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Archive for the 'Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment' Category

Schools urgently need to tackle rape culture by educating pupils about online world

Blog Editor, IOE Digital12 April 2021

Lopolo/Shutterstock

Tanya Horeck, Jessica Ringrose, and Kaitlynn Mendes.

After weeks of national discussions about women and girls’ safety, the term “rape culture” has made headlines again. This time it relates to widespread reports of sexual violence against teenagers in secondary education, some of which include Britain’s most prestigious fee-paying schools.

The revelations came after Everyone’s Invited, a website and Instagram page dedicated to giving students a platform to report cases of sexual abuse and harassment, became inundated with testimonies in recent days.

Many girls who’ve spoken up have demanded that sexual violence and gender inequality be openly discussed and tackled by school leaders, while MPs have called for an inquiry. Yet it seems there’s an emerging argument (more…)

Has a GCSE grade C/4 lost its value? Actually, quite a bit

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 March 2021

John Jerrim.

With exams cancelled again in 2021, concerns have resurfaced over potential rampant “grade inflation”. Many saw this as a perennial problem throughout the nineties and noughties as GCSE and A-Level pass-marks went up year-upon-year. When the Conservatives came to power in 2010, it was something they vowed to end.

Indeed, some argued it was this obsession, over avoiding grade inflation and maintaining standards, that led to the disaster we saw with the awarding of examination grades last summer.

But how have GCSE standards really changed over time? This blog takes a look. (more…)

Exams: changing the rules of the game while you are playing will not rebuild trust

Blog Editor, IOE Digital26 February 2021

Melanie Ehren.

In December last year, Ofqual announced a new expert group to rebuild trust in the exam system. The group is to look into how data on schools’ and students’ performance could be “better and more widely shared”, thereby prising open the box of secrets containing the data and processes that drive the awarding of exam grades.

The group’s appointment could not come at a better time; Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has since announced that teachers’ estimated grades will replace cancelled GCSEs and A-levels in England this summer, saying that he would “trust in teachers rather than algorithms”, a reference to last year’s exams U-turn. Today, Government announced new plans for teacher assessed GCSEs, AS and A levels which will include a series of ‘mini-exams’.

But is this alternative approach the best way forward to rebuild trust in exams? Or do we need a wider set of strategies?

To answer the question, we first look at whose trust needs to be rebuilt. (more…)

Will the DFE’s new Institute reflect what teachers need to learn?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital27 January 2021

klimkin / Pixabay

John White.

This month, the Department for Education (DFE) announced that a new Institute for Teaching will be set up in England ‘to provide teachers and school leaders with prestigious training and development throughout their career’. It ‘will become England’s flagship teacher training and development provider, showcasing exemplary development of the Government’s ambitious reforms.’

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said that the new Institute will equip all teachers to deliver an education combining ‘high standards of pupil behaviour and discipline with a broad knowledge-based’ curriculum. He added that the Institute, whose work will begin in September 2022 will add ‘diversity and innovation to the existing teacher development market.’

I don’t imagine that this is a belated response to remarks made by HMCI Amanda Spielman in her 2017 (more…)

A-level and GCSE cancellation: a missed opportunity to rethink assessment

Blog Editor, IOE Digital11 January 2021

Lincoln Beddoe/Shutterstock

Mary Richardson.

GCSE and A-level exams in England have been cancelled, opening the door to a repeat of the confusion that marked the award of grades in 2020.

The cancellation of exams in March 2020 in England was followed by the realisation that an algorithm created to moderate the data provided by schools had led to significant reduction in final grades for many thousands of students. This debacle led to a crisis in public trust in national testing systems in England.

The students most likely to be disadvantaged by this method of grade awarding were from the poorest backgrounds. Within a few days of the results being announced, the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin (more…)

How should we assess school students now that exams have been cancelled?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital8 January 2021

Jake Anders, Lindsey Macmillan, Gill Wyness, Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities

This article was originally published by Economics Observatory

To avoid a repeat of last summer’s exam chaos, the government must decide quickly on alternative assessment measures. There is a strong case for A-level students to receive in-class testing – with flexible timing and content – to take account of differences in their learning experiences.

While the uncertainties of a global pandemic make this one of the most volatile periods of education policy in history, if there is one lesson we should all have learned since last March, it is that indecision is costly. This has proved true repeatedly for public health and looks just as relevant for education.

As we saw with last summer’s exam fiasco, the failure to act decisively led to there being little alternative but to (more…)

A Covid generation: who are the winners and losers of a disrupted school year?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital7 January 2021

PIRO4D / Pixabay

Melanie Ehren, Martijn Meeter and Anne Fleur Kortekaas.

The term ‘Covid generation’ has become the new buzz word to refer to children and adolescents under 20 who are affected by school closures and other disruptions.

A report by UNICEF estimates that globally, more than 570 million students – 33 per cent of all enrolled students worldwide –were affected by country-wide school closures in 30 nations as of November 2020. They will have had varying access to remote and online teaching during these closures, and many students from disadvantaged backgrounds will have had little to no learning.

Some believe the lost learning of this generation will have a detrimental effect on the rest of their school and employment careers. This phenomenon is called the ‘Matthew effect’, after the Evangelist’s saying that “For whoever has, to him shall be given […] but whoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has”: (more…)

‘We never stop learning through play, we just stop teaching through play’

Blog Editor, IOE Digital6 January 2021

IOE Events.

From rule-bound games to unstructured exploration, play brings us a lot of satisfaction. Its powers are increasingly recognised in the world of work. But it remains the ‘poor relation’ in our education system, certainly beyond the early years phase.

To assess whether we’ve got that right for our older learners, our final ‘What If…’ debate of 2020 drew on a diverse set of expertise in the form of cognitive scientist Dr Sara Baker (Cambridge University); director of evidence, Tom McBride (Early Intervention Foundation); author Michael Rosen; and former computer science teacher and play-based learning expert, Shahneila Saeed (Ukie). You can read more about our panellists here.

It seems that play is one of those rare examples of something that is both enjoyable and good for us – the equivalent of chocolate flavoured broccoli, (more…)

What’s behind the headlines? Exploring another round of international league tables

Blog Editor, IOE Digital8 December 2020

Tina Isaacs, Mary Richardson and  Jennie Golding.

Reports from the latest round of international testing – the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), published today, will provide much material for study over the coming months and years. Now in its seventh four-yearly cycle, TIMSS tests 10 and 14-year-olds – in England, pupils in years 5 and 9 – in maths and science knowledge and understanding. It also gathers information on pupils’ school and home contexts.

It is this combination of data that could help us understand how to improve teaching and learning for those groups – often disadvantaged – that are doing less well than others.

In 2019, 64 countries and eight benchmarking systems participated, with over 580,000 pupils tested. We co-wrote the report for England (PDF), which was published today.

Overall, England’s pupils did pretty well –  eighth out of 58 countries for year 5 maths; 13th out of 39 (more…)

Why we should care about international tests

Blog Editor, IOE Digital7 December 2020

Mary Richardson and Tina Isaacs.

Governments around the world now agree that international comparisons of educational achievement are something to value. They provide extra data to enhance policy-making and practice. In fact, pupils in more than half of all the countries across the globe take part in international large-scale assessments (ILSAs) such as PISA, and the involvement of the majority of the world’s most advanced economies assures their continued popularity.

Tomorrow sees the publication of  results from one of these programmes, and this country’s will appear in the TIMSS National Report for England (The Trends in International Maths and Science Study compares children’s knowledge at ages 10 and 14). Much excitement always accompanies the publication of the international and national reports for the ILSAs because each participating country wants to know where it features in what are essentially global education league tables.

In taking part in ILSAs carried out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (PISA) and the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (TIMSS and PIRLS), countries are acknowledging that knowledge and skills – human capital – are strategic resources (more…)