Wednesday, 10 December 2014
Department of Education and Skills
State Examinations Reviews
150. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the way teachers correcting their own students work will improve further the learning experience at second level and the educational rationale underpinning it; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47429/14]
In my revised proposal for Junior Cycle, presented to the Teacher Unions on 10th November, I have set out a two pronged approach to assessment.
It includes a combination of 60% of marks to be allocated to a final exam at the end of third year which will be set and marked by the SEC, alongside 40% of marks to be allocated for school based work such as portfolios and projects to be assessed by teachers which will be accompanied by the SEC monitoring 10-15% of this marking.
What is assessed is valued; school based assessment promotes a learning culture in schools. It recognises and rewards skills which cannot readily be assessed through externally assessed written final examinations.
It is essential that students are marked by their own teachers to promote better student learning and improved student outcomes. School based assessment empowers teachers to support the unique talents and skills of the students in their classrooms. It allows for a much more rounded picture of student achievement to emerge.
This combined approach with its external checks and balances will lead to state certification on completion of junior cycle. It will have integrity and validity and teachers will be supported in this change.
This reform is not about protecting systems, it is about improving standards. The integrity of the existing junior certificate will be maintained and improved by my proposal.
The benefits of having teachers assess their own students work, was based on a range of research findings including, for example:
Black and Wiliam, (1998). Inside the Black Box, Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment. London: School of Education, King‟s College.
Crooks, T (1988). "The Impact of Classroom Evaluation Practices on Students," Review of Educational Research, 58 (4), pp. 438- 481.
Easley and Zwoyer, (1975). In Crooks, T (1988). "The Impact of Classroom Evaluation Practices on Students," Review of Educational Research, 58 (4), p 469.
Gipps, C (1994). Beyond Testing: Towards a Theory of Educational Assessment. London. The Falmer Press.
Green, J (1998). Constructing the Way Forward. Keynote address:"Innovations for effective schools". OECD Conference, Christchurch.
Harlen, W (1998). Classroom Assessment: A Dimension of Purposes and Procedures. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the NZARE, Dunedin, December.
Hattie, J (1999). Influences on Student Learning. Inaugural Lecture.Professor of Education, University of Auckland, August 2002.
Keyconet.eun.org research findings
Sadler, R (1989). "Formative Assessment in the Design of Instructional Systems," Instructional Science, 18, pp. 119-144.
Sutton, R (2000). Year 8 and Year 9 Overcoming the Muddle in the Middle.
Tunstall, P and Gipps, C (1996). "Teacher Feedback to Young Children in Formative Assessment: A Typology," British Educational Research Journal, 22 (4).
Wiggins, G (1998). Educative Assessment: Designing Assessments to Inform and Improve Student Performance. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Some further references to some of the most important texts on classroom and school-based assessment. Note in particular the OECD's Synergies for Better Learning which is an extensive and authoritative source of many of the key ideas underscoring the junior cycle and other developments. Some relevant quotes from Synergies for Better Learning are also set out below.
Assessment Reform Group (2008) Changing assessment Practice-Process, Principles and Practice. ARG
Black, P. and Wiliam D, (1998) Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment. London School of Education, King's College.
Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B. and Wiliam D. (2002) Working inside the Black Box : Assessment for Learning in the Classroom. London School of Education, King's College.
Black, P. Harrison, C., Hodgen. J., Marsall, M. and Serret, N. (2011) Can teachers' summative judgements produce dependable results and also enhance classroom learning? Assessment in Education (18)
Fullan, M (1993) The Complexity of the change Process. In Change forces: Probing the depth of educational reform. Falmer Press.
Harlen W. (2012) On the Relationship between Assessment for Formative and Summative purposes in Assessment for Learning edited by Gardner J. Sage Press
Hattie, J. and Timperley, H. (2007) The Power of Feedback. rer.sagepub.com
Hattie, J (2011) Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximising Impact on Learning. Routledge
Hayward L., Priestley M., and Young M. (2004) Ruffling the calm of the ocean floor. Taylor and Francis
From OECD (2013) Synergies for Better Learning OECD...
151. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she has costed the additional infrastructure needed for schools to store examination materials securely; if her Department has carried out a cost benefit analysis on the proposed changes to the junior certificate; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47430/14]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 151, 154 and 155 together.
I put a revised proposal on the table on 10th November which is significantly different from that originally proposed. This has not been accepted by the teacher unions.
Reform will be introduced gradually over a period of time and will only be fully implemented in September 2019 (for terminal examination in June 2022). In 2015, €9.3 million has been ringfenced for Junior Cycle reform and there will be no reduction in current costs in 2015. Reductions, if any, would only begin to impact from 2017 (when English the first subject to be introduced is examined).
As you will be aware, my proposals involve continued external marking of all subjects for 60% of the examination by the State Examinations Commission (SEC). In addition, the SEC will be checking a proportion of these marks to ensure consistency, standards and fairness. This will entail additional costs which will need to be fully explored, in the context of the proposed reform.
I will be considering other costs in the context of implementation. This is not a cost saving exercise. It is about the quality of the overall learning experiences of our junior cycle students during these three very important years in their education.