Unit 6 A

The Year of the Curriculum
The programme consists of four modules, each with two units:
What are we
trying to
How shallHow shall we
we know ifsuccess?
we are
How shall we
How do we
make it
Unit 6: How do we know what impact curriculum change
has had?
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Welcome to Unit 6.
The first question is always: Did you do your homework?
It was to go back to the unit that you planned and give
consideration to the assessments that you will carry out.
We were suggesting that this might be more worthwhile over
a longer piece of work rather than at the end of a lesson.
Was it possible? What sort of assessments did you envisage?
Do you want to share it? You can do so at [email protected]
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Unit 6
How do we know what impact curriculum change has had?
In this unit we shall look at:
Models of educational evaluation
Evaluating curriculum change
Establishing a starting point
Quality assurance and quality control
A design checklist
A world class curriculum
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Do you remember these images from Unit 5? And
do you remember what they were about?
We shall be looking now at how different forms of
assessment can inform evaluation.
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And do you remember the distinction we made
between assessment and evaluation?
Evaluation concerns
finding out how
effective a system is at
delivering its goals.
Assessment concerns
finding out what or how
much a person has
And we said that in some books, especially from the USA, you will find
these terms used interchangeably. In French there is only one word for
both. However the distinction is useful. In this Unit we shall be
looking at evaluation.
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As usual, we shall be looking at what some people have
written about this. Do you recognise any of these people?
Some are the usual suspects.
As usual, all will be revealed as you read on. (But surely you
recognise at least one of them – have another look!)
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The Seemingly Obvious Answer
Of course, the seemingly obvious answer is that we find out if the
students have learned all the things that we wanted them to
learn. If they did, then the curriculum is successful. If they
didn’t, then it wasn’t.
Couldn’t be simpler, could it? So why do we need a whole Unit?
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What is Your Answer?
What do you do at the moment? What steps do you
take to find out how effective any change has been?
What do you look at? What data do you collect? How
do you analyse it? Who do you talk to? How do you
make judgments?
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The Big Issue: why it’s not so simple
The big issue lies in Unit 5: the breadth of our learning expectations and
the difficulty of finding out whether more complex things have been
There is also the question of how many students need to learn the
intended things for the curriculum to count as successful. 50%? 75%?
100%? And how well do they need to learn these things? Sufficiently?
Very well indeed?
It is easy to evaluate in terms of achieved objectives so long as we keep
those objectives simple. But most worthwhile objectives are not simple
at all!
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The Side Issue
The side issue is that even if the students did learn all the
intended things, how can we be sure that they would not have
learned them anyway with the old curriculum? They might even
have learned more!
And if they didn’t learn all the things, how can we be sure that
the fault lies with the new curriculum?
© Curriculum Foundation

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