Friday, April 24th. Wednesday’s appearance in front of MPs by Ken Boston, the former chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority who fell on his sword over last summer’s test marking shambles, may have struggled for media attention, coinciding as it did with one of the more dramatic Budgets of recent times. But it was just as explosive, in its way, in what it implied about the way this Government governs. The deeper implications of what Dr Boston alleged during the 80-minute session may not be news to insiders familiar with the way the system operates. But for those of us observers on theRead More →

Bearing in mind the evidence from Ken Boston at the Children Schools and Families select committee, about which I hope to make a posting later in the week, I thought I’d post the article I wrote on the Sutherland inquiry at the end of December (for publication in January) for Education Journal. The text follows below: There was something deeply unsatisfying about last month’s report on the biggest administrative shambles I covered in my nine years as a reporter with the TES. The Sutherland Report, ordered by ministers and their new testing regulator, Ofqual, largely cleared the Government of any responsibility for the catalogue of mistakesRead More →

Ok, I mentioned a while back on this blog, I think, that I was keen on setting up a section on this site called “Data watch: Ofsted”, which is intended to feature observations on the use of exam statistics in Ofsted inspections. This is something I’ve written about before, notably in a front page story in the TES last year about the connection between schools’ Ofsted gradings for their test and exam results and their overall inspection verdicts. I’ve recently been trying to do some more work on whether patterns can be found in the details of schools’ exam results and the outcomes of theirRead More →

I thought this article in the Guardian today, a first person piece attacking teaching to “Assessment Objectives” was pretty insightful. I thought the comments, too, were interesting. Some criticised the author for focusing too much on some ill-defined notion of creativity. But I didn’t read any properl- reasoned defence, by those commenting, of the approach which she criticised. I’m sure it’s very prevalent in schools; my book carries has quite a bit of evidence on this. Another article on the effects of targets, this time in terms of their effects on further education, was published in the TES’s FE Focus section last week. I should have provided aRead More →

We were round to dinner on Saturday with a teacher friend and her partner. She told us that her school, which is in an Ofsted “category” is under such pressure to improve its pupils’ results that seven-year-olds are being set tests of up to an hour and a half in length. Is this in the pupils’ best interests? Well, it’s safe to say this teacher thinks not. One disaffected tot apparently scribbled “I hate tests” all over a recent task. She couldn’t blame him. What a bonkers system this is.Read More →