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Building the Evidence Base Overview and key findings from year 1. Philippa Cordingley and Paul Crisp CUREE. Building the Evidence Base. Research reviews. The map of research reviews. We started by mapping the relevant reviews of research The map identified 6 key trends:

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building the evidence base overview and key findings from year 1

Building the Evidence BaseOverview and key findings from year 1

Philippa Cordingley and Paul Crisp CUREE

the map of research reviews
The map of research reviews
  • We started by mapping the relevant reviews of research
  • The map identified 6 key trends:
    • The effectiveness of learning that is context based
    • The importance of connecting curriculum with home and community experiences; also parental involvement in children’s learning in the home
    • The impact on pupil motivation and learning of structured dialogue in group work and of collaborative learning
six key trends
Six Key Trends
  • The need to create opportunities to identify and build on pupils’ existing conceptual understandings
  • The need to remove rigidity – to allow time and space for conceptual development
  • The need for excellence and professional development in subject knowledge for curriculum innovation, especially in relation to context-based learning
the second review
The second review
  • Several thousand studies covered by the reviews in the map
  • 233 covered by the reviews that focussed in depth on 6 findings from the map
  • These were then filtered (twice) for evidence re: student impact, relevance to the six themes and/or the themes underpinning the new secondary. Seven were simply unavailable.
  • Resulting in 63 remaining studies in this review
the second review7
The second review
  • Provides rich detail on the 6 key trends and several claims made by QCA for the secondary curriculum
  • Establishes the maturity of the evidence base in relation to collaboration, context based learning, home/school links and building on students’ existing understanding
  • Highlights effectiveness, in particular, in the context of science, maths, MFL and independent learning
  • Identifies a need for further research into curriculum flexibility and cross-curricular learning
the second review context based learning an example
The Second review – context based learning an example
  • 8/17 studies re: real world contexts – science
  • Mechanisms for making connections in science:
    • Drama and role play
    • Situating learning in everyday challenges e.g. ethics of genetics technology, traffic and safety, energy at home
    • Simulation of science in context via ICT
  • Mechanisms in other subject areas
    • community service based learning, real world problems, students contributing their own information and contexts from home
the second review qca claims
The Second Review: QCA Claims

The curriculum needs to:

  • better reflect the world that young people are growing up in – well illustrated through evidence re: context based learning
  • be more than a revision to the subject programmes of study – well illustrated by evidence of the importance of connecting the curriculum with home and community based learning
  • enable progression – well illustrated by detailed evidence about how teaching has to build on existing understanding 
  • personalise learning – richly illustrated picture of curriculum initiatives in personalisation which have been successful to varying degrees in promoting student learning and achievement
the second review qca claims10
The Second Review: QCA Claims
  • reflect the aims and values of the school – moderately well illustrated
  • emphasise key concepts as a means of enabling subject teachers to develop more flexible, inclusive and appropriate learning experiences – moderately well illustrated
  • emphasise key subject-based processes – moderately well illustrated
  • reflect interdependencies between content, teaching and learning – moderately well illustrated
  • provide contexts for learning (linked to map finding that the curriculum needs to be flexible and to enable cross curricular learning) – scant illustration because the review is more subject based
The Second review – implications for content, learning and teaching via structuring talk and group work – an example
  • A mature evidence base – studies with strong evidence were extensive re: structuring group work and talk and offered high quality evidence in a range of contexts:
    • Thinking skills – 9
    • Science – 7
    • ICT – 3
    • Maths – 3
  • Key features included
    • Teaching group work skills explicitly
    • Structuring tasks for interdependence
    • The allocation of a range of structured and specific roles
  • Plus a range of other strategies including reaching consensus, use of protocols including for Socratic dialogue and for open and probing questioning
what were we interested in
What were we interested in?

Concerned with 4 curriculum domains derived from QCA policy interests:

    • Challenge and inspiration
    • Flexibility and choice
    • Student lifestyles and health
    • Motivational influences
  • ‘Mile wide, inch deep’
  • ‘Take the pulse’
  • Provisional and illustrative
method of data collection
Method of Data Collection
  • Web bases survey in March and April 2008
  • Over 3,000 participants from a representative sample of schools
  • 8 focus groups used to:
    • Explore issues which could not effectively be dealt with via a survey
    • Explore in greater depth interesting/ambiguous findings from the survey
    • Draw out the views of some students who were unlikely to participate in the survey
taking the pulse
Taking the pulse
  • A majority of students (primary and secondary) feel positive about the curriculum they experience
  • There were no significant differences in satisfaction between genders, ethnic or age groups
  • Primary pupils were generally more satisfied with their school experience than secondary
  • Older secondary students wanted more influence over and choice about their curriculum experience than:
    • they felt they got, and
    • younger students
some interesting points
Some interesting points
  • More students (primary and secondary) feel that their lessons are too easy than feel they are too hard
  • Secondary students thought that maths was both the hardest and third easiest subject
  • Focus group generally critical of the teaching of maths but recognised the importance of the subject
  • Apart from maths, no strongly perceived correlation between the subject and the manner of its teaching
  • Some of the secondary curriculum reforms being implemented formally in 2008 are already experienced by significant numbers of students
some interesting points 2
Some interesting points 2
  • Drugs, alcohol and healthy eating education is well established in both primary and secondary schools
  • But, for secondary students, the sight of overweight people on television and on the street had greater impact than school activities
  • Dealing with stress was the least developed aspect of lifestyle and personal wellbeing education
  • Secondary schools were felt to be more pressured environments than primary but parental expectations were high in both
  • Substantial minorities of students felt they were under too little pressure from teachers or parents, although parents (at 24.5%) did worse than teachers (17%)
  • Few significant differences in responses when examined by gender or Key Stage level. Age had a bigger impact – but still not a very big one – particularly in the areas of choice and autonomy
an example challenge and inspiration primary
An example – Challenge and Inspiration – Primary
  • 50% think lessons present the right amount of challenge, but:
    • 31.1% said they were too easy
    • 17.1% said they were too hard
  • The level of challenge in the primary curriculum may be less than the students expect or are capable of
  • 60% thought their friends wanted them to do well at school, rising to 85% for parents expectations
  • Around 30% felt that parental pressure was a bit/lot too much while 22% felt that parents put too little pressure on them
an example challenge and inspiration secondary
An example – Challenge and Inspiration – Secondary
  • More than 50% felt that:
    • They did a lot of practical activities
    • They often used what they learned at school outside of school
    • They did a mix of different things in lessons
    • They used the internet often at school
  • The biggest gaps (>20%) between student experience and aspiration were:
    • Opportunities to link lessons to experience
    • Amount of practical activity
    • Mix of activity
    • Use of AV resources and the internet
the work
The Work
  • Multi site case studies of classroom level curriculum development in nine schools
  • Three areas/issues within curriculum development identified:

Integration of assessment Group work and discussion

Effective CPD

  • Videos of classes (probes 1 and 2)
  • Observations of CPD or CPD planning sessions probe (3)
  • Interviews with teachers, head teachers and pupils
  • Interviews and analysis were structured around:
    • Evidence base e.g. EPPI reviews plus
    • Stimulated recall of videoed or observed incidents
  • Attempts to reach a grounded definition of curriculum development

Selection of cases:

  • Range of schools: Socio-economic contexts, pupil entry level ability, school composition
  • For CVA and evidence of closing gap
  • History of sustained curriculum innovation
  • History and/or trajectory of substantial development in the targeted area
the probe questions
The probe questions
  • How are teachers, who are developing the curriculum in order to close the achievement gap while maintaining standards, balancing the opportunities and demands of different approaches to assessment?
  • What challenges do teachers face when they try to get students to engage in more effective group work and talk while developing the curriculum?
  • What are the characteristics of effective continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers undertaking curriculum development? What are teachers involved in? Who supports them, how and with what results?
the outcomes
The Outcomes
  • Three reports each:
    • Contain vignettes and examples of practice
    • Draw on existing evidence base to increase explanatory power
    • Identify key characteristics, main themes, and illustrate good practice
    • Identify implications and further sources of information
the assessment case study illustrated ways of
The assessment case study illustrated ways of:
  • recognising the centrality of pupils in learning and assessment processes
  • providing clear curriculum and assessment structures to create space for innovation and creativity
  • embedding assessment in engaging and relevant learning activities
  • embedding assessment and feedback within a range of learning relationships
  • integrating varied assessment approaches to help articulate, define and judge successful learning
  • using the learning environment as part of the assessment infrastructure
the case study on talk illustrated ways of
The case study on talk illustrated ways of:
  • prompting and supporting students in their use of language and modelling productive and exploratory talk
  • offering regular opportunities in different curriculum areas to develop and reinforce collaborative skills
  • structuring groups to give everyone chance to speak, and managing the mix of personalities
  • establishing and displaying ground rules for talk
  • teaching students explicitly the skills to underpin the rules
  • creating speaking, listening and ideas frames
  • developing a clear rationale for linking group work, talk and curriculum development
the cpd case study illustrated ways of
The CPD case study illustrated ways of
  • Making curriculum development a vehicle for powerful professional learning via CPD support
  • Aligning professional learning, curriculum development and performance management to motivate teachers
  • Facilitating curriculum development groups of practitioners – across groups of schools when there is limited internal capacity
  • Identifying and mobilising teachers with specialist curriculum expertise in new areas of the school
dissemination and diffusion
Dissemination and Diffusion
  • Collection of tools and activities
  • Creation of summaries and activities, e.g.
    • Practitioner summary of the map
    • Summary and activity of the work of Jerome Bruner
    • Activities for consultation seminars
  • Telephone interviews with policy makers to map current activity
  • Tasters and summaries – year 2
evidence taster
Evidence Taster

Tasters are:

  • Nuggets of intriguing evidence
  • Mini enquiry tools to interest people in current realities for students
  • Mini research and development tools for trying out new approaches
  • Links to further resources
areas for development
Areas for development
  • Which issues would you see as priorities for development via
    • Tasters
    • Further probes
    • Further surveys
    • Further reviews?