I thought the point about null testing was true just as much in science as in education. If children got more of the story that was along the lines of “I don’t know why it happens yet but I know it isn’t that” then it might lead away from that feeling that the teacher/scientist has to know everything. Likewise, if no-one can show any positive effect for an intervention ever, with any group, why carry on doing the intervention?
As regards the business about school variation not mattering so much, this may be true statistically but I doubt it’s true on an individual level. For large numbers of pupils which school you go to may not matter so much but schools are not purely randomly selected in any sample I’ve come across. So for an individual child it will matter which school they go to – but the school should be matched with the child.
It was very interesting what he had to say about the success of certain initiatives. Was it something like £70 million for each of 5 years (£350 million in total) for the National Strategies resulting in one child per school going up one KS level? Was it per year? Whether SPN is effective or not we know that compared to those figures we’ll have done something much more worthwhile even if it’s only made teachers happy for a while.
Involvment in a project on formative assessment increasing rate of learning by 70% is unclear. Is it the involvment in a project that helps (so any project that makes you more enthusiastic and makes you examine your teaching) or the formative assessment or a bit of both?
The question on slide 13 is quite bad. I wonder if the question setters actually tried it with a vareity of thermometers and objects. I know what they’re getting at though.
I thought his question about how to think about the curriculum had an obvious answer – make it something that allows teachers to teach well. Don’t bog it down with ideas that are hard to teach. It doesn’t have to be easy but things that are conceptually difficult and hard to teach should be excluded. As should conceptually easy ideas that are hard to bring alive (like how a power station works etc). Talking to teachers about what topics they feel they do a really good job with would be a start. Personally Chapter 10 in Advancing Physics was a beautiful teaching sequence which I thought was so good you could have done it with GCSE classes. Likewise some of the ideas that go with the em spectrum that are in some of the Central Workshops from the Teachers Network I think make it possible to teach at KS3 rather than 4.