos so needs of most able are championed by school leaders http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Ofsted Recommendation 5: Schools should develop skills/confidence/attitudes to succeed at best universities: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Ofsted Recommendation 6: Schools should improve primary/secondary transfer and plan KS3 lessons accordingly: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Ofsted Recommendation 7: Schools should ensure work remains challenging /demanding throughout KS3: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Ofsted Recommendation 8: Senior school leaders should check mixed ability teaching is challenging enough: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Ofsted Recommendation 9: Schools should check that homework is sufficiently challenging for most able: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Ofsted Recommendation 10: Schools should give parents of more able better infromation more frequently: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Ofsted Recommendation 10 (cont) schools should raise parents’ expectations for more able where necessary: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Ofsted Recommendation 11: Schools should work with (poor) families to overcome obstacles to HE progression: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Ofsted Recommendation 12: Schools should develop more expertise to support progression to top universities: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Ofsted Recommendation 13: Schools should publish more widely a list of university destinations of students: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/345107211372093440

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Ofsted Commitment 2: Will focus inspection more on use of Pupil Premium for most able disadvantaged learners http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Ofsted Commitment 3: Will report inspection findings more clearly in school, 6th form and college reports: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

Ofsted has today called for a new progress measure from KS2 to KS4/5 for most able pupils: http://t.co/Td95IwjFIn

What the Unions think of Ofsted’s Most Able Students Report – NAHT: http://t.co/3zwKMnEJTF

What the Unions think of Ofsted’s Most Able Students Report – ASCL: http://t.co/9V18fM4eXE

What the Unions think of Ofsted’s Most Able Students Report – NUT: http://t.co/RAnjMTlSFG

What the Unions think of Ofsted’s Most Able Students Report: NASUWT – http://t.co/2w0Png0y7c

What the Unions think of Ofsted’s Most Able Students Report – Voice: http://t.co/xWRPFZK8lu

What the Unions think of Ofsted’s Most Able Students Report – ATL: http://t.co/4qVn0Ii1vR

Potential Plus (formerly NAGC) press release on Ofsted’s Most Able Pupils Report: http://t.co/7gqpdttJBz

David Laws video response to Ofsted Most Able Students response: http://t.co/9Og9iuQlLs – no new commitments

Twigg: ‘David Cameron and Michael Gove have no plan for gifted children’: http://t.co/wc8VS43rPj but no commitments

Review of today’s Ofsted report on most able by @pwatsonmontrose: http://t.co/SeMs66WQ3e (thanks for the links Patrick!)

Inspired by ASCL I’ve just checked what the 2012 KS2/4 Transition Matrices say about high attainers’ performance: http://t.co/96vG1mezxX

Apropos Ofsted’s Most Able report 2012 Transition Matrices show only 50% of KS2 L5A in Maths got GCSE A*: http://t.co/YkCno8Digi

Apropos Ofsted’s Most Able Students report 2012 Transition Matrices show only 47% of KS2 L5A in English got GCSE A*: http://t.co/YkCno8Digi

IoE reminds us that some GS have an issue with able learners (and inter-departmental variation’s also problematic): http://t.co/81S00tlnhK

Sutton Trust blog on today’s Ofsted report: http://t.co/1k0KpUAACH  still wondering when we’ll hear outcome of their own call for proposals

Skidmore thinks the answer is setting (and streaming?): http://t.co/8rTqoVPR8z  Will his Select Committee explore these issues?

RT @RealGeoffBarton: From last night: ‘Pass the G&T’: my blog on a depressing day for Ofsted and state education: http://t.co/nzC4QMpFAp

This Telegraph commentary on the ‘Most Able’ Report asks whether Gove(rnment) will step up to the challenges it poses http://t.co/uRXNxl2eF4

Standard predicts that schools will introduce predictive GCSE ‘report cards’ following yesterday’s Ofsted report: http://t.co/rK5F5k9fLb

Wilby questions evidence base behind Ofsted’s ‘Most Able’ Report but this evidence shows he hasn’t read it thoroughly http://t.co/h6RduI3O0K

Spectator insists Ofsted’s ‘Most Able’ report vindicates Govian policy: http://t.co/ZziGgqmlhQ But is the challenge/support balance optimal?

RT @federicacocco: My factcheck on evidence behind Ofsted’s latest report on bright children in Comprehensive schools http://t.co/Xvuamw1Yt3

And, further to Factcheck, this is what the fine level transition matrices tell us about high attainers’ progression http://t.co/96vG1mezxX

So What Does Gifted Mean Anyway? http://t.co/mNY6mut1Ty ID’s part of assessment; teaching to the top’s admirable and integral to ID

RT @headguruteacher: NEW POST Today: My take on the OfSTED report: The Anatomy of High Expectations http://t.co/qqvvWVgiEB

Huge thanks to everyone who promoted my megapost on Ofsted’s ‘Most Able’ Report: http://t.co/J7BTMsfGdt Especially @headguruteacher

Stephen ‘Up to two-thirds of teachers do not at heart approve of special programmes for the most able’: http://t.co/5aRjGDNYoh

Telegraph take on yesterday’s ‘Most Able’ Ofsted report: http://t.co/x51mfCwb9z  – Nothing here about supporting schools to improve

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Thematic Coverage

 

Intelligence and Neuroscience

Reasoning Training Increases Brain Connectivity Associated with High-Level Cognition by @sbkaufman: http://t.co/uJJX9XAfPG

A dose of realism over genetic selection for high IQ: http://t.co/c1ufVl1pMS

Two contrasting views of Obama’s new BRAIN initiative supporting neuroscience: http://t.co/noY9ry09by and http://t.co/bDsYRPHQ7m

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/322612090626002944

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A round-up of developments in working memory research: http://t.co/f4tlxChwxm

MT @NAGCBritain: Schooling Makes You Smarter: What teachers need to know about IQ: http://t.co/ATTRhNriT7

In Defence of Working Memory Training: http://t.co/RA0mWpzp4E

Intelligence can’t be explained by the size of one’s frontal lobes! http://t.co/41NP8kSOSJ

Yet another warning that research on the relationship between IQ and race is incendiary: http://t.co/WLMkMESmbG

Informative piece on the pernicious influence of ‘IQ fundamentalism’ in the wake of Richwine: http://t.co/CpFnGhCXx5

The impact of transcranial random noise stimulation on cognitive function: http://t.co/agCIcawpFX (I kid you not)

Intelligence as a function of other people’s perceptions: http://t.co/RSGk24ykRM

The distinctinction between intelligence and rationality: http://t.co/kUnP2az3hR

More about eugenics and cognitive genomics: http://t.co/LrMPD26kPg

Motion Filtering Ability Correlated to High IQ: http://t.co/yowFYoSObk

‘Intelligence is largely a hereditary trait’ states @toadmeister on meritocracy: http://t.co/NwxhBBmsHX That’s highly contestable

Neat post on Intelligence, Genetics and Environment drawing on Nisbett et al’s 2012 paper: http://t.co/85ocdVn46y

Eight ways of looking at intelligence: http://t.co/PQ4VzX9jU2

Redefining Intelligence: Q and A with @sbkaufman: http://t.co/utkNwRaHSG

MT @WendaSheard: An antidote to neuromyths perpetrated in K-12 ed conferences and publications. http://t.co/cMleiKfk2r

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Creativity and Innovation

Start with small steps when nurturing the next Van Gogh (about fostering creativity in learning): http://t.co/i8Q5lfpsrv

A simply outstanding piece about domain dependency and ‘epistemic chameleons’: http://t.co/wEBg595RwB

Creativity lies in combining ordinary things in extraordinary ways: http://t.co/9r8jWh9AYT

OECD post on creativity: http://t.co/eD9YygkcDo and associated Education for Innovation in Asia conference papers: http://t.co/pNSGuPKeHV

Intuition as the basis for creativity: http://t.co/fddE5v5bl1

Profiling Serial Creators by @sbkaufman http://t.co/ozUtLRwdD0

I do so agree with this dismissal of Robinson’s TED flummery: http://t.co/J9WsNqqffn  – gets far more attention than it deserves

Turning adversity into creative growth: http://t.co/U8yZya0rbD

@BSheermanMP @DrSpenny I spent some time trying to get a grip on Robinson’s take on talent: http://t.co/op4PaJF2Vq – wasn’t impressed

Does education marginalise spatial thinkers? http://t.co/7596uBqu0y

RT @HuntingEnglish: Why We Should Mistrust Ken Robinson http://t.co/iqPyBVKgCi – Glad I’m not the only one!

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Twice-exceptional

The Invisible Side of ‘Special Needs’ Gifted Students: http://t.co/VDzO4Bhgpt

Twice-Exceptional: When Exceptions are the Norm: http://t.co/55szvEVsca

Belin-Blank presentation on Parenting Twice-Exceptional Children: http://t.co/6bPRNeNX9f

Belin-Blank has funding from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to support twice-exceptional students: http://t.co/7eUZ1GKDhM

Twice-exceptional, from an Indian perspective: http://t.co/Vxd8UXnhYy

Raising the Autistic Gifted Child: http://t.co/zYvUgg9Zz8

Belin-Blank on twice-exceptionality: http://t.co/M6gIucLSqv  featuring their resources

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Gifted Research

You can access this morming’s study of ability grouping and summer born children here: http://t.co/kIgY8ZgVm8  (link at bottom)

Here’s the associated IoE press release about the MCS ability grouping and summer born children paper: http://t.co/ODOkRyJ1mR

Research showing gender differences largest in maths but smallest in reading amongst high attainers http://t.co/BVdSoqSDQL

Brown Center pieces on the incidence of ability grouping and tracking and advanced 8th Grade maths courses: http://t.co/xkRjC49dVf

Elite Athletes Also Excel at Some Cognitive Tasks: http://t.co/UzcWxtBLZv

Why Gifted Low Income Students Don’t Go To the Best Colleges: http://t.co/IIq6o1viJl

School makes you smarter: http://t.co/iKQ91VSJNg

Defining Mathematical Giftedness in Elementary School Settings: http://t.co/Kx51V6bPfO

US follow-up study finds similar academic growth rates for high-achieving students at high and low income schools: http://t.co/j8N4IbAiL5

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/317196072705478656

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How important is maths ability for scientific success? http://t.co/IgfDfVviwI

Brand spanking new post on The Limited Accessibility of Gifted Education Research: http://t.co/joOIDs23dJ

More on Wai’s study on the relationship between wealth and ability: http://t.co/ry5c1QQZxX

So much for 10,000 hours of deliberate practice: http://t.co/SnRXDKtC7S – hard work doesn’t deliver for everyone

The Complexity of Greatness (including more about deliberate practice) from @sbkaufman: http://t.co/OKoEbwKLdg

Are gender differences increasing in mathematical ability at the upper end? http://t.co/uK06d8JKNp

Interesting piece of open access research (hooray) on Renzulli Learning: http://t.co/YEhLzFpmBO Relevant to other providers

2 Indian publications: Introductory Reading on Giftedness in Children http://t.co/dr1UPJOp4B Case Profiles http://t.co/Lql3tnP7YV

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Gifted Commentary

 

Gifted Phoenix

A huge(ly ambitious) new blogpost: The Economics of Gifted Education Revisited: http://t.co/jaiOGpmi15

@jakeanders @drbeckyallen What did you make of http://t.co/jaiOGpmi15 – What prospect of serious analysis of smart fraction from your ilk?

The @GiftedPhoenix Manifesto for Gifted Education: http://t.co/7a1Fhr99uK

MT @peter_lydon: The most important statement on Gifted education this year  http://t.co/DhOTt7Ee61 I’m seriously flattered. Thanks!

Peter Lydon blogs on (and reproduces) The Gifted Phoenix Manifesto for Gifted Education: http://t.co/DhOTt7Ee61

RT @peter_lydon: Special #gtie Chat on Sunday 9pm GMT ‘The Gifted Phoenix Manifesto for Gifted Education’. http://t.co/DhOTt7Ee61

Explore The Gifted Phoenix Manifesto for Gifted Education via #gtie at 21.00GMT on Sunday 24 March: http://t.co/FqKGNOvNM0

Here’s a selective, reordered Storify transcript of last night’s #gtie chat on the Gifted Phoenix Manifesto: http://t.co/UppAtGsjum

I’ve also included some tweets in the Gifted Phoenix Manifesto post, to give the flavour of #gtie discussion http://t.co/FqKGNOvNM0

Fascinating and troubling equally that positive reaction to my Gifted Manifesto is all from outside the UK! http://t.co/7a1Fhr99uK

Planning a 16-19 maths free school? Want to know more about the KCL or Exeter projects? Here’s some essential reading http://t.co/UQDNCNXwuX

GEI has now published the dialogue between Barry Hymer and yours truly (£) but original on my blog): http://t.co/dypWHntkp9

This first post in my new ‘Summer of Love’ series is mainly about Key Stage 2 Level 6 tests: http://t.co/EWOMHD0sql

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/336915540188725248

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My new post is a transatlantic exploration of support for high-ability low-income learners building on US NAGC’s work http://t.co/XREYgg8bmO

My new post on Indian Gifted Education: http://t.co/TWgmrtPQLu

I’ve finalised my brief post of yesterday about the future of Dux Awards, now renamed Future Scholar Awards http://t.co/krPc7Uweo4

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Twitter Chats

MT @gtchatmod: #gtchat transcript: Coping When Extended Family Doesn’t Get Giftedness http://t.co/92FJzIaS4O

MT @gtchatmod: Storify transcript of #gtchat: Book Lists for Gifted Learners http://t.co/AmZSlPbwrM

RT @gtchatmod: “Do gifted learners think differently?” will be our #gtchat topic Friday @11PM UK http://t.co/Iqo1hvXFDF

MT @gtchatmod: Storify record of last night’s #gtchat: Do gifted learners think differently? http://t.co/AMhVQbF3lB

MT @gtchatmod: Storify transcript of last night’s #gtchat: The Value of Twitter Chats http://t.co/YliKuZ4nUq

MT @gtchatmod: Storify transcript of last night’s #gtchat: Organising the Gifted Learner http://t.co/VwhdUgDjq9

Transcripts of yesterday’s #gtchats: http://t.co/Uv1fLChSI2 and http://t.co/Ibw8nF6VAS

Transcript of last week’s #gtchat on Teaching Strategies for Underachievers: http://t.co/9xukcShsn7

MT @gtchatmod: New post: “The Misdiagnosis Initiative: An Interview with Dr. James Webb” http://t.co/cyPHeWakeC

RT @gtchatmod: Transcript for “Asynchronous Transitioning to Adulthood” now available @ #gtchat blog. http://t.co/luHZLW1uTx

RT @gtchatmod: Transcript for Supporting Exhausted Parents of Gifted Children? now available @ #gtchat blog http://t.co/09wdOxNKpd

MT @gtchatmod: Transcript from 5pm 28 June #gtchat on ‘Rigour’ now available at http://t.co/yuu0JRScDp

RT @gtchatmod: “A Multi-Talent’s Growth with Dr. Edith Johnston” New post on #gtchat Blog! http://t.co/QVpHuENlxm

MT @Frazzlld: Transcript from tonight’s #gtie chat (March 3): http://t.co/Ot8gjKSJDL

MT @Frazzlld: Thanks, everyone, for a great #gtie chat. Here’s “The Trouble With Boys” transcript: http://t.co/QIMghMo2B3

Transcripts of recent #gtie chats on Gifted Support Groups: http://t.co/owAyU1gRV3  and http://t.co/Oa3r8h1uz4

RT @GTNIrl: Support for Teachers of Gifted Students (#gtie transcript) http://t.co/3H6KCk1GoO

MT @CatherinaFisher: For those who missed #gtie chat on Sunday: Social Media and Gifted Education Awareness http://t.co/2DoNvQq4Kk

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Other Posts

RT @ljconrad: New post @GPS, “Preaching to the Choir: They Need to Hear the Message, Too!” http://t.co/FQ96YvmRji

MT @ljconrad: “Best Practices in Gifted Parenting” is my new post @Gifted Parenting Support http://t.co/ikxXwjd6VR

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/305325059839508480

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Social Challenges of Gifted Adolescents: http://t.co/ef1N0sQtOO

Sorry but…Your Exceptional Child Might Not Be Gifted: http://t.co/1P6UP7qIkF

‘Studying to be Gifted’: http://t.co/1vf7yJcyxL

Gifted Kid Syndrome: http://t.co/RUOCqKbjt0 – I really like the directness of this; others won’t

How to create a science prodigy (from @JonathanLWai): http://t.co/HuOyAaf3qA

Gifted Children: Skipping Grades: http://t.co/1Gv5quZ9Va

Never trust a journalist who puts the word gifted in quotation marks: http://t.co/qOihMCcf43

The Lowest Common Denominator: http://t.co/t6YMu3kLqK

MT @ljconrad: The Socialization Question, Homeschooled and Gifted Children: http://t.co/bUzKjneASS

Giftedness should not be confused with mental disorder: http://t.co/tQSZ34XCqJ

Using the ‘G word’ with kids: http://t.co/bwx1Dh4eco

(More on) Gifted and Racially Balanced Education: http://t.co/IJTYtNxLcq

Giftedness and Non-Conformity: http://t.co/acTmwyby5Z – Reading that is just like looking in the mirror

Transcending Race in Gifted Programs: Are We There Yet? http://t.co/WvBKX9p6cw

Do Schools for the Gifted Promote Segregation? (I refuse to adopt the quotation marks): http://t.co/L84DUSOGHg

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/315392301260226560

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MT @karlaarcher: “Giftedness and Boredom, Part Two: Tackling the Issue Head On”  http://t.co/QfIy3BIfxD

MT @ljconrad: “An Educational Paradigm Shift for Low-Income Gifted Students” http://t.co/3XakgtI3uG

Your Child is Gifted: A Parent’s Reaction: http://t.co/O2u1KeMqDl

Do GATE Programmes Take Resources Away From Needier Students? http://t.co/NCORWJIoEc

“Live life to the fullest and rejoice in your moments of triumph because you are the best you there will ever be”: http://t.co/Cj2VWax1g9

Why is it challenging to be challenged in public schools? http://t.co/waaJKkl5qb

Gifted Doesn’t Equal Segregation: http://t.co/jpDUKhzeUd

The Misunderstood Face of Giftedness: http://t.co/c92FH39d6p

Harnessing the power of social media to advocate for gifted education: http://t.co/5ETcVaf97x

What Does ‘Gifted’ Look Like? http://t.co/HJEzyF121X

Australian opinion piece on gifted learners: http://t.co/28mAFmCb50 – has more than a whiff of suspect old-fogeydom

Choosing the right college for gifted students: http://t.co/tNwYKlypRq – much wisdom in this post

Why isn’t my child as clever as me? http://t.co/fzjeIe3jAT – nice counterbalance to parents worried about the reverse scenario

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/326944367350800384

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Gifted children need help too: http://t.co/x85YbzXqSe  – a piece from South Dakota

We mustn’t neglect gifted students: http://t.co/CAVe77l4dc  – a call to arms by P O-K and the Tennessee Association

The illusion of the gifted child: http://t.co/mUFbVOL9h8  – is actually about ways of improving gifted education

Gifted Children…how can we start? http://t.co/7ZsDhLWO0x  – A blogpost from Mexico

MT @BYOTNetwork: BYOT in the Gifted Classroom: A Perfect Fit! Guest post by @abkeyser http://t.co/vxk7T9waem

Does the gifted label help or harm? An ongoing conversation on Reddit: http://t.co/yHnzfM2heS

More gifted myth debunking: http://t.co/ToGoV4mzb9

Cretal reports back to Planet Zoran on Earth’s approach to education (courtesy of @sbkaufman): http://t.co/9MLFIAO9vm

Changing the label on gifted programmes: http://t.co/PzibyqZyCT – the pros and cons

The Grown-up Gifted Child: http://t.co/I2oLmUstEU

20 Reasons why it’s Awesome Growing Up Gifted: http://t.co/SN61yShixU

Problem-based learning and gifted students (from CTD): http://t.co/uBGxg98YMk

Paula O-K on flexible ability grouping: http://t.co/2MljhIIxlM

Making Room for Talent: http://t.co/tqbedBHg3q

Sharing the Gifted and Talented Curriculum: http://t.co/qHTqcIKbEb

The gifted child’s lament: How to adjust to an unjust world: http://t.co/LLqHHFUu7w

Is Talent a Defunct Concept? http://t.co/zC8axv2AvZ – Some would have you believe so but it’s more complex than that

Is divergent thinking valued in your gifted child’s classroom? http://t.co/smIwhKzZ7m

How parents can challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about giftedness: http://t.co/fs9DuiYE0W Have problems with para 3

Some teacher appreciation from Unwrapping the Gifted: http://t.co/1ZoAe1Es9d

RT @Begabungs: Day 1 – Gifted Awareness Week in Germany 3rd-9th June 2013 http://t.co/yPlDIxfYt9

Pros and cons of pull-out versus in-school enrichment: http://t.co/E1PgcPmGkT

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/343298853140828160

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The Matthew Effect in Educational Technology: http://t.co/NuZWT3OdJu (including an aside about identifying gifted learners)

RT @Begabungs: Interview with Prof. James Webb (USA) http://t.co/0R1SiLioLf

Social Development of Gifted Children: http://t.co/MAiv80JmFw – Highly recommended (because I agree with the analysis)

The Dichotomies of Giftedness: http://t.co/EzY5U47yyr

RT @ljconrad: New post at Gifted Parenting Support, “Are You Nurturing Your Gifted Child?” http://t.co/ZK1PYP2fww

The Parent Challenge (NZGAW contribution from @Dazzlld and @Frazzlld): http://t.co/eO8QlGPh4J

@donnayford Hi Donna. Do you now advocate selection/ID solely on the basis of attainment? This made sense to me: http://t.co/fr0lmTHnpn

What to say to your gifted child about being gifted: http://t.co/WlPmoybuM0

How best are the gifted lifted? Lots of common sense in this post: http://t.co/NBorF6LUDa

24/7 Challenge (for NZ Gifted Awareness Week): http://t.co/EIro3ThjYR

Debate on Ofsted’s Most Able Report has resonance in US and worldwide http://t.co/hXV1hIksb5  – kudos to @ljconrad (and Tom Bennett)

Advocacy Versus Curriculum: http://t.co/BUFvLK636I

‘G is for Gifted and that’s good enough for me’: http://t.co/eJ0nwH6xgJ

RT @ljconrad: New post at GPS: “The High Ability – Gifted Conundrum” http://t.co/1wlBx0BH9u

The contribution that chess can make to gifted education (from NZGAW): http://t.co/5uK6olCNlU

Stop underestimating children: http://t.co/AVx7CFz503

The gift of independent learning projects: http://t.co/QQ1cPMpoE4

Is Your Child Ungifted? by @sbkaufman – Required reading for all gifted advocates: http://t.co/LGryTncjPo

RT @peter_lydon: Are you a gifted advocate? Add your name http://t.co/dk57ygQFJ0 Find other tweeps http://t.co/Cc06yCYZjq

Choosing Your Battles (from NZGAW): http://t.co/0LFJaaMjG0 – Messages for the NZ Government and Ministry of Education

Differentiating Homework for Gifted Students (from NZGAW): http://t.co/mUDuBedsys

Giftedness in our classrooms – removing the ceiling- an Iowa perspective: http://t.co/qCFbXME2Ve

My Gifted Education Soapbox: http://t.co/SpFpDAvc7M

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https://twitter.com/GiftedPhoenix/status/352315292627632128

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Hochbegabtenforderung an Schulen mittels Blended Learning: http://t.co/Q5kNpP8llU

RT @jtoufi: Es posible un sistema educativo orientado al desarrollo del talento? http://t.co/zyQWtlUHPR

RT @jtoufi: Promover el talento en Europa: White paper from Austria http://t.co/qOdbg5XJnT

RT @jtoufi: Francoys Gagne en My Friends’ corner http://t.co/eQEjzoOng7

Joseph Renzulli en My friends’ corner: http://t.co/PqIIXbW04k

RT @jtoufi: Karen Rogers en My Friends’ corner http://t.co/2HWZU3fGi5

RT @jtoufi: Rena Subotnik, Paula Olszewski-Kubilius y Frank Worrell en My Friends’ corner http://t.co/GaXvzd48qN

MT @jtoufi: Diane Montgomery en My Friends’ corner http://t.co/zoaQPp9a4Z (that’s the English DM by the way)

RT @jtoufi: Que pasa en el mundo con la atencion al desarrollo de los más capaces? http://t.co/GtZRlHqRUd

RT @jtoufi: Es tiempo reconstruir la educacion que queremos: Talento, Escuela, Tecnologia http://t.co/f8z44G5AJk

RT @jtoufi: Transforma Talento: un informe que hay que leer http://t.co/3wrnsRdXeo

RT @jtoufi: El Estado de la Nacion: o de como tomarse en serio el desarrollo del talento! http://t.co/RPJnK83Acp

RT @jtoufi: Diferenciacion del curriculo y la instruccion. La NAGC nos lo cuenta http://t.co/5J2erRhNtf

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