The reflective blog of Robert Jones, teacher and educational leader.
Barcamp Scotland 2008
Barcamp Scotland 2007 was a brilliant event, so I was delighted today when I noticed that a date has been set for the 2008 edition. It's on Saturday 2nd February 2008. You can sign up on the wiki. See you there :)
The old 5-14 assessments used to give robust, consistent answers to specific questions. The questions were of the form "what percentage of P7 students have managed to score at least 15 marks in one of a specific set of nationally generated assessment instruments". We thought that the questions were of the form "what percentage of P7 students have passed level D mathematics", but of course that isn't what we were measuring. We were measuring performance in tests. The mistaking of test performance for evidence of "passing a level" was bad, but we were right in thinking that we compared like with like as we looked at performance data from across Scotland.
Now we have abandoned national tests, and have moved towards measuring "passing a level" based on a combination of a rich bundle of assessments and teacher professional judgement. But what does it actually mean to have passed level 3 in numeracy? CfE documentation talks about assessing breadth…
"If A then B" is logically equivalent to "If (Not B) then (Not A)". For example "if a shape has three sides, then it is a triangle" is logically equivalent to "if a shape is not a triangle, then it does not have three sides". The second statement in quotes is called the contrapositive of the first statement in quotes. Logically speaking, they are identical statements. If one is true, the other must be, and vice versa. In this case, they are both true statements.
A commonly touted inspirational message we deliver to young people can be distilled down to "if you do all the things right that are within your power, then your dreams will come true". Consider its contrapositive.
There is no universally agreed meaning for the term "curriculum" as applied to the education of children and young people. In academic circles it is a highly contested concept, and covers everything experienced by children and young people, within or without formal education. To an average parent, I guess it means "the stuff schools are going to teach children and young people". From this perspective, Scotland has no national curriculum. Scotland has no national framework which spells out explicitly what knowledge schools should teach children and young people. We used to have one, called 5-14, but it was decided that this was too prescriptive.
Instead, the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence has a series of statements called the Experiences and Outcomes, which make vague, implicit references to the knowledge we expect young people to acquire, wrapped up in highly general statements about what we expect young people to be able to do, and what we expect them to exper…