The Work of Ofsted - Children, Schools and Families Committee Contents

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 of children.

  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 and assessment".

  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.

December 2007

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2009
Prepared 13 May 2009