As part of a pre-reading task for a course I’m starting I’ve been asked to read/look over/ familiarise myself with the Pulitzer prize winning* Ofsted report: Made to Measure.
Seeing as it weighs in at a whopping 103 pages of fun and excitement, I figured I would highlight, comment and generally balls my way around the report in the hopes of :-
a: keeping myself sane and…
b: actually help some of the more interesting/ important bits stay in my head!
With that said let’s dive in…
*May have made that bit up
We’ve seen some improvements during the last three years… … But our report clearly highlights three worrying problems which need to be tackled.
Ok, good start. Things to improve, let’s take a look at what they are!
1: Pupils not fulfilling potential… something about too many pupils sitting early entry and not progressing past a grade C… can’t imagine why…*cough*ofcourseIcan*cough* surely it can’t be to do with pressures from organsations like Ofsted to achieve a baseline level… or else…
2: Too many of the pupils who have had a poor start to mathematics not catching up. Quite worrying yes and possibly a sign of some systematic failure in the way maths is taught on a national level?
3: Too much variance within the actual teaching of the mathematics, Ofsted claims it can differ widely even within the same school.
Things are getting juicy now!
… Wait! Stop the presses! I want to quote this…
We also urge the Department for Education to raise national mathematical ambition and take action to improve pupils’ mathematical knowledge and understanding.
Now over the last few years we’ve seen a BUTTLOAD of the second bit (introduction of the new exams etc) but I’m struggling to think of any time in the last few years the DfE have gone loopy and actually promoted the subject in the mainstream media as the hottest thing since Daryl Dixon’s scruffy haircut. (im sorry DfE, but giving a thumbs up about how important maths is as a ‘talking head’ on a news story isn’t going to cut it…)
approx 2 pages of recap… then…
While weak performance was generally challenged robustly, attention to the mathematical detail, so crucial in improving teachers’ expertise, was lacking. Moreover, information gleaned from monitoring and data analysis was rarely used to secure better quality provision, usually because analysis was linked to intervention and revision and monitoring focused on generic characteristics rather than pinpointing the subject-specific weaknesses
ok, this is pretty interesting. Lot’s of praise for how the secondary sector is using the data to identify and challenge under performing pupils but criticising the generality of the help given.
- Intervention should be more focused on attaining mathematical rigor on a few topics rather than the broad area of… geometry for example.
[About outstanding schools]… The schools focused on building pupils’ fluency with, and understanding of, mathematics.
BOOM! There it is!
It took 7 pages but we’ve done it guys! The first mention of fluency!
Just as I think it can’t get any better…
Being ‘made to measure’ might describe schools’ perceptions of, and reaction to, the pressures to raise standards. However, the aim for all schools should be to secure high calibre, ‘made-to-measure’ mathematics provision to optimise every pupil’s chance of the best mathematics education.
They actually did it! They mentioned the report name, in the report! How meta!
ok, all joking aside the report makes a lot of sense so far and has very worthwhile (if a little lofty) goals.
Summary of Key Findings.
- Low attainment is a self fulfilling prophecy. Especially bad amongst the Pupil Premium cohort.
The best schools tackled mathematical disadvantage with expert insight and ambitious determination
- Unless we (the collective we) do better, the future mathematical needs of the country would be lacking.
- GCSE’s have got easier… Seems they’ve fixed this now…
- KS2 results are up, KS1 plateaued. (theres more but meh, that’s the long and short of it!)
- More stuff about intervention and early entry (Zzzz…)
…attaining a key threshold does not represent adequate mastery of skills and sufficient depth of conceptual understanding to prepare pupils for the next stage of mathematics education. [teaching to the test it would seem!]
- KS4 teaching often better than KS3… (seriously though! Why the hell do we still have Key stages in maths? “Oh no you can’t study this section of maths! you’re not KS4 yet!…”)
- Some serious issues with KS3 teaching (so much so they decided it needed its own key point!)
- Too much teaching to the test still happening and whilst it’s improved, assessment in lessons still needs work.
- Professional subject knowledge development not up to scratch in a lot of schools. Needs more support networks
- Problems solving skills still need to be integrated into everyday teaching!
I interupt your big list to bring you a cheeky link to some of my own thoughts on problem solving in the classroom
And so with all the keys all found, Ofsted have some recommendations (don’t they always?)
- Make sure end of KS exams are all pretty like (lots of familiar and unfamiliar problems that give students a chance to show off their fluency skills as well as the ability to remember stuff! Like I said, pretty)
- Raise ambitions of pupils (still waiting on this guys! can’t do it all myself though I’m trying!)
- Promote subject knowledge training etc in all routes into primary teaching (couldn’t meaningfully comment on this if I tried!)
- research some stuff
- sort out the inconsistency of teaching…
- increase problem solving across the subject
- make staff do better and teach better and stuff that im sure schools are probably doing anyway but Ofsted are mentioning it anyway.
- improve data collection and analysis.
Secondary schools should:
- Stop bloody taking the wee with all this resit business! (they went and solved this issue didn’t they just!)
page 10 of 103!
TO BE CONTINUED! (probably tomorrow as sod reading any more of this at 11pm on a school night!)
- Andy x