QCA have published their annual report on ICT (and other subjects) as part of their “monitoring the curriculum” exercise. The outputs from this report will (or at least should) influence their review of the secondary curriculum. The report formed part of the basis of this BBC article
Some key points in my reading of the report:
The aims of the national curriculum:
- There is a clear recognition (by schools) of the potential of ICT to help develop pupils’ enjoyment of, and commitment to, learning.
- Almost half of year 8 said that they enjoyed ICT compared with only 14 per cent who said that they disliked it.
- More than a quarter of teacher disagree that the PoS ‘helps give pupils the opportunity to be creative, innovative and enterprising’ supporting previous findings that a significant amount of ICT learning and teaching continues to focus on elementary application of basic skills.
- QCA believes that there are enormous possibilities in ICT for creativity, enquiry and innovation and the secondary curriculum review has enabled us to bring this to the forefront in the ICT programme of study (PoS). However, there may be additional barriers to using ICT in this way in schools and this needs further investigation.
- There is work still to be done to assist teachers with assessing ICT. Schools say they need teacher assessment guidelines/materials for assessing pupils’ progress and continued professional development.
- QCA has recommended that the on-screen key stage 3 test should be rolled out on a non-statutory basis, but will work to develop the test as a formative assessment tool to support teaching and learning.
- In the survey of year 8 pupils, nearly a third of pupils felt that the level of ICT work they were being given was too easy.
Questions particular to ICT
- There remains a lack of consistency and coherence in the ICT qualifications currently on offer, which is unhelpful for users and employers.
- Although uptake of ICT qualifications continues to rise, enquiries to QCA indicate that for some schools the choice of qualification is made on the basis of points for league tables rather than on the appropriateness of the qualification to the learner.
- QCA has commissioned an in-depth research probe into the qualifications offered in schools and the progression routes offered post-16. For example, if, at A level, more than 45 per cent of pupils are deciding not to continue with ICT at A2 because of their poor results at AS, it would be useful to find out the prior qualifications of those pupils who decide not to continue or whether there are other factors involved.