SSAT National Headteacher Steering Group

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Isabel Nisbet's presentation slides at the SSAT National Headteacher Steering Group.

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SSAT National Headteacher Steering Group

  1. 1. AN UPDATE FROM OFQUAL Isabel Nisbet Acting CEO 12 November 2009
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>An update on Ofqual </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Maintaining standards </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What’s on the agenda </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>An independent regulator in an Election year </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Ofqual <ul><li>Established by Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Will report to Parliament, not Government </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Five statutory objectives: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Standards in qualifications </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Standards in [National Curriculum and Early Years] assessments </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Public confidence </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Awareness </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Ofqual’s vision <ul><li>The independent regulator of qualifications and assessments that are valued and trusted by learners, users and the wider public. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Ofqual’s vision <ul><li>The independent regulator of qualifications and assessments that are valued and trusted by learners, users and the wider public. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Ofqual’s vision <ul><li>The independent regulator of qualifications and assessments that are valued and trusted by learners, users and the wider public. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Ofqual’s vision <ul><li>The independent regulator of qualifications and assessments that are valued and trusted by learners, users and the wider public . </li></ul>
  8. 8. Where we are now <ul><li>Royal Assent today (we hope!) </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation soon on how Ofqual will exercise its new functions, powers and duties </li></ul><ul><li>Working on transitional arrangements </li></ul>
  9. 9. Preparing for vesting as an independent regulator
  10. 10. Vesting Day
  11. 11. The longer term
  12. 12. Where we are now <ul><li>Royal Assent today (we hope!) </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation soon on how Ofqual will exercise its new functions, powers and duties </li></ul><ul><li>Working on transitional arrangements </li></ul><ul><li>Preparing to be an independent organisation </li></ul>
  13. 13. Where we are now <ul><li>Royal Assent today (we hope!) </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation soon on how Ofqual will exercise its new functions, powers and duties </li></ul><ul><li>Working on transitional arrangements </li></ul><ul><li>Preparing to be an independent organisation </li></ul><ul><li>Appointing our new Board </li></ul>
  14. 14. Where we are now <ul><li>Royal Assent today (we hope!) </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation soon on how Ofqual will exercise its new functions, powers and duties </li></ul><ul><li>Working on transitional arrangements </li></ul><ul><li>Preparing to be an independent organisation </li></ul><ul><li>Appointing our new Board </li></ul><ul><li>Meantime, regulating NOW at a time of change and challenge </li></ul>
  15. 15. Maintaining standards <ul><li>Standards of what? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Standards of assessment and standards of performance
  17. 17. Standards of assessment <ul><li>The height of the hurdle, not how many people jump over the hurdle </li></ul><ul><li>Language of consistency, fairness, lack of change – compare the rhetoric of “driving up standards” [of performance against the standard] </li></ul><ul><li>Measuring change requires unchanging measures </li></ul><ul><li>No win for the student: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“If fewer students than the previous year are awarded the grades then they were weak students, unable to reach the standard; if more students gain the grades then the examination was so easy that the grades are worthless” (Kathleen Tattersall, 2008) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. The public interest in examination assessment standards <ul><li>For schooling – means to reinforce the National Curriculum (England only) </li></ul><ul><li>(all countries) A vehicle for providing public assurance about the education of young people </li></ul><ul><li>To provide a measure for the attainment of: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Schools </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The nation? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>To provide a basis for discrimination among applicants: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Further/Higher Education </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Employment </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The exam content must be valid (in relation to the matters of concern to the selector) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The exam results should be reliable </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. The public interest (ctd) <ul><li>An assurance of competence/fitness to practise </li></ul><ul><li>Public protection/safety </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Invasion of the human body </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Work with vulnerable members of the public </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Work which affects the safety of the public </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Work required to provide public goods (e.g. roads, environmental infrastructure) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Consumer protection </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Maintaining standards in public examinations <ul><li>Setting appropriate standards for the attainment to be shown </li></ul><ul><li>Defining how categories/grades are to be awarded </li></ul><ul><li>Ensuring that the award means what it says and can be understood/used </li></ul><ul><li>Ensuring that different versions of the SAME qualification (eg A level history) are genuinely comparable </li></ul><ul><li>Fairness to candidates </li></ul><ul><li>Commanding confidence </li></ul>
  21. 21. Maintaining exam standards – how we do it <ul><li>Ensure that the organisations running the exams are able to control their own standards (institutional audit) </li></ul><ul><li>Examination Design </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Number and design of units </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Grading structure </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Methods of assessment </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Adjustment during the live marking process </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>QA of markers’ judgements </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Statistical checks and balances </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Retrospective monitoring and feeding lessons into design </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Some challenges to confidence in standards <ul><li>Grade drift (or larger numbers getting higher grades) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Questioning of comparability between subjects: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Research-based </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Urban myths </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Change in the system </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Change in structure/mode of assessment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Change in the requirements of the subject </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Concerns about malpractice (eg internet plagiarism) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Perceived pressures to compromise standards </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>To show increased performance </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Market pressures </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wish to preserve the exam misery we suffered…. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 23. The cold shower theory of exams
  24. 24. Maintaining standards: two approaches <ul><ul><li>Level of attainment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Likelihood of achievement </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Some issues about standards <ul><li>Relative importance of: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Consistency across awarding bodies </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Consistency over time </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Flexibility to meet needs </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fitness for purpose (needs of the subject/what employers want/what HE wants) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reliability </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The research </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Public expectations </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Uses to which assessment outcomes are put </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple uses should raise our suspicions </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  26. 26. What’s on the agenda <ul><li>14-19 qualifications – widespread change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A-levels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>6 units to 4 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“Stretch and challenge” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The A* </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  27. 27. What’s on the agenda <ul><li>14-19 qualifications – widespread change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A-levels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>6 units to 4 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“Stretch and challenge” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The A* </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  28. 28. The A* <ul><li>To aid discrimination among high achievers </li></ul><ul><li>Universities initially sceptical but many will use it </li></ul><ul><li>To be awarded to those who achieve an A overall and 90%+ of UMS at A2 </li></ul><ul><li>Not the same as those with the highest mark overall </li></ul><ul><li>Different proportions in different subjects </li></ul><ul><li>Consistency among awarding bodies in the same subject </li></ul>
  29. 29. What’s on the agenda <ul><li>14-19 qualifications – widespread change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A-levels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>6 units to 4 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“Stretch and challenge” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The A* </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>GCSEs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Modular structures – how to maintain the standard? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>GCSE science </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  30. 30. What’s on the agenda <ul><li>14-19 qualifications – widespread change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A-levels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>6 units to 4 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“Stretch and challenge” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The A* </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>GCSEs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Modular structures – how to maintain the standard? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>GCSE science </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Functional skills </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>From pilot to mainstream </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Consistency V flexibility </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A hurdle or not a hurdle? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  31. 31. More on the 14-19 agenda <ul><li>Diplomas </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Early days </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How to support the best teaching and learning </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Phase 4 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Delivery issues </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Design issues </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The vocational offer </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Popular stand-alone vocational qualifications </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Combining vocational with academic learning </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>UCAS and performance points </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Innovation
  33. 33. Innovation – issues for Ofqual <ul><li>Is the exam system keeping up with curricular change? </li></ul><ul><li>Are paper exams VALID to assess learning which uses technology </li></ul><ul><li>Are there barriers to innovation by awarding bodies in what they offer you? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we break through the glass ceiling and modernise large-volume school qualifications? </li></ul>
  34. 34. The independent regulator in an Election year
  35. 35. What we are not <ul><li>Education policy-makers for any Party </li></ul><ul><li>Apologists for the Government’s manifesto for qualifications or assessments </li></ul><ul><li>Apologists for the Opposition’s manifesto for qualifications or assessments </li></ul><ul><li>Assistance to making things look good </li></ul><ul><li>Assistance to making things look bad </li></ul>
  36. 36. What we should do <ul><li>Set out clear principles – about standards, fairness, confidence – that all can use </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Next Chief Regulator’s Report (December 2009) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Always talk from an evidence base </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Publish data/findings where you can before the Election is called </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Listen to what all the parties are saying </li></ul><ul><li>Continue in dialogue with all </li></ul>
  37. 37. Conclusions <ul><li>Legislation is now in place to establish Ofqual </li></ul><ul><li>We shall illuminate the debate about maintaining standards </li></ul><ul><li>A source of assurance during change in 14-19 qualifications </li></ul><ul><li>Supporting innovation to ensure that the system remains fit for purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Non-partisan principles to inform policy debate in an Election year </li></ul>
  38. 38. <ul><li>Thank you </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>www.ofqual.gov.uk </li></ul>

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