Thursday, 7 May 2009

A good idea from the assessment experts on transition

The expert group on assessment has plenty of sensible recommendations in their report, including on the importance of keeping English and Maths tests at 11. But one that may get overlooked amidst the understandable focus on testing is their idea that schools should do an extended study which pupils would start at primary school and complete in secondary school. Transition is a difficult time for many pupils, and they often fall back after starting in the more impersonal secondary school environment. This study would not only provide a bridge between the two; it would also provide opportunities for the broader education that the unions complain is being lost by the tests. The idea has already been tried in some London schools, and should be tried more widely.

1 comment:

Glen Thomas said...

A lot is made of the transition to secondary school, but all the research I'm aware of is missing something important - controls.

It is one thing to note that many pupils switch off after arriving at a new school, but much or all that may be caused by children becoming teenagers.

I am not aware of any research that compares children moving to secondary from primary schools with pupils that have key stages 3 and 4 in the same school. When I contacted the authors of research in this area a few years ago to ask about controls, they replied that they were also unaware of anyone producing such robust research - a limitation of social science methodologies I suppose.

Coordinating practices between schools may be a good thing, but I don't thing there is any evidence that it will improve pupil concentration rates.