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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 20th April 2015

 

Report of the Director of Learning and Skills

 

Teacher Assessment: Strengthening Arrangements to Improve Reliability, Consistency and Confidence

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         Following the Committee's previous discussions about the potential unreliability of teacher assessment, to advise Members of the response made to the Welsh Government's consultation regarding strengthening arrangements to improve reliability, consistency and confidence with regard to teacher assessment and of the arrangements for teacher assessment being introduced this year through the Central South Consortium.

Recommendations

1.         To note the response made to the Welsh Government consultation regarding improving teacher assessment.

2.         To note the arrangements being introduced through the Central South Consortium to improve teacher assessment this academic year.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To advise Members of the response made to the Welsh Government's consultation regarding strengthening arrangements to improve the reliability, consistency and confidence with regard to teacher assessment.

2.         To advise Members of the arrangements for teacher assessment being introduced this year through the Central South Consortium.

Background

2.         Since 2004 schools in Wales have used statutory end of phase and stage assessment of learners, based on teacher assessments against foundation phase outcomes and national curriculum level descriptors.

3.         Confidence in the system depends on being able to trust that the assessment process is applied consistently and with common understanding of the foundation phase outcomes and national curriculum level descriptors.

4.         An investigation into Key Stage 2 and 3 teacher assessment commissioned by the Welsh Government in 2012 indicated that whilst the current teacher assessment system in Wales has in place all the main components that high-quality teacher assessment systems across the world use, the required level of proficiency had not been achieved.  Evidence showed that there was considerable scope for improvement in the sector's confidence in the quality, consistency and reliability of assessments.

5.         Issues regarding the reliability of teacher assessment have been brought to the attention of Members at a number of individual School Progress Panel meetings.  In addition, the minutes of Scrutiny Committee 23rd June 2014 read:

'With regard to pupil profiling and transition from Primary to Secondary Schools, a number of schools advised that information regarding the level and ability of pupil learning was not always accurately recorded by Primary Schools.  It was recommended that further work on this be undertaken to ensure more effective moderation of teacher assessment at Comprehensive level.  A recent Australian Centre for Education Research (ACER) report (a Welsh Government commissioned report) had also highlighted that current teacher assessments were not fit for purpose."

6.         In response to the findings of the investigation, the Welsh Government is making a number of proposals aimed at improving confidence in the current teacher assessment system.

7.         In light of the proposed changes, the Central South Consortium has put forward a model for cluster moderation for the current academic year.

Relevant Issues and Options

8.         The Welsh Government consultation seeks views on three main areas:     

  • School Improvement - From the academic year 2015/16, regional consortia to be responsible for overseeing moderation so ensuring reliability and improving confidence in teacher assessment.   
  • Cluster Moderation - From the academic year 2015/16, the introduction of a statutory requirement for all maintained schools to participate in cluster group moderation.  This is designed to add rigour and robustness to the school-based moderation.  Consideration is being given to including the Foundation Phase in cluster moderation.                              
  • External Verification - From this academic year, the introduction of a new system of external verification to cover Key Stages 2 and 3.

9.         The response to the consultation written by the Head of School Improvement and Inclusion can be seen in Appendix 1.  It supports the proposals made by the Welsh Government and suggests some issues for further consideration.

10.      The Head of School Improvement and Inclusion has made all headteachers aware of the consultation and the deadline of 6th March for responses.

11.      The Central South Consortium has proposed a model for cluster moderation for this academic year.  They have provided guidance and proformas for the moderation of English, Welsh and Mathematics.  The Consortium would be informed of all cluster moderation dates and would also receive a register of those who attended, so developing an overview of which schools participated and those that did not.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.      Welsh Government is understood to be developing a tender specification to enter into a contract for the external verification of teacher assessment.

13.      Moderation to be undertaken within the existing resources of schools and the Central South Consortium.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

14.      There are no sustainability and climate change implications.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

15.      There are no Legal implications.

Crime and Disorder Implications

16.      There are no crime and disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

17.      There are no equal opportunity implications.

Corporate/Service Objectives

18.      To support and challenge schools and settings to improve the range of teaching and learning in order to increase achievement.

Policy Framework and Budget

19.       The recommendations of this report are within existing policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

20.      Not required.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

21.      Lifelong Learning

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Mike Glavin, Head Of School Improvement and Inclusion

 

Officers Consulted

Tim Britton, Central South Consortium

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning and Skills

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