BIS to launch a new education industrial strategy
The BIS is taking the lead in developing an education industrial strategy. Three workshops have taken place so far, with stakeholders, to help inform this process. Two last year, one this (February). A group of education service providers met the exports Minister, Lord Green, last year complaining that not nearly enough was being done to support UK education exports, and what support that existed was piecemeal and lacked strategic direction, unlike our main competitors. (US, Canada, Australia etc).Our officials could ensure better information about local opportunities, potential partners, help with access and research and arrange targeted sector specific delegations. It is now anticipated that a new Strategy will be published in late May, or June of this year.
The BIS has tended to focus mainly on Higher Education, without paying much attention to other education export areas. UK providers are not only opening and running schools abroad, where our independent schools enjoy a formidable reputation, but are also involved with providing advice and support to governments, managing programmes on school improvement, schools inspections, curriculum development, teacher training, examinations and testing and so on. English language teachers and courses are also much in demand. A more activist approach towards industrial policy might help – if directed towards industries such as education where the UK has a competitive advantage. The Government talks big on the need for exports to help drive our recovery but has been remarkably slow about providing support and advice for companies looking at these potential markets, particularly in education. Hopefully the new BIS strategy will lead to a step-change in UK Plcs approach.
Most teachers reach a performance plateau after 3-5 years
Little evidence that teachers improve much after a couple of years
Alex Quigley , a teacher, writing in The Guardian this week ,reminded us that the author, Joshua Foer, originated the term ‘ok plateau’ in his popular science book, Moonwalking with Einstein, on the subject of improving memory. He used it to describe that common autopilot state when you have habitually mastered the basics of a task, but despite being skilled you stop really improving to reach expert status; you simply plateau in performance .Teachers are as prone as any other profession to this state. Indeed evidence, from Rivkin, Hanushek and Kain (2005) (see below), is that after the first couple of years teacher quality reaches a plateau and teacher experience beyond this point has a negligible impact upon student attainment. This, Quigley correctly claims, clashes with our basic presumptions about experience in teaching and it should certainly give us food for thought.
So, what is the evidence, more generally, about the impact of experience on teachers performance?
Experience does make a difference—especially at the beginning of a teacher’s career. On average, teachers with some experience are more effective than brand new teachers.
(Kane,Rockoff and Staiger (2006). “What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness?” NBER Working Paper 12155.)
Teachers improve the most early in their careers. One study found that “close to half of the teacher achievement returns to experience arise during the first few years of teaching.” (Clotfelter, Ladd, and Vigdor (2007). “How and Why Do Teacher Credentials Matter for Student Achievement?” CALDER Working Paper)
The shift from no experience, to some experience, makes the biggest difference. One study found that “the bulk of the experience effects occur during the first year,” while another noted that “the effect of moving from being completely inexperienced to having a full year of experience” matters most.
(Harris and Sass (2007). “Teacher Training, Teacher Quality, and Student Achievement.” CALDER Working Paper ) Boyd, Lankford, Loeb, Rockoff, and Wyckoff (2008). “The Narrowing Gap in Teacher Qualifications and its Implications for Student Achievement.” NBER Working Paper 14021
However, most teachers reach their peak after about five years in the classroom. Teachers gradually reach plateau after 3-5 years on the job.
(Clotfelter, Ladd, and Vigdor (2006). “Teacher-student matching and the assessment of teacher effectiveness.” National Bureau of Economic Research)
As one study put it,“ there is little evidence that improvement continues after the first three years.” (Rivkin, Hanushek, and Kain (2005). “Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement.” Econometrica, 73(2), 417-458.)
Another found that, on average, teachers with 20 years of experience are not much more effective than those with 5 years of experience. (Ladd, Helen F. (2008). “Value-Added Modelling of Teacher Credentials: Policy Implications)
Some studies suggest that effectiveness actually declines toward the end of a teacher’s career. For example, the most experienced high school maths teachers in the States may be less effective than their less experienced colleagues and even their inexperienced colleagues.
(Ladd (2008); Harris and Sass (2007))
Teacher performance varies at all levels of experience. Individual teachers tend to improve with experience, but not all teachers begin their careers with the same skills or rise to the same level.
(Xu, Hannaway,and Taylor (2009). “Making a Difference? The Effects of Teach for America in High School.” CALDER Working Paper 17. National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research)
The fact that a fifth-year teacher is more effective than she was in her first year doesn’t mean she’s more effective than all first-year teachers. In fact, research shows that some less-experienced teachers are more effective than teachers with more experience.
(Sass, Hannaway, Xu, and Figlio (2010). “Value Added of Teachers in High-Poverty and Lower-Poverty Schools.” CALDER Working Paper 52)
One study found that when layoffs are based on seniority alone, about 80% of the novice teachers who get pink slips are more effective than their lowest-performing colleagues who remain. (Goldhaberand Theobold (2010). “Assessing the Determinants and Implications of Teacher Layoffs.” Center for Education Data & Research, University of Washington-Bothell)
There is limited evidence, but not consensus, that returns to experience vary based on how a teacher is assigned over the years—by subject, and by how long they teach the same grade.
(Ost, Ben (2009). “How do Teachers Improve? The Relative Importance of Specific and General Human Capital.” Cornell University)
In teaching experience helps, but it doesn’t tell the full story—and it certainly doesn’t guarantee excellence. As one study of more than a half-million students concluded, “experience is not significantly related to achievement following the initial years in the profession.”
You would have thought that Continuous Professional Development (CPD) should be able to address this challenge. But part of the problem, according to Quigley (an English teacher at Huntington School, York) is ‘ our system of continuous performance development ’.
He writes ‘This system is tied to targets and professional standards that actually inhibit conscientious teachers taking risks and experimenting with new teaching strategies. We set targets, either consciously or subconsciously, so that we may meet them, regardless whether they genuinely improve our practice or not. Gone is the regular critical feedback of our first couple of years. We move into autopilot, often even entering a state of professional inertia.’
Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement Steven G. Rivkin; Eric A. Hanushek; John F. Kain Econometrica, Vol. 73, No. 2. (Mar., 2005), pp. 417-458.
Balance of evidence finds Academies have only small beneficial effects on pupil performance
The latest research from Stephen Machin and Olma Silva from the Centre for Economic Performance asks two basic questions – does school autonomy work? And does it offer scope to improve the lot of disadvantaged students ie those in the lower tail of the education distribution? Their conclusion is probably not, or at least not in England . They write ‘ Whilst there is a paucity of robust and coherent evidence to draw upon, it does not seem unreasonable to say that, on balance, the evidence that does exist at best shows only small beneficial effects on overall pupil performance and very little consistent evidence of improvements for tail students.’
They find little evidence that academies up to 2009, helped pupils in the bottom 10% and 20% of the ability distribution. Furthermore, they find little evidence that late converters (2008 and 2009) had any beneficial effects on pupils of any ability. The authors conclude their research by comparing the experience of UK academies to that of US charter schools and Swedish free schools, and by providing some insights into the reasons why UK academies did not serve ‘the tail’ as is the case for some US charter schools.(the implication here is that charter schools because they have a performance contract ( ie the charter) are held more directly accountable for performance than are academy schools)
In conclusion the authors say ‘ it may be that in the longer run the best academies will flourish and spread their practices across the education market in a tide that lifts all boats and so raises the achievement of pupils of all abilities. However, in order to guarantee that these more autonomous institutions can make a difference for the tail, new ‘rules of the game’ should be designed to make sure that schools have incentives to focus on the most disadvantaged student and, at the same time, are held accountable for their improvements.’
School Structure, School Autonomy and the Tail Stephen Machin and Olmo Silva-Centre for Economic Performance- March 2013
Note. The new Pupil Premium is supposed to provide an incentive for schools to target the most disadvantaged pupils and to close the achievement gap ,although the challenge is to use this extra money on interventions that work. One reliable source tells me that technology companies are seeking to persuade schools that the Pupil Premium is best invested in new computers and education software, although I can find no evidence to back the claim that computers improve the performance of the most disadvantaged pupils.Tackling the long tail of underachievers remains the biggest challenge in education. One hopes and trusts that Ofsted will keep a close eye on how schools use these extra funds.
GREEN DOT SCHOOLS
Twigg warms to Charter chain in USA because of its collaborative approach
The Green Dot Charter schools network operates 18 schools in some of the toughest areas of Los Angeles. Green Dot operates a mix of independent charter and turnaround schools, serving more than 10,000 students in Los Angeles County’s highest need areas. Its student body is statistically identical to the Los Angeles Unified School District’s, mirroring the amount of students that are English language learners, who receive free or reduced lunches, and are students with special needs.
The network has caught the eye of Stephen Twigg MP, the shadow education secretary, (speech to ACSL-16 March). It is unusual for a Labour spokesmen to highlight the performance of charter schools in the USA, as they are private operators, both for profit and not for profit, running municipal schools under a contract (or charter). That said , some Democrats in the States , including the President, much admire charters for the leg up they can give to the most disadvantaged pupils, in the poorest areas. What resonates with Twigg is the fact that Green Dot’s teachers and management worked closely with the California Teachers Association (ie a Union) to develop a contract for its teaching staff that is at one with the mission of Green Dot and also supports a sympathetic professional environment for teachers. This is all about collaboration, a theme Twigg explored in his ACSL speech . He contends that only through collaboration ,within and between schools, can schools and the system improve. He criticises the current government for creating what he sees as an ’atomised ‘system, although, arguably, he helped lay the foundations of this system , when he was in the last government. Green Dot also worked with Randi Weingarten, now president of AFT, and the United Federation of Teachers to create the employment contract for Green Dot New York Charter School. So here is evidence of collaboration in this case not just between schools, but between teachers, students and parents, including on curriculum innovation. And, unlike some Charter schools, unions are recognised. Research conducted by UCLA showed students significantly increased their test scores and took more challenging subjects. Green Dot Public Schools averaged a 20-point increase on the Academic Performance Index scores released by the California Department of Education, with two of its schools exceeding the state’s API goal of 800 for the first time. The performance marked the fourth straight year of gains across Green Dot’s 18 schools.
In 1996, just 19 states had charter legislation in place, and there were only about 250 charters serving some 20,000 pupils. In 2013- 41 states and the District of Columbia had charter laws on the books, and there are more than 2 million students enrolled in 5,600 charter schools.
TEACHING QUALITY AND CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Lessons from the London Challenge?
Research from the London School of Economics for the Sutton Trust has shown that English schools could move into the world’s top five education performers within a decade if the performance of the least effective 10% of teachers were brought up to the average. So, how do we improve the quality of teaching in our schools? The Teacher Development Trust cites research from New Zealand on the impact of high-quality CPD on the education outcomes of children, where children taught by teachers on high-quality CPD programmes were improving twice as fast as those in other classes. The improvement is more pronounced for those deemed in the 20% ‘least able,’ who made improvements four to six times as fast as their peers. The important point here is that CPD has to be high quality. Sadly,historically, much CPD hasn’t been high quality. Simply sending teachers to an occasional external course will have little or no effect on them, or on student outcomes, for that matter. Thomas Guskey has identified, in his research on evaluating CPD, that impacts of CPD must be measured through children’s outcomes. Schools have to be led by the evidence on what works to improve their pupils’ education.
Currently, there is a growing body of resources for schools to draw on. The Sutton Trust’s Pupil Premium Toolkit, the York Informed Practice Initiative (YIPI) and the Teacher Development Trust’s Good CPD Guide web site are all very useful in this respect.
Stephen Twigg, the Shadow Education Secretary, believes that we can learn much from the London Challenge about effective CPD. So, what can we learn? He writes: (Teaching Leaders Quarterly-March 2013): ‘There are three policy lessons. We need a system of challenge and support. Stick without the carrot might make popular headlines but it will do little to change the outcomes of the children served by underperforming teachers. London Challenge advisors set clear and ambitious new standards. But they did so by working in collaboration with teachers to get buy in. Second, working across schools underpinned the programme. Teachers would receive training from high performing colleagues in other schools. It is clear that being in a different setting was an important aspect for learning new and improved ways to teach. Third, the evidence from Ofsted’s evaluation of London Challenge found that where teachers were trained on improved teaching and learning strategies, this led to lasting legacies in their schools. Crucially, the impact was not only felt by schools in receipt of the support from partner schools, it was also felt by host schools.
The Logical Chain (Ofsted, 2006) noted that: ‘Few schools evaluated the impact of CPD on teaching and learning successfully’ a situation that appears not to have changed much.
Thomas Guskey (2000) introduced a significant focus on evaluating CPD through the impact it had on learning outcomes for young people. Guskey sees impact as being achieved at five potential levels:
organisation support and change
participants’ use of new knowledge and skills
student learning outcomes
Crucially, he argues that we need to pay attention to all five levels of impact if the goal of improving classroom learning is to be achieved, especially levels 2 – 5.
Following Guskey, Goodall et al investigated the range of evaluative practices for CPD. Using Guskey’s levels as a framework, they found that schools lacked experience, skills and tools to evaluate the impact of CPD.
(Acknowledgments to the Teacher Development Trust)
Strong statistically significant results for KIPP students that are better than their peers
As of the 2012–2013 school year, 125 KIPP schools are in operation in 20 different states and the District of Columbia (DC). Ultimately, KIPP’s goal is to prepare students to enrol and succeed in college.
KIPPs approach is different. It is particularly keen on structured, ‘meaningful’ approaches to character development in its schools This is rooted in the research of Dr. Martin Seligman (Universityof Pennsylvania) and Dr. Chris Peterson (University of Michigan) that identifies 24 character strengths as leading to engaged, meaningful, and purposeful lives. Its not just about academic attainment. Resilience and character matter even more, if students are to succeed in education and life.
There is a research partnership between KIPP NYC and Dr. Angela Duckworth (University of Pennsylvania), KIPP which informs the focus on seven highly predictive strengths: zest, grit, self-control, optimism, gratitude, social intelligence, and curiosity. They have integrated their own experiences as teachers with the research of Seligman, Peterson, and Duckworth to create a road map for the development of each strength. So KIPP schools seek to see how they can integrate a more structured and measurable approach to character development.
Prior research has suggested that KIPP schools have positive impacts on student achievement, but most of the studies have included only a few KIPP schools or have had methodological limitations.
This is the second report of a national evaluation of KIPP middle schools being conducted by Mathematica Policy Research. The evaluation uses ‘experimental and quasi-experimental methods to produce rigorous and comprehensive evidence on the effects of KIPP middle schools across the country. The study’s first report, released in 2010, described strong positive achievement impacts in maths and reading for the 22 KIPP middle schools for which data were available at the time. This most recent study, conducted by Mathematica, is the most rigorous research yet on KIPP schools and shows that the Knowledge Is Power Program, provides a significant learning boost to middle school students in multiple subjects. It also found that while KIPP serves more low-income students than public school peers, it serves fewer special education students and English language learners. The report states ‘The average impact of KIPP on student achievement is positive, statistically significant, and educationally substantial. KIPP impact estimates are consistently positive across the four academic subjects examined, in each of the first four years after enrolment in a KIPP school, and for all measurable student subgroups’. Three years after students enroll in KIPP schools, they had 11 more months of maths knowledge than their peers, according to the study. The research showed KIPP students had eight more months of reading knowledge, 14 more months of science knowledge, and 11 more months of social studies knowledge. Charter schools are publicly funded, but can be privately run. KIPP is one of the best known chains. KIPP schools often feature a longer school day, carefully selected teachers, a strict discipline code, parental contract, and teachers available to parents after school hours. The Mathematica study accounted for the common critique that KIPP’s results are skewed because the school attracts the kids of highly-motivated parents, said Philip Gleason, who directed the research. In 13 of the 43 schools Mathematica investigated, the firm compared KIPP students with children who entered the KIPP lottery, but did not receive slots in KIPP schools. The researchers said the positive results held steady for the KIPP students. The study did find though that KIPP’s ‘behavioural’ modifications contributed to academic performance. KIPP schools that reported a “comprehensive” approach toward behaviour saw greater positive effects than schools that did not. But ‘KIPP has no statistically significant effect on a variety of measures of student attitudes that may be related to long-run academic success. The estimated KIPP impacts on indices of student-reported self-control, academic self-concept, school engagement, effort/persistence in school, and educational aspirations are not statistically significant.’ KIPP schools that had a longer than average school day had smaller positive effects on student performance. The report says this might be because the KIPP schools with longer days than others often focused their extended hours on non-academic areas. KIPP students do from 35 minutes to 53 minutes more nightly homework than their peers, yet reported they were more satisfied with school than peers, according to the study.
KIPP Middle Schools: Impacts on Achievement and Other Outcomes Final Report- February 27, 2013- Christina Clark Tuttle Brian Gill Philip Gleason Virginia Knechtel Ira Nichols-Barrer Alexandra Resch
Charter schools are the fastest-growing sector of public education, taking root in most U.S. states, thanks to a big push by the education reform lobby and the federal government’s ’Race to the Top’ competition. One of the defining features of Charter schools is that they operate on the basis of a ‘charter’, i.e. a performance contract granted for three to five years, defining the school’s mission and goals, as well as the type of students it aims to attract. Charter schools are then held accountable to their sponsor (for example a local school board), which assesses whether these stated aims have been achieved and – if not – eventually revokes the charter.
Private schools forced to admit 10% of pupils free in challenge to their independence
Private schools in Karachi, in Sindh province, Pakistan, are set to challenge, in court, the new free education Bill, which binds them to reserve 10 percent admissions for disadvantaged and ‘ terrorism-affected’ children between five and 16 years. Schools will not be allowed to charge fees to these pupils nor subject the child or parents to ‘any screening procedure except academic merit’. Any transgressor will be heavily fined according to the Bills provisions. How this will operate in practice remains to be seen.
The decision to go to court was taken in a recent meeting convened at the regional office of the Beaconhouse School System and attended by representatives of about a dozen private school chains. During the hour-long roundtable conference, one of the key issues raised in the meeting according to local media reports was the “unfairness of the government’s decision to shove the burden of their negligence on private schools” via the ‘Sindh Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill, 2013’. “Giving free education to citizens is the duty of the state,” said a representative of a school, who chose to remain anonymous.
Those attending the meeting said that the government, on the one hand, gives no relaxation to the private sector in terms of taxes and refuses them ‘ amenity plots,’ but on the other hand, expects them to take on additional responsibilities. They, understandably, claim that this is unfair.
They also expressed concern over “political admissions”. A representative asked how they could be sure that the decision of admissions of terrorism-affected children was not actually forced on them by political parties. The scope enabling politicians to abuse this arrangement does, on the face of it, look limitless. Politicians could potentially dispense patronage by awarding their friends and relatives ’free’ education, on a spurious pretext.
They said they were prepared to adopt government schools and do their part for the society, but objected strongly to direct intervention by the government which threatens their independence. As things stand private schools fill some of the gaps left by the governments failure to provide education.
The meeting was attended by representatives of Karachi Grammar School, Happy Home School, Habib Public School, The International School, Nixor College, Beaconhouse School System, Happy Palace Grammar School, Beacon Light Academy and others.
There are around 16,000 private schools across Sindh that form 40 percent of the education sector. Low cost private schools are popular within disadvantaged communities. These schools, like other private schools, worldwide , cherish their independence and are worried about political interference, particularly, in this instance, against the backdrop of an increasingly volatile political environment.
New book argues for proper competition and incentives to improve quality within the education system
Gabriel Sahlgren, the head of research at the pro-market CMRE think tank, launched his new book ‘ Incentivising Excellence: school choice and education quality’ this week. He argues that there is much evidence that competition works in education but that when politicians introduce competition to schools systems it is always limited and hedged and rarely has meaningful incentives in place to improve outcomes.Certain conditions have to exist before competition can work to deliver improved outcomes. These conditions are often ignored or exist only in part. More often than not incentives are unrelated to quality . Vouchers can and do work but they must be differentiated and well targeted in order, for example, to help disadvantaged pupils. There is much evidence that autonomy works but it must be embedded within a high quality accountability framework. He wants competition between schools but collaboration between teachers . He said there is evidence that the initial academies have improved outcomes but overall progress has not ,to date ,been particularly significant, partly because academies have limited autonomy and partly because of limited incentives within the system.Failing schools dont close and outstanding schools rarely expand to meet demand. Profit making schools are important to drive systemic improvement. There is little evidence that Swedish reform would successfully have increased competition and educational attainment without the profit motive. This is something the UK government should learn from he says. Sahlgren noted that Sweden’s recent relative decline in Pisa ratings has nothing to do with introducing competition. Indeed competition has actually ensured that Swedens decline is less than it would otherwise have been. Sweden’s problem is that it has very weak accountability measures and poor on-going information on schools and student performance, compounded by changes in teaching practice that focus more on group teaching and learning than the needs of individual learners.
Sahlgren wants, among other things , to see a major pilot for vouchers, as well as profit making schools operating within the state system. Parents could be given a voucher for the cost of their childs education in a state school ie just over £5,200 pa in a secondary school (£4,100 pa- Primary). If parents shop around then some schools may fail but that is a price that has to be paid if competition is to benefit the system overall.
An innovative way of financing education is via cash transfers to schools based on enrolments or by providing cash to families to purchase schooling – in other words- through vouchers. It is often assumed that those who promote vouchers are from the libertarian right. Some may be, of course, but there are many on the left of the political spectrum who like the idea of targeted vouchers, specifically to help the most disadvantaged pupils to gain access to good public schools. It is often forgotten that in the USA one major vouchers supporter is Michelle Rhee, a Democrat, who was a reformist chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools from 2007 to 2010.
THE MIDDLE YEARS PROGRAMME OF THE INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE-RESEARCH SHOWS PARENTS PUPILS AND TEACHERS POSITIVE ABOUT ITS BENEFITS
THE MIDDLE YEARS PROGRAMME OF IB
Few schools run the MYP but teachers parents and pupils like it, according to NFER research
The International Baccalaureate (IB), it is often forgotten, operates at three levels: the Primary Years Programme- for students aged between 5 and 11, the Middle Years Programme (MYP) -for those aged between 11 and 16 and the Diploma Programme in the Sixth Form, 16 -18. The last format is the most common in the UK.
Indeed , the Primary and Middle Years levels are rarely taught in the UK . Currently,13 schools in the UK offer the Primary Years Programme , 11 schools offer the Middle Years Programme and 189 schools offer the Diploma Programme .
Wellington College is one of the select few to offer both the Middle Years and Diploma programmes of the IB. Wellingtons Master, Dr Anthony Seldon, admitted, when he introduced the MYP, a few years ago, that it was a risk. He introduced it because of his, ( and some pupils and parents) disillusionment with the GCSE format, and the GCSES perceived failure to enable the delivery of a rounded education. Many have criticised the GCSE format ,with Seldon one of its leading critics. But he did more than criticise. He offered an alternative.
The IB, generally, educates around 5,000 students, most of whom are in state schools. The UK is now the third largest user of the IB worldwide .However ,quite a few schools which offer the IB diploma , also offer, concurrently, A levels as an option. Perversely, recent performance tables on university entry subjects ignored the IB Diploma Programme and Pre-U, two existing alternatives to A levels.
In GCSEs subjects are discrete collections of facts grouped by academic disciplines. However there is a growing feeling among teachers that pupils need to explore the connections between subjects. Interdisciplinary, joined up learning, they believe, really matters. Subjects shouldn’t be taught in silos. With GCSEs there does seem to be an assumption that there is a finite body of knowledge and a right answer (known by the teacher, to be used in the exam).Examiners have strict guidelines to follow which some feel punishes the brightest who do not deliver formulaic answers. But knowledge is an “exploding”, ever expanding concept so the ability to be critical, to think outside artificial boundaries and to be reflective, is essential for life-long learning and individual development. In short, the IB in its various incarnations (not to be confused with the Ebacc) believes in the autonomy of subjects and academic disciplines, but also in their connectivity and for the need for pupils to be global in their outlook. It also encourages the kind of disciplines, including intellectual inquiry and critical thinking, much in demand among employers, and universities, but which are in short supply.
So, are there any downsides?. Possibly. The IB formats are demanding on both teachers and students and require a degree of self-reliance and discipline which in not always evident in pupils. And because they demand more teachers’ time they are more expensive to deliver than other formats. Anthony Seldon has pointed out too that there is a perception that the IB receives unsympathetic offers from some universities, and this is having a direct impact on the number opting to sit the diploma. Recent research by Anna Vignoles and Francis Green ,of the Institute of Education, uncovered a systematic underestimating of top applicants with IB qualifications. But those IB students who are accepted by top universities, they find, tend to perform better than similar A-level students and are more likely to achieve upper-second-class degrees or firsts.
But what of the MYP? One noteworthy aspect of the MYP is that it comes in two basic forms. Either a school, can take the more expensive route seeking the MYP as a full stand-alone qualification: ie with certification (which is what Wellington College has opted for), or schools go the other non-certification route and use it as a way station to the IB Diploma, which is what most schools, using the MYP in the UK, do. However if a pupil leaves school, at 16, for whatever reason, and has been studying the MYP, but not with certification, then they will leave with no qualification to show to future employers, which might be a consideration for some parents.
Dr Seldon will be particularly pleased by the findings of a recent an NFER report on the IB Middle Years programme. The NFER conducted an investigation into the teaching and learning benefits of the IB MYP, in the UK. The aim was to provide a rich qualitative picture of the programme implementation in the UK, including the impact of the MYP on non-scholastic attributes such as international mindedness and civic engagement, classroom learning environments and school culture. The research design included a comparison of IBMYP, GCSE and IGCSE curriculum and assessment documents, online surveys of teachers, students and parents, and four detailed qualitative case studies.
The Key findings:
IBMYP, GCSE and iGCSE curriculums covered broadly similar content, but IBMYP had a greater focus on thinking skills and international mindedness.
Teachers, students and parents were overwhelmingly positive about the programme and its benefits, although did acknowledge some challenges, especially in regard to public recognition in the UK.
MYP in the UK:
Promotes a teaching style and school ethos valued by teachers, parents and students;
Develops students as independent learners, critical thinkers and active citizens, and encourages involvement in local and global communities;
Impacts positively on school culture and classroom environments – promotes feedback and reflection, engaging and motivating for students and teachers;
MYP students demonstrate greater awareness of global issues, greater interest in understanding other cultures and greater self-efficacy and sense of civic responsibility (local and global) than other students in the UK.
Teachers had positive views on the programme, but some teachers held negative views about the MYP qualification. In particular, the lack of recognition in the UK was identified as problematic. Some uncertainty was expressed about how the qualification would be perceived by universities.
Offering the MYP alongside the National Curriculum was identified as the main challenge of delivery and development of the MYP. Some teachers expressed the view that schools cannot deliver both programmes effectively.
The majority of students said they enjoyed participating in the programme and acknowledged the benefits of its focus on critical thinking and reflection whilst accepting the greater workload they perceived, compared with other courses. Students, unlike parents and teachers, expressed less concern that the IB MYP qualification may be less useful than GCSE or IGCSE courses. A number of students felt that too much reflection was required and some felt that the assessment criteria could be clearer.
The survey found ‘IB MYP students reported high levels of awareness on issues such as diversity, social justice, human rights, sustainable development, conflict resolution and interdependence as well as understanding how cultural values and assumptions shape behaviours. Although ‘self-reported’, and therefore to be interpreted with some caution, the awareness levels of IB MYP students were significantly different from, and higher than, those of students in non IB schools; they were also more likely to cite school assemblies, lessons and trips alongside family and friends as major sources of learning about these issues. In terms of their attitudes and beliefs in relation to global issues, the responses of IB MYP students were significantly different; more said they like learning about 110 different cultures and people with different backgrounds than non-IB students. They also demonstrated more strongly positive views in terms of ‘self- efficacy‘ in relation to the global issues mentioned i.e. the extent to which, as individuals, could make a difference or contribute to the global community. In terms of citizenship self-efficacy, the belief in one’s own ability to participate in citizenship issues, identified as a driver of participatory citizenship in adulthood, IB MYP students were more likely than non IB students to report that they thought they could do the following well: argue their point of view about a controversial political or social issue; follow a television debate about a controversial issue; speak in front of the class about a social or political issue or discuss a newspaper article about a conflict between countries. Finally, when asked about actions they might become involved in the next few years, IB MYP students were more likely than non-IB students to report that they would volunteer time to help people in the local community, talk to others about their views on political and social issues and join an organisation for a political or social cause. All of the non-scholastic attributes displayed by IB MYP students and discussed above reflect the IB ethos and demonstrate that the students espouse the values the MYP strives to promote.
Whether or not the IB continues to expand probably depends on whether reforms to GCSEs and A levels offer, to some degree at least ,what the IB is currently offering to parents and pupils. (unlikely as things stand, but there is a way to go) The IB exists because there is a demand for what it offers to students, because it claims not to be subject to grade inflation and because of the perception ,among some stakeholders, that GCSEs, and to some extent, A levels, are not fit for purpose. Will the IB expand significantly into State schools? On cost grounds alone, this seems unlikely, over the medium term. And while this report on the MYP is broadly positive ,the big question is that -if its so good, why have so few schools opted to take up the qualification?
NFER-Report for the International Baccalaureate
International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) in the UK-2013
- PAYING FOR RESULTS-CAN IT HELP RAISE PERFORMANCE- OR DOES IT CORRUPT THE LOVE OF LEARNING?
- PROSPECTS JOINS MUTUAL JOINT VENTURE TO DELIVER PUBLIC SERVICES-GOVERNMENT KEEN ON EMPLOYEE OWNED MUTUALS DELIVERING PUBLIC SERVICES
- PROFESSOR TONY WATTS RESIGNS FROM THE NATIONAL CAREERS COUNCIL
- EDISON LEARNING AND THE NAHT UNION LAUNCH A SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT INITIATIVE WITH DFE BACKING
- THE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF ACADEMIES-WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE ARE CONCERNS?
- PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE REPORT ON ACADEMIES-SOME CONCERNS OVER FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
- CAIRNS OF BRIGHTON COLLEGE BACKS ACADEMIES
- IS CAREERS ADVICE IN SCHOOLS EFFECTIVE OR IS IT TOO EARLY TO SAY?
- LEMOVS TEACH LIKE A CHAMPION -TOP TECHNIQUES USED BY THE BEST TEACHERS
- THE PUPIL PREMIUM AND SPECIAL SCHOOLS
- EDUCATION EXPORTS-NEW GOVERNMENT STRATEGY IN THE WINGS?
- INSPECTING ACADEMY CHAINS-ON THE AGENDA
- Careers advice and Guidance
- Charity Status
- Charter School
- Coalition Education Policy
- Conservative policy
- Discipline and Truancy
- early years learning
- education market
- education quangos
- education reform
- Free schools
- higher education
- Home Education
- independent schools
- primary schools
- Public Services Reform
- published letters
- Pupil Support
- quality assurance
- quality assurance and inspection
- school governance
- secondary schools
- Secure Estate
- SPECIAL NEEDS
- teachers and teaching
- Think tanks
- us education system
- Youth policy