QCA review of the National Curriculum

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) have published the draft of the new National Curriculum (NC) for secondary schools in England. This contains slimmed down programmes of study for all subjects (although ICT was always fairly slim). It also contains a section on the way in which ICT as a functional skill across the curriculum might be specified – and maps this to the subject ICT. This seems an odd mapping in many ways, as both sides of the reationship could be interchanged.

Also of note is the section on assessment strategies. These include some clear guidance on not just relying  the test at the end. I wonder how this will actually pan out at Key Stage 4 (14-16 year olds). Will schools stop entering all and sundry for a full blown level 2 qualification in ICT? Will the functional skills and some assesement of ICT use against KS4 criteria be enough? Or is this too obscure to be bothered with. What will the reporting requirements be for ICT at KS4? It is one of few subjects left in the NC at this level.

There is abother aspect of assesment that caught my eye on first read (and how much harder is a website than a set of printed documents to read!?!) . This was to do with taking a range of evidence

It does mean that more of what learners ordinarily do and know in the classroom is taken into account when teachers come to make a periodic assessment of learners’ progress at the end of term or half-year. For example, all teachers are continually making small-scale judgements about learners’ progress, achievements or the support they require when, over a number of lessons, they are reading or writing a lengthy text, planning and revising a design brief, or researching a historical figure in books or online. Such knowledge tends to be overlooked when only the final outcome, artefact or test is assessed, but it can make a vital contribution to periodic assessment.

What about what learners “ordinarily do” outside the classroom?

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3 Responses to QCA review of the National Curriculum

  1. Gina says:

    I tried to read some of the docs you have linked here because it’s genuinely interesting to me -unfortunately I lost the will to live whenever I tried – it reminded me too much of all the reading I had to do as a teacher. Ha!

    Your question about what learners do outside the classroom is pertinent – I read only this morning my colleague Dereks’ blog entry regarding a recent report on the US education system – worth a look – it’s not directly about ICT but it addresses how outdated the approach can be – this to me is connected with the disparity between what kids do outside the classroom with technology and what they do with technology in it.

  2. petebradshaw says:

    Thanks Gina. I like Derek’s summary

    Two things that kept re-surfacing in the report for me were:

    * focus on creativity and innovation – this comes through as one of the critical elements of the future education process, and to be achieved will require considerable change to our recruitment of teachers, engagement of students, and assessment processes. The report refers to the need for leadership that… “depends on a deep vein of creativity that is constantly renewing itself.”

    * the importance of work-place training – constant reference is made to the fact that most of our workforce, including teachers, who will be there over the next 10 years are already there – so attention to what happens at the school level is only part of the story. There needs to be a greater emphasis on the provision of continuing education for those already in the workplace, and the funding and support models to underpin this.

    These two are two of the veins that pulse through the new QCA documents. “Creativity” is one of the four ‘dimensions’. “Real and authentic learning” is one of the standout statements in the document – this resonates with work-place training for me. Although the latter isn’t the only answer to the former. Work-based training also enables some of the personal, learning and thinking skills (PLTS), helps with the Enterprise dimension, and is central to the development of employer-specified functional skills, such as ICT.

  3. petebradshaw says:

    I discussed this with my students today. The thing that struck us (in addition to the above) was the pre-eminence of collaboration in learning. Hurrah!

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