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Too much testing, too little learning


Too much testing, too little learning getting the balance right Tim Oates Group Director Assessment Research & Development – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Too much testing, too little learning

Too much testing, too little learning getting
the balance right
  • Tim Oates
  • Group Director
  • Assessment Research Development

Criteria relating to assessment Cambridge
Approach Reliable consistent measurement Valid
measures precisely what it claims to
measure Sound construct base measures something
consistent with curriculum aims Consequential
validity the uses to which the assessment is put
are technically and ethically sound Beneficial
impact the full range of effects are beneficial
Utility cost, resource  
Problems in UK assessment Underdeveloped
formative assessment Assessment dominating
curriculum thinking Relentless transformation
into high stakes Creep in function Escalation of
8-cambridge-approach.pdf Or google Cambridge
Assessment Cambridge Approach
In assessment, the concept of construct is
vital Multiply three digit numbers Understands
and is inventive with metaphor Reads a wide range
of books for pleasure Diffusion across a
membrane Understand the concept of percentage and
calculate pc Use the concept of inequality to
analyse social relations Understands conservation
of mass Measures accurately to quantify
oxidation Verbal reasoning Externalising
behaviour Diagnoses malignant melanoma Lands with
one engine on fire and undercart locked in up
Distributing responsibility for producing public
goods of education
  • Discipline-specific knowledge, skills and
    understanding in broad range of disciplines
  • Orientation to learning, learning to learn
  • Physical and mental well-being
  • Personal and social identity
  • Personal capitals (Bynner et al)
  • Social capitals (Schuller et al)
  • Cultural capitals
  • Moral, civic and political understanding,
    including international awareness
  • Facility in technology

Distributing production of public goods across
the key elements of the curriculum
  • Taught curriculum subjects
  • Taught curriculum cross curriculum elements
  • Taught curriculum extra-curriculum elements
  • Extra-curriculum elements guided (school trips
    etc) and unguided (student clubs etc)
  • Institutional participation student councils
    etc, learner voice
  • Support elements IAG etc
  • Ethos values and value-driven practices
  • Culture lived experience of the institution

Distributing responsibility for different facets
of the curriculum
  • Aims Central Government
  • Content Government Agency (eg Ofsted)
  • Pedagogy Local Government/intermediate
  • Assessment Governing Bodies
  • Evaluation Head teachers
  • Middle tier management
  • Teachers and assistants
  • Other staff
  • Pupils
  • Parents
  • Other organisations health organisations,
    police etc
  • Exam boards and assessment organisations

  • High Expectations
  • Low Support High Support
  • Low Expectations

The Zeitgeist and context in 2007
  • Performativity culture increasing elaboration
    of accountability measures refinement and
  • High support and high expectations
  • Very high level of centralised innovation and
    direction through non-statutory instruments
  • Constant underlying shift in the locus of control
  • A reduction of curriculum thinking to
    qualifications thinking syllabus to
    specification assessment begins to dominate

You need restriction in any system, and some have
improved by carefully locating restriction in the
right place (eg selection to teacher training in
Finland, plus dirigiste implementation of
comprehensive schooling) did we, are we,
restricting the right things?
Re-conditioning the Zeitgeist Density of
assessment versus the weight of assessment The
recommendation to remove levels The purpose of
assessment a focus on constructs  
Shifting the sense of who is responsible for what
  • The powerful knowledge thesis
  • Empirical evidence on personal and social
  • Transnational comparisons of the focii of
    national curricula and the implicit and explicit
    imperatives in education
  • Could do better Cambridge Dec 2010

Assessments what do we have? 1 National
curriculum tests and tasks - which most pupils in
State schools are expected to take 2 Public
examinations - which most pupils are expected to
take 3 Optional tests and progress tests -
which schools can elect to enter pupils
for 4 Tests other than national curriculum tests
(available from commercial companies) - which
many schools choose to use 5 In-course or
school-based assessments - which are set
throughout a pupil's provision  
Detail KS1 1 maths test 1 reading test 1 spelling test 1 writing task KS2 3 maths (non-calculator calculator mental arithmetic) 3 English (reading, writing, spelling handwriting) 2 science KS3 1 reading writing 1 Shakespeare 2 Science 3 maths GCSE Average number taken 9.5 Mode of 2 papers per subject (some have more, others fewer) Advanced level AS in four subjects, for many one of the three units is coursework. Mode approx 10 papers. A2 as for AS, for three subject mode approx 8 Number of tests/ exams KS1 4 KS2 8 KS3 7 GCSE 19 AS 10 A2 8
Total 56
2002 Daily Mail 105
  • Trends to 2002
  • Modularisation in A level
  • Increasing elaboration of National Assessments
    (eg mental maths)
  • Refinement in the form of the national tests
  • Enforcement of League Table measures (performance
    tables and targets)
  • Trends from 2002
  • Increase in the battery of national assessments
    (eg ICT KS3)
  • Development of new test forms (Single Level
    National Tests)
  • State-initiated formative assessment (Assessing
    Pupil Progress)
  • Shift from external testing in KS1 to teacher

Detail Early Years Reported as a profile of 13 scales, using a score of 0-9, covering cognitive, social, physical and emotional development Yr 1 (age5) Phonics screening check Statutory test, based on reading 40 words and non-words, taken in one week window in June. KS1 Yr 2 (age7) statutory teacher assessment levels for reading, writing, speaking and listening overall level for mathematics and a level for each attainment target in Science. P-scales for pupils with special educational needs. KS2 Yr 6 (age 11) English reading test Level 3-5 (plus Eng level 6 reading test) English grammar, punctuation and spelling test Level 3-5 (plus Eng level 6 test) Mental maths test Maths test A Maths test B (plus level 6 paper 1, paper 2) KS3 Yr 7, 8, 9, Optional tests Eng, Maths yr 9 Science Yr 9 (Age 14) statutory teacher assessment in core and non-core subjects (13 subjects) scale 1-8 in 10 subjects. Modular GCSE Average number of GCSE or equivalent taken 10.9 Mode of 2.5 papers per subject (some have more, others fewer) plus controlled assessment Advanced level AS in four subjects, for many one of the three units is coursework. Mode approx 10 papers. A2 as for AS, for three subject mode approx 8 Number of tests/examinations EYFS 0 KS1 1 KS2 5 (7 for higher ability) KS3 0 GCSE 27 AS 10 A2 8
Total 51 (56 2002)
Trends to 2012 Rise in shift to GCSE
equivalent qualifications, attributed to
schools striving to meet national targets Crisis
in the practical administration of National
Tests Cessation of expansion of National Testing
abandonment of development of KS3 ICT
tests Increase in attention to formative
assessment including introduction of Assessment
of Pupil Performance (oriented to determining
levels through formative assessment processes)
Exploration of innovations in marking (eg rank
ordering /paired comparison for national tests in
English) Reduction in National Tests (removal of
KS3 tests, reduction of KS2 tests from Sci Eng
Math to Eng and Math only) Elaboration of
targets and measures including introduction of
EBac (English Baccalaureate) as a school
performance measure Trends from
2012 Introduction of phonics screening
test Linear qualifications promoted and modular
examinations discouraged or abandoned Contracting
model for GCSE-level qualifications (move to
single board per subject) Abandonment of APP as
a national initiative Greater HE involvement in
design and operation of A Levels encouraged  
2014 Benchmarking a means of measuring
progression (Bew recommendation) Phonics check
KS2 tests Nick Gibb 2010 ..In Primary,
apart from KS2 and the phonics check, I have no
interest in the assessment which is done Be
very careful to read this in the right way it
confirms the professionalism of teachers and
deliberate contraction of the role of the State
High autonomy in formative assessment
Constructs are all-important
The National Curriculum 1995
Science - key stage 3 Materials and properties
  • Chemical Reactions
  • that when chemical reactions take place, mass is
  • that virtually all materials, including those in
    living systems, are made through chemical
  • to represent chemical reactions by word
  • that there are different types of reaction,
    including oxidation and thermal decomposition
  • that useful products can be made from chemical
    reactions, including the production of metals
    from metal oxides
  • about chemical reactions, e.g. corrosion of iron,
    spoiling of food, that are generally not useful
  • that energy transfers that accompany chemical
    reactions, including the burning of fuels, can be
    controlled and used
  • about possible effects of burning fossil fuels on
    the environment.

National Curriculum 2007
  • Chemical and Material Behaviour
  • In their study of science, the following should
    be covered
  • chemical change takes place by the rearrangement
    of atoms in substances
  • there are patterns in the chemical reactions
    between substances
  • new materials are made from natural resources by
    chemical reactions
  • the properties of a material determine its uses.

  • The National Curriculum School Curriculum
  • The powerful knowledge thesis

  • Whats wrong with a knowledge-based curriculum?

2010 Levels 3 contrasting, co-existing
models 1 the score on a compensation-based
test 2 best fit 3 threshold Poor construct
integrity Contradictions between school and State
Poor communication with parents Undue pace
expectations of Ofsted Labelling contrary to
The lessons from transnational comparisons High
attainment, high equity and high enjoyment is
possible Dont assess everything which
moves High density formative assessment is
valuable to pupil (externalisation of inner
processes) teacher (information on progress,
misconception and concept development) and parent
(how can I best help my child) Has Alex
developed a sufficient understanding of
conservation of mass to move to next segment of
the learning progression? hence year by year
in Primary Spiral curriculum application of
concepts Singapore Different models of ability
and progression Stigler and Stevenson
The ACHIEVE experience
An ideal? High intensity and
density  Formative function High levels of
apparent duplication and redundancy Resource-inten
sive Highly regulated with high
accountability Evidence-driven
Med School 2 Written examinations (short
answer, extended matching, multiple choice,
modified essay questions) Computer-based tests
including data interpretation tests Short
in-course examinations Written accounts of
problems and cases Poster, clinical and other
presentations Logbook and workbook
recording Direct observation of practice
including graded performance Clinical
examinations OSCEs Formative assessments in
course Student-selected components Portfolio
Med School 7 On line examinations (extended
matching item, extended response, short answer,
multiple choice, data interpretation, drag and
drop graphical questions) Written assignments
(essay, case reports) Verbal reports and
presentations On line progress
test OSCEs Record of Clinical Experience
(RoCE) Portfolio Workplace-based assessment
tools for specific skills and knowledge Direct
Observation of Procedural Skills
(DOPS) Mini-Clinical Evaluation Exercise
(Mini-CEX) Case-based discussion (CBD) Ward
simulation exercise (filmed) Formative
Med School 4 Module assessment pattern Written
examinations (short answer, extended matching
question) Practical assessment of communication
and clinical skills Case presentations Case
reports (from family studies) Patient portfolio
Research project Personal development
Med School 19 Modular assessment pattern
Written examinations and assessments of
performance during rotations OSCEs Formative
assessment of clinical skills Formative
assessment of clinical knowledge Summative
written assessment of laboratory
medicine Portfolio 
Clinicians, lecturers, tutors and students all
emphasised that there was no real difference
between learning and assessment. Student
it is all so intensiveyou are reading all
evening and night just to get through the
mountain of material, and you could be asked a
question on an obscure bit of it at any time and
in any part of the course an exam, a question on
the ward, by another student Student .you
know youre going into an OSCE and you know
theres no time to thinkyou prepare for it, of
course, but it could call on knowledge from any
part of your course, from any part of your
Living in a levels-free world Wroxham does it
Finland, Singapore do it Soft landing as use
decays Focus on deep, secure learning of key
constructs Implement learning progressions
(Schmidt and Prawat)
What we may have from 2014 consultation 11 Oct
close Year by year statement of content Each
school publishing its school curriculum and
assessment scheme Levels no longer used
Assessment model Statutory tests at KS1 ME
discussion of precise form Phonics screening
check end of Yr1 with cut score Statutory
tests at KS2 ME (scale score and decile
reporting) KS2 reported against prior attainment
measure baseline assessment Non-modular GCSE
conditioned by accountability measures
Non-modular A level VQs
Lets not fool ourselves We have one of the most
diverse systems in the world (institutional
forms, local structures, size of schools, school
transfer, ideas about education.) This was
true in 2000 and remains true Many of the
structural shifts began years ago (GM,
Academies) What should we restrict and how?
State role in National Curriculum, in assessment
My ideal Educationally focussed
measurement Potent and valid formative
assessment Diagnostic assessment CAT, PIPS,
VESPARCH High density, low weight High autonomy
in selection and use (assessment schemes) A pull
down bank of items Independent measurement for
monitoring national standards A switch to high
equity and high attainment through attainment
measures not progress measures No regression to
thresholds (the grade D phenomenon)
Professionalisation of assessment expertise
use of local collaborative mechanisms for
development and promotion of good practice
getting the right unit of collaboration