ERG SES C 04, Interactive Poster Session
Interactive Poster Session
This thesis focuses on the academic journey of twelve (n=12) Lead Learner pupils' studying the Key Stage Three Mastery Curriculum. The setting for this research project is at a larger than average sized secondary academy in the south west of England. The thesis has four research questions:
- What are pupil’s thoughts on their transition from primary to secondary education and then during the early stages of Year 7 when the academy identifies them as Lead Learners?
- How do Lead Learner’s feel about the level of expectation placed upon them throughout their time studying the Mastery Curriculum?
- Do the key skills and qualities acquired from individual subjects within the Mastery Curriculum best prepare Lead Learner’s for GCSE study in KS4?
- Does the Mastery Curriculum offer a “more stretching programme of study” for Lead Learners, as outlined in the DfE’s 2020 vision strategy document and latest findings in OFSTED’s inspection of the academy?
Lead Learner pupils' are defined as “those who demonstrate the ability and/or aptitude to achieve at the highest level in one or more subjects.” (Policy for Able Students [Lead Learners], 2015, p.3) replacing the term 'gifted and talented'. The cohort was identified in January 2018 by the Academy after analysing Key Stage 2 SATs (Standardised Assessment Tests) scores and progress (e.g. attainment scores) in their first term studying the Mastery Curriculum. The KS3 Mastery Curriculum is a relatively new programme of study, introduced in 2015 following refinements to the 2014 National Curriculum in the UK. The aim of the curriculum is to develop “deeper study of key skills, knowledge and concepts/applications for a given subject” to ensure every pupil makes progress “to the point where they are best prepared for GCSE study” (KS3 Mastery Curriculum Statement, 2016). Lead Learners' study fifteen subjects in the Mastery Curriculum over a three year period (Year 7,8,9) before moving onto Key Stage Four (studying GCSEs in England).
In my role as teacher-researcher, I have first hand experience of witnessing the initial teething problems the KS3 Mastery Curriculum had back in 2014 (e.g. assessment, curriculum aims) when presented to us by the Senior Leadership Team. Since then, it has grown into a well rounded programme of study, preparing pupils' for GCSE study. However, inconsistencies still remain (e.g. assessment for learning between individual subjects) which has an impact on practice (e.g. how teachers deliver the Mastery Curriculum).
As well as tracking pupils' journey through the Key Stage 3 curriculum, the thesis aims to capture pupils' perceptions of their learning in line with recommendations set out by the Department for Education (DfE) Vision 2020 document to stretch and challenge the most able. Additionally, feedback on challenging the most able pupils, provided by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (OFSTED) during their inspection in December 2017 will be taken into consideration. Further aims of the thesis aim to capture the impact of internal as well as external (Department for Education) changes to the Key Stage Three Mastery Curriculum policy have on Lead Learners' academic progress and attainment.
A unique feature of this thesis is the collaboration between the researcher and the recruited sample. Lead Learners are co-researchers, actively investigating phenomena that emerges as their journey through the Mastery Curriculum takes place. As the main researcher and current teacher at the Academy where the study is taking place, I am in a fortunate position to be able to teach and see the recruited sample on a daily basis, starting from the moment Lead Learners' were identified in January 2018 to the present day.
In order to capture Lead Learners' voices, social interactions and attainment scores as part of their academic journey through the KS3 Mastery Curriculum, an ethnographic research design, using a mixed-methods approach was used. As a teacher-researcher, using an ethnographic research design enables me to capture pupils' views and opinions on a daily/weekly basis. The students (learning) and I (teaching) are part of this academic journey, providing a unique opportunity to explore emerging phenomena as/when it happens. Additionally, it provided the framework to look and observe phenomena/emerging concepts from from the inside-out. Consistent with the philosophical paradigm pragmatism, qualitative and quantitative perspectives enables data to be drawn from multiple sources. A combination of individual and whole cohort interviews (semi-structured, unstructured and interactive); individual learning diaries; newsletters and oral presentations captured rich, qualitative data whilst questionnaires and half-termly attainment levels were analysed from SISRA analytics to support pupil's views on their learning. Similarly, Lead Learners in their roles as co-researchers captured data from multiple, mix method sources including questionnaires, PowerPoint presentations and structure/semi-structured interviews on aspects of their own academic journey so far. Beforehand, pupils' were given basic research methods training to help them plan, choose a method, collect data and deliver their findings to me. Grounded theory and symbolic interactionism was used to drive the research process. The emergence of concepts and themes drawn out from the data highlighted what is currently happening, leading to why it was happening. Therefore, capturing multiple, mixed-method data sources would enable the grounded theory to emerge. Additionally, the collaboration between researcher and Lead Learners' allowed emerging themes to be investigated together, negotiating how to explore new phenomena to find out what is happening and why, over the course of their journey through the Mastery Curriculum.
As a result of this thesis, the academic journey should provide a unique insight into the views of Lead Learners' studying the Mastery Curriculum. Too often, teachers, observers and OFSTED inspectors see things from the outside-in. However, this three year study should provide 'outsiders' with in-depth, personal accounts of their 'world' as intelligent, high achieving pupils studying a curriculum which aims to prepare them for GCSE study in Key Stage Four (Year 10/11). It is hoped that the voices of pupils' will be heard by the Academy leadership team to ensure the future of the Mastery Curriculum is fit for purpose, challenging all pupils' not just Lead Learners for GCSE study at Key Stage Four. Additionally, the latest OFSTED inspection report from December 2017 suggests the most able pupils' were not being challenged sufficiently. Therefore, the study aims to go some way towards answering this, providing in-depth evidence during the three year period these Lead Learners' study the Key Stage Three Mastery Curriculum.
Gibbons, S. and Telhaj, S. (2016). Peer Effects: Evidence from Secondary School Transition in England. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 78(4), pp. 548-575 Lamb, P. and Lane, K. (2013). Pupil voice on being gifted and talented in physical education: ‘They think it's just, like, a weekend sort of thing’. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy. 18(2), pp. 150-168 Milstein, D. (2010). Children as co-researchers in anthropological narratives in education. Ethnography and Education. 5(1), pp. 1-5 Prior, S. (2011). Student Voice: What Do Students Who Are Intellectually Gifted Say They Experience and Need in the Inclusive Classroom? Gifted and Talented International. 26(1-2), 121-219 Rudduck, J. (2007). Student Voice, Student Engagement, And School Reform. International Handbook of Student Experience in Elementary and Secondary School. pp: 587-610
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