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					QCA/OFSTED/SECONDARY NATIONAL STRATEGY/NAIGS/SCIENCE LEARNING CENTRES KEY STAGE 3 CURRICULUM REVIEW CONFERENCES

EVALUATION REPORT OF REVIEW OF KEY STAGE 3 PROGRAMME OF STUDY FOR SCIENCE FOR 2008 This series of conferences was held at Science Learning Centres in York, Southampton and London. At the conferences, QCA and Ofsted provided a background to the changes, and address possible implications for teaching, learning and planning. This was followed by a whole group discussion on some of the issues surrounding the proposed changes and a first look at the proposed programme of study. In the afternoon, there were then several group sessions to choose from, depending on the particular interests of the representatives. At these sessions, advisers and science teachers were able to spend a few minutes giving an example of good practice relevant to the group discussion. The conferences were very successful in the view of delegates. Relatively few delegates wrote qualifying comments, and this was in a context where the grades they gave showed high levels of satisfaction. The evaluation report simply presents the data from the evaluation forms completed by delegates; a total of 205 completed forms were received. The format of the report addresses each section of the evaluation form in turn. SUMMARY From all the evaluation forms there are some major elements that are seen in the views expressed:  The administration for the conference, the flow of information, the presentations, and the materials to support discussions were thought to be very good.  While there were some requests for more conferences to allow more choice to delegates, the principle of consultation with teachers and local authorities was valued.  The structure of the day was thought fit for purpose; discussions were well chaired and guided through clearly focussed prompts.  The quality of discussions and the opportunity for delegates to contribute to those discussions were rated as generally very good in all conferences and all sessions.  Delegates also valued opportunity to take part in the review and expressed a strong willingness to continue to contribute, and a desire to be kept informed.

How successful was conference in helping Knowledge, Skills & Understanding (K,S,U)?
50% 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grades 5 6 7

All delegates rated the success of the conference in helping their knowledge , skills and understanding as at least satisfactory, and 97% rated the success as good or better, 79% thought it was very good or excellent. Of those who added written comment, many were pleased that QCA had involved them in the review and delegates were keen to continue offering their views.

How good were the organisation and management of the conference?
50% 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grades 5 6 7

Percentage Of Responses

Percentage of Responses

Delegates rated the organisation of the conferences highly, with 95% judging this as good or better. The 3% who thought it unsatisfactory wanted more information prior to the conferences and full listings of delegates attending. The large majority were very positive about the quality of information received and management of the recruitment process.

How good were the venue and refreshments?
40%

Percentage Of Responses

35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grades 5 6 7

While still being rated as strongly positive there were more areas of concern expressed for this item. 92% of delegates rated the quality of venue and refreshments as good. At all the venues there were some negative comments about the size of rooms, with London and Southampton having the size of the plenary room described as too small, while at York the room size problem was confined to discussion group locations. York was described as too cold by those who commented, but most delegates thought the facilities were excellent. Car parking at York was described as problematic, but the quality of the food was rated highly, even though some delegates thought they had to wait too long to obtain their meals. Problems with food at the other venues were confined to a few delegates who were either unsure of the vegetarian provenance or they felt that there was too much fried food.

Conference Grade
60%

Percentage Of Responses

50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grades 5 6 7

97% of delegates rated the conferences as at least satisfactory. 93% thought they were good or better with 79% rating them as very good or better. The clear format of the day that had focussed discussion in well chaired groups was greatly appreciated. A very small number of delegates were expecting a dissemination conferences; this was at variance to the clearly expressed purposes of the conference. Of those who gave written comments the large majority expressed positive views of QCA involving them and consulting practitioners. Many delegates expressed a wish to be kept informed of the progress of the review of KS3 and a willingness to contribute further. The outcomes of each of the discussion sessions are given as a PowerPoint presentation on the CD in a file called ‘PowerPoint of Collated group responses.ppt’. The views of delegates on these sessions are given below.

Discussion: Reviewing the Curriculum How successful was this session in helping you to explore this issue and develop K,S,U?
50% 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grades 5 6 7

This session, which all delegates attended, clearly provided a good opportunity for them to explore the issue of reviewing the curriculum with 95% of delegates rating it as at least satisfactory and 84% good or better. Success was attributed by delegates to good chairing of the discussion and the well focussed agenda. Time was cited as a constraint by a few delegates. The details given by QCA on the review process and Ofsted’s presentation on good practice in the classroom were both cited as of good quality and thought provoking. How good was the quality of discussion and the opportunities to contribute?

Percentage Of Responses

Percentage Of Responses

50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grades 5 6 7

Although 94% of delegates rated this as satisfactory, 84% rated the opportunity to contribute as good or better. Beyond their positive comments delegates used the evaluation form to express their views, such as the need to prevent published text books being used as schemes of work in school; the need for assessment tools/tests to truly reflect the desired science curriculum rather than distort it. Delegates described the big issue as being how to ensure the correct balance between content of KS3 and pedagogy. They thought the materials that QCA produce in support of the new PoS will be hugely influential.

Group Discussion 1: Level Descriptions How successful was this session in helping you to explore this issue and develop K,S,U?

45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grades 5 6 7

Delegates found this discussion to be of high quality with 75% rating it very good or better and the largest proportion rated it as excellent. The challenges of level descriptions were clearly important and delegates who expressed a view wanted to ensure level descriptions were useful to staff and students and be applicable across the broad range of work in science.

Percentage Of Responses

How good was the quality of discussion and the opportunities to contribute?
Percentage Of Responses
50% 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grades 5 6 7

By far the largest portion of delegates rated the quality of discussion and their opportunity to contribute as excellent. Group Discussion 2: Tests & Other Assessments How successful was this session in helping you to explore this issue and develop K,S,U?
45%

Percentages Of Responses

40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grades 5 6 7

Delegates who commented were pleased to have been exposed to the ideas of others and that thinking ‘out of the box’ had been stimulating. All delegates felt the session was at least satisfactory, and 79% thought it very good or excellent.

How good was the quality of discussion and the opportunities to contribute?
60%

Percentage Of Responses

50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grades 5 6 7

Almost half the delegates rated the opportunity to contribute and quality of discussion as excellent. While the challenges to create an assessment system well matched to the desired PoS were recognised, the largest doubt (expressed by very few) was the capacity of schools to respond to such activities as online assessment. Group Discussion 3: Assessing Progress In Science & Other Level Exemplification How successful was this session in helping you to explore this issue and develop K,S,U?
40%

Percentage Of Responses

35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grade 5 6 7

76% of delegates found this session excellent or very good in helping them consider formative assessment measures. How good was the quality of discussion and the opportunities to contribute?
40%

Percentage Of Responses

35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grade 5 6 7

There were very few written comments on this session which was rated very highly by delegates. The importance of planning assessment into the scheme of work was stressed, and guidance on this was hoped for from QCA. Group Discussion 4: Schemes Of Work & Other Teaching & Learning Exemplification How successful was this session in helping you to explore this issue and develop K,S,U?
Percentage Of Responses
50% 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grade 5 6 7

Some delegates found it difficult to imagine quite what the PoS would look like and how the move from the present to the future will be made. The few who expressed a view thought this would be a challenge particularly if the exemplification was to avoid being taken as statutory. How good was the quality of discussion and the opportunities to contribute?
45%

Percentage Of Responses

40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grade 5 6 7

85% of delegates thought the quality of discussion and their opportunity to contribute was at least good. The very few disappointed delegates related their negative experience to poor chairing. Group 5: Big Ideas, Key Concepts & The Key Processes How successful was this session in helping you to explore this issue and develop K,S,U?
45%

Percentage Of Responses

40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grade 5 6 7

85% of delegates thought the session was good or better in helping them to explore this issue. Delegates who commented attributed the success to the structure and focus of sessions and the good chairing of groups. How good was the quality of discussion and the opportunities to contribute?
45%

Percentage Of Responses

40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 1 2 3 4 Grade 5 6 7

The same high levels of approval were seen in this session with 90% of delegates rating the quality of discussion ands their opportunity to contribute as good or better. Of those who commented the clarity of purpose and the relatively small group sizes all contributed to the high quality of this session.


				
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