Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Profiling the future workforce

My grandson brought home a certificate from school and was very keen to show it to me. A certificate I thought. Now what would that be for?   Reading, writing, arithmetic?

Not at all. It was a certificate for good citizenship. It seems that throughout the whole of March he had been very well mannered. A bit over the top I thought. But then I realised we are dealing with Curriculum for Excellence. Any attribute considered by the teacher as demonstrating an outcome will be recognised as an achievement.

From the literature we learn that: "Children and young people achieve success in learning through planned activities in a range of settings and in their lives at home and in their local community. These activities may be provided by youth organisations, clubs and interest groups, in community provision or by activities organised by young people themselves. It is important that, through their involvement in such activities, learners build on progress in the skills and attributes that they are developing. Recognition of as much of their achievement as possible makes learning more relevant and motivating."

Whatever happened to school lessons?

Profiling in Curriculum for Excellence

Assessment is a learning tool according to Curriculum for Excellence in order to explain why it is necessary.  It has come a long way. These days pupils are encouraged to document their progress in their profiles. It will contain all their character building skills and attributes.

A profile is produced in school at P7 and S3 at the moment but the plan is to extend these from age 3 through to 18 and perhaps beyond that. It documents the learner`s best achievements which may include "sporting and cultural successes, skills and attributes developed through experiences in the community as well as achievement in literacy and numeracy and information about progress in key aspects of health and wellbeing."

"As skills in profiling develop, profiles will reflect achievements across all curriculum areas."

The idea is that profiles encourage learners to reflect on their achievements, motivate them and provide skills and understanding to work out next steps in the learning journey. (The learning journey is best understood as the learning that is to be tracked, and nudged.) We are informed that it is the process that is important rather than the product. That might make sense if we recognise profiling as a learning tool - but we must take care - like much  of the explanation about Curriculum for Excellence, this is doublespeak. 

CfE Briefing Paper 3: Profiling and the S3 Profile.

We are informed that young people are entitled to support which helps them to understand their progress and achievements. In particular, their relationship with a member of staff who knows them well will enable them to discuss their learning and achievements openly on a regular basis.

Notice how an imposition becomes an entitlement in the language of doublespeak. Skills and attributes are to be discussed that are acquired both inside and outside the school. Conversations will be had about key aspects of health and wellbeing. What would those key aspects be? A clue might be given in the children`s version of the Wellbeing Triangle. (See above)

Statements are often made that the learner needs to take ownership of the profile. Since the profile is about the learner it is difficult to understand this emphasis, unless of course, the learner is expected to succumb to subtle pressure from staff members about who and what they are to become. This is the nudging aspect.

Delve into the literature and things begin to unravel.  To ensure accuracy effective quality assurance and moderation are needed so that the information in the profile is reliable and can validate achievements. Sometimes this may
include externally validated content which will help ensure that the profile is recognised and valued by all.

What begins as a learning tool with an emphasis on the process of profiling, rather than the product, becomes something which must be validated so that it can be valued by all. Who are the all who require reliability and validation ?

George Sinclair from Education Scotland made this clear at a seminar  recorded at the Scottish Learning Festival 2014, which aimed to show the vital importance of profiling in helping to meet the needs and develop the employability skills of the full range of learners in the senior phase.

"When children understand their learning they’re able to identify what they have to do next to improve. They’re also able to actually take responsibility for the profiling process and for the production of the profile. I’ve always had this little glimmer in my eye that in terms of Profiling in the Senior Phase that if we get this right then the CV that youngsters produce for jobs and so on and for applications and the UCAS forms actually should become very straightforward and they’re straightforward because learners have already reflected on their learning and they know their strengths."

A profile is the CV, planned and tracked, which children will build from 3 to 18 in dialogue with staff members.  It is the CV that cannot be altered because it was started so early in nursery and primary school that children are not able to understand the implications.  It is everything children`s future employers want to know about them.

Understanding this alters the meaning of lifelong learning and assessment.

Also see curriculum in Northern Ireland:

No comments:

Post a Comment