Reframing and a timeline!

26 June 2007

Following on from my tutorial at NTU I took the landscape to my ‘external advisor’, Peter Twining (of Schome fame). We spent an hour and a half in heated discussion. Heated to the extent that my brain fried but all very amicable! The outcomes were firstly a re-framing of my thoughts – and probably of my aims although that can wait for a while, and secondly a timeline for the project.

What emerged was a clarity of vision: I am looking at

A how year 11 students perceive ICT capability and
B how the assessment system (at 16) perceives it.

My project is to define the difference between A and B and to suggest ways in which the two may be aligned. This latter point, of a PhD thesis making recommendations, is one of the doctoral level learning outcomes that I hadn’t really paid attention to. Actually I hadn’t come across any of these outcomes before this month… I’ll post something about them if I can find an electronic copy or time to type them up!

I also came away with a timeline. The literature review that have embarked on will need to give way to a finding my way to a suitable methodology. This will require a change of focus of reading to look more at the methodology and methods I wish to adopt so that I may collect data in the coming academic year. Part of this discussion will be to look at the literature around ascertaining student’s perceptions and gathering the student voice.

I will also need to consider the impact of eliciting views from students in school situations as opposed to outside school. The choice of data collection instruments will also be subject to discussion – will interviews suffice, or will observation of their capability be necessary. It is likely that a piloting of a range of tools will be needed with a fuller data collection in 2008/09.

This data collection, together with the literature review, will yield information about A above. Further review of the literature, this time on policy, together with examination of assessment materials (exams, coursework assignments), will yield information on B and reveal the differences between them. This will then lead to the recommendation phase.

A rough timeline has been developed (click image to see it full size):


Whither my landscape in this simplified model? The landscape had four features – assessment, learning, policy and technology. These may be seen in the model, I believe:

  • assessment is in A and B
  • learning is in A
  • policy is in B
  • technology is in A and B

PDPs, training and support for research degree students – the Anglia model

19 June 2007

My previous post was with Anglia Polytechnic (now Anglia Ruskin) University. While there I served on the Education Faculty’s research degrees committee (RDC) and also attended the University RDC. One of the things that I was involved in was early steps to develop the use of personal development planning (PDP) tools.  It is interesting to revisit this two years later on their website “Planning your research training”

I was reminded of this by discussions at the PhD supervisors’ course at my current employer (Nottingham Trent University). There is a need for us to look at this aspect of PhD support and guidance we felt.

The APU (ARU) materials came were stimulated by papers from UKGrad. Their website contains a PDP database that lists many other case studies on the development of such support and training.

General Teaching Council report calls for no school tests for under-16s

11 June 2007

Call to ban all school tests for under-16s | UK News | The Observer (10 June 2007)

“All national exams should be abolished for children under 16 because the stress caused by over-testing is poisoning attitudes towards education, according to an influential teaching body.

In a remarkable attack on the government’s policy of rolling national testing of children from the age of seven, the General Teaching Council is calling for a ‘fundamental and urgent review of the testing regime’. In a report it says exams are failing to improve standards, leaving pupils demotivated and stressed and encouraging bored teenagers to drop out of school.”

Demotivation, stress and, crucially for my work , poisoned attitudes. Will year 11s thoughts on the validity of assessment at 16 be coloured by their experience of testing (and other assessment) pre-16. Fairly inevitable I should think…

Innovate – NetGeneration

6 June 2007

Innovate – June/July 2007 Volume 3, Issue 5

The latest issue of the online journal has more articles on the “Net generation”.  Of particular interest, perhaps is the small scale ethnographic research of Lohnes and Kinzer who  found that college students still see education as being about face to face contact with teachers even thought they see ICT-mediated commuication tools as essential parts of their everyday lives.