My principal interest here has been in the assessment of pupil knowledge below the age of public examination. Most of my posts on this blog have thus far been a critique of earlier iterations of the English National Curriculum levels. More recently I have begun to set out some principles on which new assessment models might be built.
The term ‘the curriculum is the progression model’ is increasingly thrown around today, not least because it has become part of the language of the school inspectorate. I [...]
Why can’t undergraduate historians read and write?
Based on some of the feedback I’ve had on Twitter about this post, I want to preface it by saying that – despite the Clickbait title – this article is not a [...]
The tyranny of command verbs
I have written before about why I find generic taxonomies of verbs so depressing. Not only are words such as ‘analyse’ or ‘describe’ vague, but they are also [...]
“Use all the sources and your own knowledge”: is it time to move on?
I have written a few times now that I think we need a radical change in how we set source-based questions in exams. Some relevant earlier posts are Less generic analysis and [...]
Who should know a pupil’s predicted grade?
It is very widely accepted that a teacher ought to know a pupil’s predicted grade. Although I think Ofsted don’t specifically require this, I have heard so many times [...]
Should exam questions be predictable?
I have over the last half term started teaching a Year 11 class for the first time in a couple of years, and I am reminded of just how much work has to be done on teaching [...]
How do GCSE History source questions need to change?
It was never going to be long before the tabloid press picked up on the new GCSE History sample assessment materials: history is always the most controversial subject on the [...]
Why do GCSE and A-Level exams get it so horribly wrong?
As GCSE and A-Level reforms come into reality over the next year, I am left reflecting on the latest stage in a story that has been developing in England for over two [...]
Using multiple-choice questions
A few years ago I would have completely rejected the idea that multiple-choice questions were in any way useful in history lessons, and I still have reservations. I have [...]
Assessment after levels: don’t reinvent a square wheel
Schools – particularly senior managers – are obsessed by pupil progress, not least because Ofsted inspectors are also obsessed by pupil progress. How many times have [...]
My beef with Bloom’s
I recently had a comment on an old post asking why I have an issue with Bloom’s Taxonomy, and it’s something I’ve been asked about before. The common criticisms that [...]
Beyond Levels Part Three: developing a mixed constitution
Assessment is always going to be an imperfect tool. Gaming the system will always be possible; students can cram for tests and then forget things that they really should [...]
Beyond Levels Part Two: summative and formative assessment
In my last post I commented briefly on why I thought task-specific mark schemes were more appropriate than ladder-like progression models for the assessment of pupil work. In [...]
Beyond Levels Part One: knowledge-rich and task-specific mark schemes
In my last post, I criticised the old National Curriculum levels or, more specifically, the 1991 Attainment Targets to which schools kept trying to revert. The ladder-like [...]
On letting ourselves be specialists
Last Sunday I was back in teacher mode again. I was not a teacher of history, however, but a teacher of winter walking. On a university hillwalking club trip, I took a group [...]
Levels: where it all went wrong
Levels are dead! Long live… well, what? I am quite a fan of the new 2014 National Curriculum for history. I very much wish that Michael Gove had been brave enough to do [...]