The thinking that now dominates expectations of the assessment of achievement originated in this statement first made in 2014 by Christine Counsell and Michael Fordham. At the time they were seeking ways to describe progress post 2014, when sensibly, levels and points and associated rigmarole were abandoned as a waste of time and effort. The phrase has since been adopted by educationalists and OFSTED alike, and leaders in schools need to be very clear in their understanding of this “new” model that has such a bearing on the provision in our schools today.
Quite simply, the school curriculum should not be a list of what needs to be learned over time, but should indicate clear sequences in the learning that enable learners to build concepts and schemata sequentially as a result of what, and how they are taught. In its INTENT the planned Curriculum models the progress which we hope (but cannot guarantee) pupils will make during their time in school.
The Curriculum, as a model for progress, should simply be regarded as a way to clearly describe the journey the learner needs to go on to get better at something.
The more carefully teachers and leaders specify curriculum INTENT (where learners start, where they are expected to get to in the short term and the long term), the easier it will be to assess if pupils have learned what was intended.
These then become Curriculum Related Expectations (CREs) as opposed to Age Related Expectations (AREs). The difference between the two is subtle but important.
AREs are a national, standardised expectation of what pupils should be able to know and do at a certain age regardless of what they have been taught, whilst CREs are what we expect pupils to know and do in the specific contexts of what they have been taught. The assumption is therefore, that if pupils fail to learn what is intended, then either the planned Curriculum or the teaching has failed. The quality of the curriculum and the teaching and learning will be judged externally by the IMPACT it has on the learners over time.
The RECEIVED curriculum is a specific plan of what pupils in the school need to know and by when, so that they know and understand that which they need to, in order to tackle the next stage in their journey.
For pupils to be judged to have made progress they need to demonstrate, not only that they have MORE knowledge, but also that they have organised it into a DEEPER understanding that they can use reliably as they continue to learn.
Leaders and teachers in schools need to be ambitious for their pupils, ENSURING that the learning journey is well planned. Additionally, they need to be able to ASSURE others that as a model the School’s planned Curriculum is both appropriate and effective.
Jenny Short Inspir-ed January 2021