cloud cuckoo landI mean National Reference Tests!

An update was published recently on the Ofqual blog  and on several occasions I’ve written about these in December 2015, June 2015 and April 2015 so I’ve been following their development quite closely. Basically I think they’re a rubbish idea! I get the fact the government are crapping themselves about the state of maths education which in their opinion is poor and that they need a way to prove or disprove that the raft of changes they’re forcing through are working (or not as the case may be! If it doesn’t work I’m sure it will be our fault too!). To be honest I’m not sure I have a better solution but the fact that they were mentioned during the accreditation process suggests that they are an “after thought”.

Anyway … the latest post from Ofqual included the statement that the tests will be used to “confirm that our approach .. blah blah blah..”

doesntThere is no mention at all of what if it doesn’t “confirm”? Surely this is a biased approach to take … you are pre-empting the results.

Read the update for specifics about the tests – interestingly the tests are going to re-used and so have to remain confidential. Someone is in cloud-cuckoo-land if you think that is really going to happen. I give it 2 rounds of tests until they appear on social media!

reusing questionsNow moving onto the tests themselves, students can use calculators for all questions and …. 

formula sheetWhy give them a formula sheet when they won’t have one in the new GCSE’s?? Most of the boards have chosen to include any “allowed” formula within the question it is to be applied and not on a separate sheet … did you not see the memo Ofqual?

Which brings me to the questions themselves that will be used – the below says that the questions are in the style of the new GCSE. Having looked at every single question I’m not convinced that there is enough similarity across the boards (apart from the “process” style questions which by their nature are always going to be similar) for Ofqual to make this statement. similar to new GCSEThe devil is in the detail don’t you know? The below question has got me wondering about how much thought has been put into these questions … WHAT TYPE OF GRAPH? I would be happier if it said “draw a suitable graph” … it may be obvious to you and me but I wouldn’t accept this from my students so why should we accept sloppiness from Ofqual/NFER?