Memorandum submitted by the Chartered
Institute of Educational Assessors (CIEA)
1. The CIEA welcomes the opportunity to
submit evidence to the Select Committee for Children, Schools
and Families on Ofsted.
2. The Chartered Institute of Educational
Assessors (IEA) is an independent charity set up with the support
of DfES and QCA to improve the quality of assessment by providing
continuing professional development to teachers, lecturers and
workplace assessors as well as the external assessment community.
3. There is no doubt that the work of Ofsted
is very important and valuable as part of the accountability framework
that exists in England to hold schools to account for the teaching
4. Recent moves towards more sharper and
focused assessments have largely been welcomed by the education
community. However, they do bring their own issues that arise
from this new form of inspection.
5. Ofsted cites the variability in assessment
as being one of the key factors that impact school performance,
which the Institute would concur. From research carried out by
the Institute into schools' Ofsted reports and assessment ratings
we have found difficulty in correlating assessment comments and
final report outcomes.
6. Recent Ofsted annual reports cite assessment
as being a weak aspect of schools' performance yet specific comments
on assessment are located within reports about teaching and learning.
Prior to 2006 Ofsted reported specifically on assessment judgements
in school reports. The Institute believes that the assessment
judgement reported in Ofsted annual reports could more clearly
be emphasised within Ofsted school reports by amending the "teaching
and learning" section of the report to "teaching, learning
7. Ofsted claim that they do not look at
schools processes, only their outcomes. However, simply reviewing
a series of outcomes will tell the inspectors very little about
the breadth or range of understanding, subject knowledge or assessment
practice in evidence within a school. In a similar way teachers
claim to analyse the data resulting from their assessments of
students using tools such as Raise online or data from the Fisher
Family Trust to look at how student's behaviour has been impacted
by an assessment instrument, rather than how a teacher's own teaching
might be improved from the outcomes of an assessment mechanic.
8. So the Institute believes there is a
gap between the findings that Ofsted produce and an informed action
plan available to a school to address the issues arising from
the inspection. In short, the Institute believes that schools
might benefit from a diagnostic evaluation of their processes
as well as outcomes rather than simply an evaluation of a school's
outcomes that takes a reverse view of school performance beginning
with outcomes and working back.
9. The Institute has developed a Professional
Framework of Assessment that could prove useful in a diagnostic
evaluation of a school's assessment processes and a trial is currently
in progress to evaluate the contribution of Chartered Educational
Assessors to this evaluation. The Institute would be willing to
offer these services to aid the development of a diagnostic evaluation
of school's assessment processes.