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Ofsted and learning objectives

Discussion in 'Primary' started by sallysparrow, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. I have been told that ofsted don't agree with chn writing LO in their books as it's a waste of time - totally agree.
    However, every school i have worked in for the last - number of years - has insisted that learning objectives are in books.
    wondered if anyone can point me to where this is actually down in print so i have evidence of my posiiton
  2. No evidence, but I print off little squares with the LO,the Task, the date and 3 self assessment smiley faces on - then they just stick it in their book. I have about 18 of them per page of A4 use the 'find and replace' function on word to just replace the relevant information which only takes a minute to do.
  3. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    According to my PGCE provider, OFSTED have never said you have to display a LO and SC at the start of each lesson (and in some cases displaying the LO could completely ruin your lesson - many science experiments for example!) but many schools insist on this too. OFSTED simply said chn should know explicitly what they are learning.
    What year do you teach? I teach Y1, and if I got them to write the LO every lesson that's all we'd ever do. If it's Y6 though, it should take under 30 secs for most kids.
    Afraid i don't know where the written evidence of this is.
  4. I researched assessment for learning as part of my MA thesis. One of my major focuses was LOs.
    I interviewed an Ofsted "press officer" who told me that inspectors look for evidence of children knowing what they are doing and why. She said that this may be different in different settings and that inspectors are not looking for any single prescribed way. She also very clearly stated that there is <u>no</u> Ofsted documentation which requires LOs to be recorded by children in their books After a lot of umming and ahhing and consultation with legal advisors and people who I believe are quite high up in the realms of Ofsted, she gave me written permission for me to be able to directly quote her in my thesis.
    However, most headteachers I interviewed <u>firmly</u> believe that Ofsted are looking for written evidence of LOs in books. In fact, the only HTs who didn't believe this were those who led schools judged to be "outstanding" using the then Ofsted framework (2009/2010). Interesting!
    My research, based firmly in the camp of Wiliam and Black, showed that children place very little, if any, value on LOs, and that in fact many of the more able children are turned off their learning because of them. The example given above of science came through very strongly - children like and engage best with discovery learning rather than spoon-fed, objective-driven learning. My research and that ofmany, highly respected others also shows that differentiated learning outcomes are flawed too.
    Disappointingly, this appears not to be recognised in many schools who prescribe in detail how and when LOs are shared with children, and who expect to see evidence of written, differentiated LOs for every lesson.
    The main lesson I have learned from this is that, when there is a person with a clipboard sat at the back of the room, share LOs with children fairly early on in the lesson. Also, refer back to them at the end of the lesson, and possibly throughout, too. If there is no person with a clipboard at the back of the room, teach in the way you know engages and stimulates the children in your class. Record LOs on planning, get children to copy them out at the very end of the lesson, but apart from that, pay them very little heed.
    I could really get on my soap box about this!
  5. Very interesting post. Is the research saying that differentiated learning outcomes are simply not producing results and are therefore not necessary or that they are in some way adversely affecting children's progress?
  6. cleggy1611

    cleggy1611 New commenter

    We were 'advised' by la people not only to display Lo but also success criteria which children were supposed to also write in their books. Now this was a waste of time and although I display them and they are on my planning (also advised) I don't ask children to write them down.
    I agree that lo's are pointless and success criteria especially so. I was never given success criteria at school and I still managed to grasp what I was supposed to be doing!
  7. Both, but mainly that they can adversely affect children's progress. It would seem that, for literacy and numeracy, which is where most of the research has been carried out, having fixed ability groups and providing differentiated learning objectives has a negative impact on those in the bottom and middle groups, and often a negative impact on the learning taking place in top groups, mainly because if they think they can already do whatever the LO is describing, they do not engage.
    However, It has been suggested that some lessons do require the children to know what they are doing from the outset, as part of the "bigger picture" for that unit.
    We are working towards writing a letter of complaint to the council. Today we are looking at different types of complex sentence.
    Your <u>planning</u> might state that you want the lowers to be able to identify the punctuation in one sentence type; the middles to be able to identify the punctuation and write one sentence type correctly following the same sentence "recipe"; and the highers might be focusing on two or three different sentence types and be including L4 connectives. Good practice suggests, though, that you wouldn't share this with the children.
    What happens if there is someone in the lowers group who, for whatever reason, really engages with the work? If we have just told them that they are only looking at the punctuation to do with one sentence type, we are limiting what they might achieve. It works the same for each group, and also puts pressure on the top group to always be seen to achive the most.
    This all sounds rather obvious! My research boiled down to a few salient points:
    • Children and headteachers have very different perspectives on the value of sharing and copying down differentiated learning objectives.
    • The majority of schools judged "outstanding" at their most recent Ofsted inspection do not prescribe how and when teachers should share learning objectives, if indeed they need to do it at all.
    • The majority of schools judged "satisfactory" did prescribe how and when to share LOs and most of them required pupils to copy them into their books. (The "good" schools were more mixed, but again with less emphasis on prescribed LO practice than the "satisfactory" schools).
    • Children engaged more and progressed more when learning objectives were not shared and copied down at the beginning of the lesson, and when a more "discovery" learning approach was taken.
    There are lots of ifs and buts included in the detail of the findings and analysis of the results, but these points, however causally linked to the explicit sharing of LOs (they could have also been influenced by other factors which were not explored in the research), came through vey strongly.
  8. Leapyearbaby64

    Leapyearbaby64 New commenter

    Please send a copy of your research to all LA advisers! I'm in EY they are now asking us to have LI and SCs for 3 and 4 year olds. ***.
  9. Elizabeth. I love you. I really do. And I will carry your kisses wherever I go. they should be the first thing on my lips in any dealings I have with many of the narrow-lipped, mealy-mouthed, political enforcers who now have an arm lock on our affections. I embrace you. Thanks.
  10. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Elizabeth, your research sounds fascinating!
    I would love to read it - are copies available?
  11. This is exactly what we need to hear. We all know from commonsense and instinct that children as robots writing learning objectives is pointless and reductive. We all know that concentration on one or two limited objectives makes the other interesting things that are happening in the classroom invisible. But we needed the evidence! Thanks!
  12. I don't usually like to bring up old threads but I really would like to add to this. The children in my Y5/6 class write the WALT in their books and I absolutely hate it. Some children take 5-10 minutes writing it, and rather than spending mental energy thinking of ways to make them do it quicker I'd rather them just not bother. I haven't done any research reports or an MA, but from a lot of reading of threads like this and OFSTED guidance I'm wondering whether differentiated learning objectives with an element of choice is the way to go. For example:

    WALT describe a character using some evidence directly from the text
    WALT describe a character using a range of evidence from different points in the text
    WALT describe a character concluding evidence across the text

    Now, some people might argue that these are outcomes. I disagree. The outcome would be to actually break down the skill of finding evidence - how do you actually do it? I would teach all three objectives through building up the skills needed.

    I think the ceiling is lifted off expectations by allowing the children a choice of which objective they want to work towards. Most importantly, it shows them how they can progress. I've used APP level grids to formulate these objectives after all.

    The issue with this is the learning is placed in the hands of the child. A child with little self-esteem might opt for the first objective, however I wonder whether providing a generic 'steps to success' with no colour-coding (the list would naturally build up in complexity) would allow children to achieve more.

    I'm just wondering your opinion on this kind of strategy really.
  13. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    In that case, your first job with your new class in Jan will be to get them working at a sensible speed. There is no way on earth a year 5/6 child should be taking more than 30 seconds or so to write the WALT, certainly not the ones you have used as examples in your post. If they are used to wasting time in such a big way, you will need to be very strict about getting on with writing and be stern with consequences for not. They'll soon get the idea.
    For your examples I would just have the one objective of 'WALT describe a character'. Everyone writes the same thing, done and dusted in a minute max.

    Then use the SC to differentiate, possibly in the way you have done so in your post. Definitely allow choice as to the level of work and get children to make decisions as to what and how they will do their work.
  14. Bolter

    Bolter New commenter

    Fascinating and firmly links with what I have noticed in my career- especially the attitudes within schools where everything is working versus not. f&& the politics and the ignorant BS. Viva the evidenced based research I say!
    Shirley Clarke, who seems to be responsible for so much of this preaches the following now:
    • Only intoduce the LO at the point at which they will be judged.
    • Do not differentiate LO or SC.
    • WALT is so last decade.
    • Differentiated SC will hold children back and create excessive planning of the wrong sort. Instead keep same LO and SC and differentate by task and support.
    • The sad thing is teachers including myself would need a decent number of real examples to get and embed this and that is what is missing and what allows or this nonsense to prevail.
  15. Thank you for this. I've always liked what she's written but not sure how it's changed in the last few years. I've decided to go for this approach as it makes the most sense I think. I'll still use WALT as the children are used to this and don't really see an issue with it. I have a TA so differentiating by support is very feasible for me and task speaks for itself.

    As to your last point, I don't there is a right or wrong answer. In reality, I think it's all overcomplicated rubbish that just makes our lives more stressful. We have to find what works for us really, and that means getting in the classroom and trying things out. It doesn't take me a ridiculous amount of paperwork to realise one of my children needs somebody to sit with him next time when doing long multiplication.

    ROSIEGIRL Senior commenter

    Thank you Elizabeth. Good news.
    I'm convinced fear of Ofsted has driven our school this year, aided and abetted by similarly driven (and not very bright) LA bods. So frustrating!
  17. ShadowMan

    ShadowMan New commenter

    She does - but she's not living (and teaching) in the real world. When I asked her what LO and SC she would give to a class of Year 5's who were level 1 up to level 5 and where the level 5's were converting fractions to percentages - she had no answer.
  18. Elizabeth. I completely agree with what you are saying. Could I also have a copy of your research if it is available? Thanks!
  19. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I always wondered where this pervasive myth about learning objectives came from. Can it so easily all be place on one person - and who is she anyhow?

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