Six hours of assessment training 'should not be enough to qualify'

26th February 2010 at 00:00
At least 10 times as much tuition is necessary for new teachers, experts and union insist

Teachers are qualifying with just six hours of assessment training, according to a professional body that this week said "hundreds of hours" were needed to help pupils fulfil their potential.

The Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors (CIEA) wants standards for achieving qualified teacher status (QTS) to place much more emphasis on assessment.

Teachers who had completed PGCE courses and were surveyed by the institute said they received around six hours of formal and distinct tuition in assessment.

"We don't think six hours in a course of nine months is enough," said David Wright, CIEA chief executive. "We want to see at least 10 times as much. There needs to be hundreds of hours' training on assessment."

Mick Brookes, general secretary of heads' union the NAHT, said: "We think that is absolutely right. One of the things that new teachers should be able to do is to level and assess work as accurately as possible.

"If we are going to move away from the current testing in key stage 2 then there needs to be much greater teacher assessment."

Mr Wright said the assessment tuition should be better integrated into general teacher training. It should include summative and formative techniques, initial evaluation of pupils and diagnostics to pinpoint problems and allow teachers to assess their own effectiveness.

The institute's survey took place in 2007. But it claims the situation is the same today because there has been no change in the teaching standards in the interim.

It believes a lack of emphasis on assessment in the standards is at the root of problems with PGCEs.

Mr Wright said current standards were set before the introduction of diplomas or the Assessing Pupil Progress scheme and prior to the abolition of national tests for 14-year-olds, all of which have placed greater emphasis on teacher assessment.

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) is currently carrying out preparation work for new standards and will make early recommendations to the Government this spring. But the completed work is not expected this year.

The agency said that teaching standards did not define the amount of time spent on different aspects of training.

But the institute said that if standards were revised to place more emphasis on assessment, training providers would reflect that in their courses. "It has to be something that is integrated into teaching," Mr Wright said. "Assessment can't just be treated as a bolt on.

"I would like to see a third of the (PGCE) courses given over to integrated teaching, learning and assessment in a way that doesn't happen now."

If standards were revised more often it would allow them to keep pace with education reforms, Mr Wright added.

A TDA spokesperson said: "The QTS standards do not define the amount of time to be spent by trainee teachers and their training providers on any one aspect of their professional development as teachers. Initial teacher training providers are required to design and deliver their programmes to enable trainee teachers to meet this and all of the QTS standards."

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