Bottom up or top down afl and ecm and their implications for school improvement
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Bottom up or top down? AFL and ECM and their implications for school improvement. AAIA Annual Conference 2006 A contribution from Ruth Sutton. Interesting ideas, pity about the title. What am I trying to do?

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Bottom up or top down afl and ecm and their implications for school improvement

Bottom up or top down? AFL and ECM and their implications for school improvement

AAIA Annual Conference 2006

A contribution from Ruth Sutton


Interesting ideas pity about the title

Interesting ideas, pity about the title

What am I trying to do?

  • Compare and contrast the long-standing principles of Assessment for Learning to the new kid on the block, Every Child Matters

  • Consider the implications of this and other developments for the way schools do business, and how we can best support them


Afl and ecm different origins

AFL and ECM: different origins

Assessment for Learning: the confluence of a number of streams of thought and practice over the past twenty years and more:

  • a shift towards more specific expected outcomes and assessment criteria, mainly driven by public accountability but of significance for learners and teachers too

  • recognition that only learners can improve learning

  • recognition of the link between motivation and achievement

  • survival through the tempests of National Curriculum requirements and testing, and what we learned from the experience

  • an increasing and powerful body of global research on how assessment links to learning


Afl long term and bottom up

AFL : long-term and bottom-up

  • Strategies developing in real classrooms over a long period

  • Patchy, intuitive, much influenced by the cultures of different schools

  • Sometimes distracted by external imperatives, and sometimes encouraged by them

  • Very few teachers who adopt AFL strategies go back to what they did before: there’s something in it for the teachers as well as the students


Ecm reactive and top down

ECM: reactive and top-down

  • Intrinsic appeal of ‘joined-upness’

  • Emotional impact of major failures in our care of very vulnerable children

  • Government always alert to ‘zeitgeist’ and capturing the moral high ground

  • Long-standing anxiety among both main English parties about ‘controlling’ educators and LEAs


The disunited kingdom on education policy

The Disunited Kingdom on Education Policy

  • Very striking recent divergence on assessment policy in different parts of the UK

  • Welsh Assembly very keen to distance itself from assessment approaches in England and follow a research-driven path

  • Scotland well ahead of England and Wales on assessment approach over the past decade and drawing further away all the time

  • Why has the English Cabinet’s allegiance to testing and league tables remained so strong?

  • Time to examine the influence of Lord Adonis who has now outlasted several Education ministers, and whose days – hopefully – are as numbered as his mate Tony’s


Was blair s thinking influenced by his buddy in the usa

Was Blair’s thinking influenced by his buddy in the USA?

2002 US federal legislation

“No Child Left Behind”

4 ‘pillars’

  • Stronger accountability for results

  • More local freedom

  • Proven education methods

  • More choice for parents

    Strong and continued opposition from professional educators and researchers


Ecm as motherhood and apple pie

ECM as motherhood and apple pie

Who could argue with this?

The ECM goal:

“Every child, whatever their background or their circumstances, will have the support they need to:

  • Be healthy

  • Stay safe

  • Enjoy and achieve

  • Make a positive contribution

  • Achieve economic well-being”


Only connect

ECM themes

Be healthy

Stay safe

Enjoy and achieve

Make a positive contribution

Achieve economic well-being

Assessment Reform Group: 10 principles (2002)

AFL should…

Be part of effective planning

Focus on how students learn

Be central to classroom practice

Be a key professional skill

Be sensitive and constructive as any assessment has an emotional impact

Take account of the importance of learner motivation

Promote commitment to learning goals and a shared understanding of the criteria

Recognise the full range of achievement for all learners

Learners should receive constructive guidance about how to improve

AFL develops learners’ capacity for self-assessment so that they can become reflective and self-managing

Only connect…..


Powerful common underpinning themes

Powerful common underpinning themes

The work of Carol Dweck, published after the Black and Wiliam 1998 study was complete and therefore not included. Dylan Wiliam regards this work as central to the AFL canon


Self theories the work of carol dweck

Self Theories:The work of Carol Dweck

  • This researcher starts with the psychology of learning and motivation

  • The details of her book:

  • Self Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality and Development

  • Psychology Press, 1999

  • ISBN 1-84169-024-4(paper)


Fundamental question

Fundamental question

  • Do you believe that intelligence is something you are born with and which cannot be increased through work and effort?

  • Or do you believe that you can add to the intelligence you have inherited, by effort and learning new things?

  • Responses to this question are closely related to young people’s motivation, confidence, resilience and emotional well being


How beliefs about intelligence affect learning and motivation

How beliefs about ‘intelligence’ affect learning and motivation

  • People who believe that their ‘cleverness’ is fixed tend to assume that failure is the end of learning and give up quickly, while others see it as an opportunity to learn more and persevere

  • If you don’t expect to make progress, you find success only in comparisons with others, not striving for your own ‘personal best’


Can interventions help

Can interventions help?

Yes

  • We help students to understand how their brains work, and that the brain develops through challenge and struggle

  • We use practice and repetition to instil new habits of learning

  • We show students regularly how their work is improving, to demonstrate that perseverance brings results

  • We clarify expectations, restore a sense of control and coach students to exercise greater responsibility for their own learning improvement

  • We start these strategies early, and keep them going, to reduce the potential damage of ‘failing cool’


Intrinsic motivation the key features for teachers and schools as well as students

Intrinsic motivation: the key featuresfor teachers and schools as well as students

Self efficacy

Feedback

for Self Awareness

Locus of control

-

As close to self as possible

Motivation

Achievement


The irony

The irony

The government’s interpretation of AFL, now captured as part of ‘Personalised Learning’, has a different slant

Government’s interpretation of Assessment for Learning is really Assessment for Teaching, with the focus on gathering and using assessment data to plan teaching

Fine as far as it goes, BUT it does not include the student-centred elements that most strongly connect AFL with ECM


Ecm into practice the most immediate consequences

ECM into practice: the most immediate consequences

  • Merging of LA Education Departments into ‘Children’s Services’

  • Title of the new OFSTED process

    Is this enough to warrant the fanfares? Does the Emperor actually have any clothes?


The structures of education

The structures of education

  • ECM challenges, yet again, the role envisaged by Government for local agencies

  • The LEA is already dead, transformed into an LA

  • What is gained and lost through the merging of Education Departments into Children’s Services departments?


Ecm and ofsted

ECM and OFSTED

  • How has the ECM agenda affected schools’ approach to the SEF and the inspection itself?

  • Think, pair, share


How can our expertise help schools

How can our expertise help schools?

  • We share our data analysis skills so widely and so well that the schools don’t need us for that purpose any more

  • We think big, all the time, and apply AFL principles to assessment at all levels of School Self Review– students, teachers, school leaders and the schools themselves

  • We advocate for ‘Student Voice’

  • We encourage planning for learning not planning for coverage

  • We respect adult learning principles in all PD opportunities we offer: choice, recognition of prior experience, respect for different learning styles

  • We must communicate so well with parents in England, and especially in London, that they begin to demand what the rest of the UK is already developing – AFL as the cornerstone of learning and teaching in every school, uncluttered by the testing imperatives still dominant in this country


The plethora of initiatives

The plethora of initiatives

  • We need to cherry-pick

  • Identify any bits of current ‘initiatives’ that support real learning for students and teachers, link them to what’s already there, and leave the rest in the freezer

  • If you ever need the stuff in the freezer, use your microwave to warm it up quick

  • More likely, when it’s past its use-by date and nobody’s missed it, throw it away


Afl principles have stood the test of time

AFL principles have stood the test of time

  • AFL should…

  • Be part of effective planning

  • Focus on how students learn

  • Be central to classroom practice

  • Be a key professional skill

  • Be sensitive and constructive as any assessment has an emotional impact

  • Take account of the importance of learner motivation

  • Promote commitment to learning goals and a shared understanding of the criteria

  • Recognise the full range of achievement for all learners

  • Learners should receive constructive guidance about how to improve

  • AFL develops learners’ capacity for self-assessment so that they can become reflective and self-managing


Afl is here to stay

AFL is here to stay

  • A continuing focus on the principles of Assessment for Learning is our goal, even if we call it by a different name

  • It’s about changing the habits of teaching and the way classrooms and schools do business

  • Like any other change of habit, it requires practice, repetition and perseverance


Brain theory and habits the 3 part brain

Brain theory and habits:The 3 part brain

  • The neo-cortex: useful for assignments

  • The reptilian brain: useful for Saturday nights

  • The limbic brain: useful for changing habits


From knowing to doing

From ‘knowing’ to ‘doing’

  • The practices of teaching and schooling are deeply ingrained or ‘hard-wired’

  • Habits are formed and changed in the limbic brain not the neo-cortex

  • They can only be changed through the limbic brain, by

    ‘Practice, feedback, practice’


Changing habits according to addiction theory proshaska

Changing habits – according to ‘Addiction Theory’ (Proshaska)

  • Pre-contemplation

  • Contemplation

  • First step

  • Discomfort and floundering

  • Practice

  • Confidence

  • New habit

  • Coach someone else


The weightwatchers model of change

The Weightwatchers’ Model of change

  • The Weight-watchers model for improving teaching involves:

    Big, important, agreed goals

    Small steps and continual feedback

    Perseverance

    Collegial support and accountability

    Recognition of success


Some suggestions for aaia

Some suggestions for AAIA

  • Keep a constant check on the balance between playing on the policy pitch and screaming from the sidelines, or even the stands

  • Use every strategic opportunity to influence the next generation of policy advisers, assuming that Adonis will go when Blair does

  • Keep an eye on the issue of Rights and Responsibilities and the links between policy and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, one of Alan Johnson’s pet issues


A hard row to hoe

A hard row to hoe

  • When your employment is linked to the financing and delivery of specific initiatives, it’s hard to find any wiggle room

  • It takes courage, confidence and careful tactical thinking to maintain any autonomy at all and keep our eyes on the longer term prize


And now for something completely different

And now for something completely different……..

To the tune of ‘Frere Jacques’, in four parts

  • Clear objectives help our students

  • With their work, with their work

  • Then they need great feedback, ideas for improvement

  • For success, for success


Bottom up or top down afl and ecm and their implications for school improvement

  • Thanks again for the invitation

  • New book on the Winnipeg experience due out next month from Portage and Main Press

    [email protected]

    September 13th 2006


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