If you haven’t already spat out your cornflakes this morning over Nick Gibb’s ridiculous claims that the blame for confusion about primary assessment should be laid at journalists doors,then start by reading his article in today’s School’s week:
Now let me quickly contest some of his points:
- He seems to have missed the point about the commas fiasco*: the two main arguments were that re-introducing an old-fashioned unscientific approach was not helpful (especially for learners with EAL), and that the supposed clarification from the STA only confused matters because it was unclear about how answers would be marked. When your department’s clarification notes cause confusion, the right thing to do is to apologise and seek to add clarity, not to blame.
- The concern about the 30+ updates to assessment materials is not that they were all major, but more than schools don’t get told whether they’re significant or not – we simply have to check the documentation ourselves – repeatedly.
- The line about an “alteration designed to bring the document in line with guidance” is disingenuous, when that alteration brought forward a teacher assessment submission deadline by a month (and all while we’re still waiting for materials to assess against!)
- He says that the department “have been clear” that the new expected standard is broadly equivalent to a level 4b. He clearly doesn’t have any idea about the shift in Writing expectations.
- Finally, he says that the department is “working hard” to make sure that information is given in an accurate and timely fashion.
On that I can only say: “must try harder”
*Incidentally, one can’t help but suspect that the re-introduction of commas was probably exactly one of those cases that Lucy Powell was referring to this week when she complained about government ministers’ excessive involvement in the curriculum according to their whims.