Monday, June 26, 2006

Social software in education

FutureLab has recently published a report [PDF] on the uses of social software within education.

Friday, June 02, 2006

CES Youth Transitions Research

The TES reports that an analysis of leavers’ surveys in England, Wales, and Scotland during the 1980s and 1990s by the Centre for Educational Sociology shows that young Scots do better than their peers south of the border. Examination attainment and university entry were higher in Scotland than the south of England, despite Scotland’s socio-economic context having more in common with the north of England and Wales.

Click here for a link to the Centre for Educational Sociology's Education and Youth Transitions across Britain briefings - numbers 39 and 40.

Audit Scotland's evaluation of the McCrone Agreement

Post-Qualification Applications

Both the government’s options set out in the DfES’s consultation on post-qualification applications to higher education were rejected by the majority of those who responded to the consultation. (One option was to have everyone wait for their results before places were offered; the other would involve have conditional offer based on prior record rather than predictions, with a set number of places reserved until after results were known.)

Nevertheless, the government issued a response to the consultation making a number of recommendations for implementation in 2008/09 with a view to working towards post-qualification applications by 2012.
The government’s summary of their response is given below; the full response can be viewed by clicking here.

Although UK-wide, this seems to be aimed more at an English problem than a Scottish one. If PQA were introduced, it would have particular implications in Scotland given the earlier summer holidays, (eg, it may be that teachers would have to come in during the holidays to offer guidance to their students) while possibly not improving the higher education application process significantly.

Maths Teaching in England 'Too Narrow'

In a recent study, Ofsted has found that too many schools in England are ‘teaching to the test’ in mathematics, stifling genuinely stimulating thinking about the subject. They found that many 14-19 year olds do not expect to understand mathematics, and many students could not develop their ‘ability to reason and discover solutions for themselves’.

Ofsted’s director of education said, ‘Students try to pass exams by memorising lots of unconnected facts rather than a few guiding principles. The current approach to teaching mathematics is not giving students the understanding they require and this must change’. The Association of School and College Leaders responded to the criticism by saying that Ofsted judged schools’ performance on the results of tests and classroom practice was, therefore, based on them.

Do we have the same issues in Scotland?

Schools Dropping History?

A recent Guardian article reports on certain schools in Scotland dropping the teaching of history. Please click here for the story and here for a follow-up piece.