D2 - Tony Nasta & Lynn Rogers (IOE): Impact of the LLUK/SVUK assessment regime on ITT curricula and the professional development of trainees across PCET providers in HE
Evaluating how the LLUK/SVUK
assessment regime is shaping ITT
curricula and the professional
development of trainees
Norman Lucas, Tony Nasta
and Lynne Rogers
June-July 2009 – Collection of selected course documentation, together
with responses to a brief questionnaire from participating HEIs
September – October 2009 – Identification of key themes arising from
November 2009 – April 2010 – UCET workshop and other focus groups,
LLUK, SVUK, Institute for Learning to refine and extend analysis
Spring 2010 – Presentation of initial findings to UCET PCET meeting
September 2010 – Publication of report and recommendations
•Sent to all UCET HEIs in July
•Initial response was disappointing
•After autumn follow-up have received 18 responses
•One-third of the PCET sector (assuming 54 HEIs)
The Six Questions
• Please refer to the sheet
• Questions 1 to 3 – factual details of titles and levels of qualifications, the
nature of the modules and the extent of option choice if any
• Questions 4, 5 and 6 open-ended – seeking perceptions about
development of trainees’ specialist teaching skills, integration of theory
and practice and overall view of LLUK/SVUK assessment regime
Overview of HEIs: generic provision
• Analysis derived from SVUK data – based on 52 institutions
• 171 different qualifications listed
– PTLLS 20 listings: 15 standalone; 1 embedded; 3 plus introduction; 1
unit statement possible; 3 at Level 3
– CTLLS 25 listings: Level 4; 8 CTLLS plus - 1 at Level 5 - CTLLS +
University Award in Teaching in Lifelong Learning Sector (Level 5)
– DTLLS accounts for the rest but wide variation in the titles used and the
levels – 5, 6 and 7
No. of centres Frequency
Number of delivery centres: 5 14
Average 5.7 6 26
• In most HEIs PTLLS was embedded in the course – often linked to HEI
The University will not accredit a discrete PTLLS programme as its credit
rating is below the 60 minimum required.
• Some HEIs issued a transcript to students following successful
completion of PTLLs within an embedded course
Exit award only issued by department - University does not issue awards
below 60 credits.
• Within this survey three HEIs ran separate PTLLs provision.
E.g. 2-week PTLLS course that served as an access route into teacher
training: validated by EdExcel.
Structure – credits
Wide variation in credit structures
• Ten HEIs had a fixed number of credits for each module – these could
be 15 (5); 20 (4) or 30 (1). Hence the number of modules that students
take to gain the qualification also varies.
• Six HEIs had a mixture of different credits for each course. For instance:
– 10, 20 and 30 credit modules
– 6, 9, 10, 15, and 20 credit modules
– 1 at 10 credits, 4 at 20 credits and 1 at 30 credits
Titles and levels
• DTLLS (Diploma in teaching in the LLS) – level 5
• Cert. Ed (Certificate in Education) – level 5; level 6
• PGCE (Professional-Graduate Certificate in Education) – level 6
• PGCE (Post-Graduate Certificate in Education) – level 7 but 40 M level
credits; 60 M Level credits
Option module choice
• Only two HEIs offered a module choice. In both this was in Year 2 of the
programme. In one of the HEIs no-one had taken the module during
• The SVUK option modules were embedded within the modules offered –
all modules were compulsory. Issues: costs; number of students;
• It would be too costly to run our programmes with options.
• We do not have the number of students or staffing resources either to offer
options, nor to create blended learning options.
• As far as students are concerned, all modules are compulsory and no
choice is offered as the logistics are too complex.
How the structure/assessment of the course supports the
development of trainees’ skills in teaching their specialist
HMI Survey of 2003
• The current system of FE teacher training does not provide a satisfactory
foundation of professional development for FE teachers at
the start of their careers. While the tuition that trainees receive on the taught
elements of their courses is generally good, few opportunities
are provided for trainees to learn how to teach their specialist subjects
and there is a lack of systematic mentoring and support in the workplace.
LLUK standards and assessment units
• Development by LLUK of bank of specialist options for inclusion on ITT
Playing the game?
‘Assessment throughout the programme is based upon the acquisition,
development and demonstration, by trainees, of achievement of the
relevant learning outcomes and professional competences.
Assessment therefore, involves the development of a range of types
and methods of assessment, ensuring that all trainees meet all of the
competences specified. Assessment is structured and progressive a
well as academically and professionally challenging. Items of
assessment based on their practical placement experiences and
associated reading and research’.
Results from questionnaire
•Overwhelming reliance on developing the trainee’s
specialist skills through mentoring, observation of
teaching, professional portfolio and workplace
•No examples of specialist options related to context
(e.g. 14-19, prison education or subject/occupation)
•Some examples of subject clustering, VLE and
An honest and typical response
‘The development of subject-specific teaching skills is over-dependent
on trainees being able to apply generic issues to their own teaching
and assessment, on specific support and observation by subject
mentors and by the structuring of specific subject and action research
projects into the course structure. There are not opportunities for
trainees with common vocational/subject teaching to get together in
sub-groups either at the college or at a wider partnership level.
Creating subject networks across the partnership is an initiative that the
University wishes to develop.’
Subject specialist support
Has anything really changed from ofsted report?
Are subject clusters and networks working?
Has mentoring and workplace support improved?
The evidence suggests limited progress in
developing specialist options or upon focussing
upon trainees’ subject-specialist teaching skills.
How would you explain this?
To what extent have the criteria for assessment helped trainees on ITT
courses to see the links between theory and practice?
• All but one said LLUK criteria prescriptive and this
• Some theory was introduced but through university criteria
‘Elements of theory are developed in different
assignments… however, the overall picture is of
fragments of theory/knowledge rather than a
sustained approach to the development of specific
What is the understanding of theory?
LLUK standard AP4.1. Tteachers in the lifelong learning sector ‘use
relevant theories of learning to support the development of practice in
teaching and learning’. Some university criteria want to see ‘theory
and research based evidence used’
Is theory reflective practice, teacher knowledge, being critical, lesson
How can theory not be introduced at M level?
Question for discussion
The findings suggest that at best
educational theory plays a relatively
marginal role in ITT courses. Is that the
group’s perception and if so, why?
Outward conformity or willing compliance?
Examples of comments from HEI/FE teacher educators
The LLUK framework provides domains that enable learners to hang their professional development
strengths, weaknesses and action planning on. It encourages them to examine their own practice as
professionals with nationally recognised codes of practice which give them status. However, the
standards are so detailed and verbose that most students find them intimidating and difficult to pick
The professional standards are fine. That would have been sufficient for HEIs to set up new, exciting and
challenges programmes of study. The units of assessment are a step too far and imply a high level of
prescription that I don’t think is warranted. I think that we have been creative in the use of tasks and
assignments across the programme so that trainees are not over burdened – otherwise there is a
danger that the programme becomes a BTEC. We provide a more over and above the LLUK
framework – naturally due to the level of qualification but also in experiential workshops that enable
trainees to try things out and take risks. Not sure that the LLUK framework encourages risk taking.
From a practical perspective the endorsement process and mapping of all assessment criteria was a
Outward conformity or willing
Examples of comments from teacher educators
I would like to take this opportunity to focus on the structure of the ITE qualification route. It simply does
not work. The Diploma is relevant however it does need to be reviewed. Some trainees complain that
the pace changes from year 1 to year 2. The Certificate is essentially a redundant qualification. The
PTLLS is very popular but essentially pointless. Whilst there are opportunities for CTLLS trainees to
access the DTLLS it is time consuming and expensive. I advocate a PT programme which has
recognisable exit and entry points.
Overall I believe the course structure and progression from stages 1, 2 and 3 before these reforms all
worked well in most ways. I can’t think of anything which has got better as a result of the most recent
changes at all. We modified the course last year, and are doing it again this year, and will hopefully be
back to a more coherent and balanced course by the start of 2009/10. This is a huge indictment on
the recent changes.
Focus group questions
Groups 1 and 2
1. Is the degree of unevenness found by the survey too great for a
national professional qualification? To what extent has it become
easier for trainees to transfer between ITT courses in different parts of
2. The survey does not suggest clear distinctions between what is
expected of trainees gaining qualifications at different levels (5, 6 and
7) Is this an accurate picture of your ITT courses? If so, why?
3. The responses so far suggest that the standards and assessment units
have not led to greater consistency? How would you explain this?
Focus group questions
Groups 3 and 4
1. Our findings suggest that the CTLLS qualification linked to
associate lecturer status does not appear not to have
become established? Does this tally with your experience?
If so, why?
2. The evidence suggests limited progress in developing
specialist options or upon focussing upon trainees’ subject-
specialist teaching skills. How would you explain this?
3. The findings suggest that at best educational theory plays
a relatively marginal role in ITT courses. Is that the group’s
perception and if so, why?