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You Shouldn’t Ask Teachers to Judge Themselves #ThursdayThunk

Following on from the HTRT Think Tank, we’re pulling together a number of policy ideas around accountability.  The use of teacher assessments as a means of holding schools accountable is proving rather a thorny issue.

Photo Credit: Gian Luigi Perrella via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Gian Luigi Perrella via Flickr cc

Reflecting on the very positive writing results at Key Stage 2, Michael Tidd in his article, ‘The Sats results show that either we were all complaining unnecessarily or we’ve somehow found a way to cheat the system’, raises concerns about the Teacher Assessed scores particularly the use of, “overly-structured tasks, repeated redrafting and guidance, or further stretching of the rules around independence”.  Rumours of over inflated scores in schools that were moderated are nothing compared to what people think might be happening in schools who weren’t moderated this year.  As for Teacher Assessment of Science, don’t even go there.

As an accountability measure the use of Teacher Assessment is problematic.  With the best will in the World, if my pay depended on the outcome of these results I would tend towards leniency in my marking at the very least.  In a high stakes accountability culture where a school is at risk of going in a category the pressure on a teacher, either self-imposed or from senior leaders, could be irresistible.

In the best traditions of crowd sourcing policy, do you think it is sensible, fair and appropriate that we continue to collect teacher assessment data as a part of the accountability system?  Should we just report teacher assessments to parents or is it time to get rid of them all together in favour of reporting to parents what a pupil can do and what s/he should focus on to improve her/his writing.  For clarity I’m referring to Key Stage 1 Teacher Assessments and Writing at Key Stage 2.

Another major area of discussion is the effect that the tests, in Years 2 & 6, have on narrowing the curriculum.  One suggestion is to introduce a primary version of the National Reference Test, to monitor any changes in standards over time.  The Secretary of State for Education would be held responsible for changes in standards nationally rather than individual schools.  This could be another test within the primary phase or could be instead of one of the current sets of tests.  More controversially some suggest moving primary accountability test Year 4 with catch up tests for pupils who fell below a standard in Years 5 & 6.  Thoughts please.

After Brexit I feel the following disclaimer is required; this vote is advisory and won’t necessarily be included in the Headteachers’ Roundtable Alternative White Paper but we are interested in what you think.

Special thanks to Dr Becky Allen and Dave Thomson of Education Datalab for advising and pushing our thinking forward.

#ThursdayThunk is based on something I’ve been thinking about, discussing, working on or has been topical that week.  The thunk is designed to be bite sized and will deliberately be kept short.  It will take one small issue or an aspect of something much bigger.  The intention is for it to be read in two/three minutes as you’re busy running around at the end of the week or relaxing on your day off.



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