Study finds lesson observations made no difference to pupils’ GCSE results – Friday 10 November 2017

This week I report on the results of a study that found a structured lesson observation programme made no difference to pupils’ GCSE Maths and English results, the publication of the STA’s report on cases of maladministration of the SATs in 2016, data from NASEN indicating more children with SEN are being pushed out of mainstream schools into special schools and the launch of KS3 and KS4 resources to support PSHE delivery around health and wellbeing in schools.

New research casts doubt on impact of teacher peer observations
A new study has found that a structured lesson observation programme, aimed at helping teachers learn from each other, made no difference to pupils’ GCSE Maths and English results.

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) funded an evaluation of the University of Bristol’s Teacher Observation intervention following a US study which had found that structured lesson observation led to gains in student and teacher performance. The study was conducted in 82 English secondary schools over two years with one group of teachers asked to carry out at least 3 (recommended to carry out 6) observations per year and the other group asked to carry out at least 4 (recommended to carry out 12) observations per year.

The programme, evaluated by the National Foundation for Educational Research, found no impact on English and Maths GCSE scores and also pointed out that many teachers failed to complete the recommended number of observations. In the US where an impact had been seen, lesson observation was linked with professional development, outside observers and annual performance bonuses, none of which were used in the English trial.

Government investigated 524 cases of SAT maladministration in 2016
The Standards and Testing Agency’s latest report into maladministration in the 2016 primary SATs exams confirmed they had investigated 524 cases in total. Investigations into the maladministration of Key Stage 1 tests increased by more than 50% while 65 sets of Key Stage 2 exam results were either annulled or amended.

The term “maladministration” refers to any act that could jeopardise the “integrity, security or confidentiality” of the tests and lead to results that “do not reflect the unaided abilities and achievements of pupils”. This includes incorrectly opening test papers, cheating pupils, or test administrators offering too much help to children. It can also refer to changes made to test scripts by someone other than the pupil, or the inflation or deflation of teacher assessment judgements.

It’s not possible to say how many schools are affected, as one school can have multiple exams annulled or amended. Half of the 524 cases were based on schools reporting themselves to the STA, in 18% of cases the Council reported the problem and 14% were reported anonymously.

New data shows SEND pupils ‘pushed out’ of mainstream schools
Data published by the National Association of Special Educational Needs (NASEN) has revealed that more pupils with statements of special educational needs or education health and care plans (EHCPs) are being “pushed out” of mainstream schools into special schools.

The charity’s analysis of Government statistics also showed that there had been increased pressure on special needs schools to take on more pupils over the past decade. The proportion of pupils with statements or EHCPs in special schools rose from 36% in 2007 to 44% this year. Other pupils in these schools need SEN support but don’t have a formalised statement.

Public Health England launches ‘Rise Above’ lesson plans for support in PSHE
This week Public Health England launched a series of lessons plans which are designed to support PSHE delivery around health and wellbeing in schools in KS3 and KS4. With topics including cyberbullying, exam stress and body image in a digital world there are a range of activities with accompanying films/videos that teachers can use.