Piecemeal approaches to CFE

Kirsten Herbst-Gray

In response to last week's article on the University of Stirling research into Curriculum for Excellence, which found its implementation being hampered by piecemeal approaches ("Teachers struggling to adapt to the freedom of Curriculum for Excellence", 13 April), there is no consistent approach between schools regarding the implementation of CfE. It looks different in primary and secondary education.

Naturally, secondary schools focus on academic achievement and marking is part of learning and teaching. A grade itself is not just a snapshot but a point for development in learning and a clear signal for teachers who reflect on their classroom practice. Moreover, life is competitive, with many challenges to be faced. A clear grading system with well-planned assessments can help to develop competitive thinking, a sense of self- awareness and prepare pupils for the demands of the working world in the 21st century.

In a time of dwindling discipline, marks and grades can enhance extrinsic motivation. A clear system of assessment helps teachers to report to parents in a language that they understand.

The new qualifications allow teachers the freedom of internal assessment, which can be a powerful Assessment is for Learning tool and support the development of CfE principles.

Kirsten Herbst-Gray, German teacher at Langholm Academy and member of the SQA Qualifications Development Team.

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Kirsten Herbst-Gray

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