Defining the Butterfly: Knowing the Standards to Set the Standards

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In preparing to deliver some CPD inputs recently, at my own school and another in Essex, I’ve been thinking about the problem of providing the appropriate level of challenge for all learners in the work we set and in the work we accept.  This has led me to consider how we know what an appropriate level is and how we assess work against expected standards. With NC levels on the way out, a lot of people are worrying about filling the void; my feeling is that we have an opportunity to re-connect with assessment and standards at a fundamental level, to resolve all kinds of difficulties.

Issues arise when teachers routinely underestimate what students are capable of. I’ve said many times that I feel a great many students are systematically under-challenged most days of their school lives.  Teachers and students get stuck in a circular compliance culture where expectations are…

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I teach
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