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We know that summative assessment drives practice in schools. We also know that current forms of summative assessment inhibit both curriculum and pedagogical innovation because of their focus on 'knowledge' (as viewed in a knowledge based curriculum). The challenge is to find new forms of summative assessment which satisfy the criteria against which they will be judged. Those criteria should include: ...continue reading "Characteristics of effective summative assessment"

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By Dennis Sherwood

In the summer of 2020, the Covid-19 outbreak led to the cancellation in the UK of all school exams. What happened next has been described as a scandal, a disaster, a fiasco, as has been reported extensively elsewhere. In the quest to discover what went wrong, ...continue reading "Why are exam grades unreliable?"

Traditionally we have told students that if they work hard at school and get good results they can go to university and upon graduation will get a good job.

The story we traditionally told students

Such stories are no longer true (I wonder whether they were ever true for many people). Our career pathways are more complex than that. Here's my story - ...continue reading "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

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Around the world governments are taking action to contain the spread of COVID-19, often in ways that are quite revealing about the purposes and practices of schooling, and the scope to which unchallengeable norms in education can actually be overthrown. ...continue reading "COVID-19 and the future of schooling"

In previous posts I have talked about why school is a problem, how people learn and hence how we should teach, what should be learnt in school, and that we need to think more radically about the design of schooling. In this post I suggest a strategy for achieving this sort of 'disruptive innovation'. ...continue reading "Radical change strategy"

NOTE - This post has been superseded by a 2nd draft that adds in a criterion about avoiding using the same assessment for multiple purposes.

We know that summative assessment drives practice in schools. We also know that current forms of summative assessment inhibit both curriculum and pedagogical innovation because of their focus on 'knowledge' (as viewed in a knowledge based curriculum). The challenge is to find new forms of summative assessment which satisfy the criteria against which they will be judged. Those criteria should include: ...continue reading "Characteristics of effective summative assessment"

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What is a knowledge based curriculum?

I was in a school recently that described itself as having a 'knowledge-based curriculum'. Walking round the school with the head the key elements of this, which seem to be common across most secondary schools that I have visited, were: ...continue reading "Why is a knowledge based curriculum no longer fit for purpose?"