QCA annual report on ICT for 2005/06

25 March 2007

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.

Assessment

  • 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.

QCA review of the National Curriculum

6 February 2007

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?