This is an edited extract from the book, School and College Curriculum Design 3: Impact. For more information on this book and the first two in the series, as well as to access a raft of free curriculum resources, visit our Curriculum Central page.
This is the third post exploring what is meant by curriculum impact…
As well as evaluating the effectiveness of our curriculum planning and evaluating the effectiveness of our curriculum teaching, we want our impact assessments to measure eventual outcomes so that we can determine what pupils have achieved and also the extent to which our curriculum planning and the way in which we have translated those curriculum plans into classroom practice have enabled pupils to achieve what we intended for them to achieve and that we have not perpetuated or opened any attainment gaps.
To be clear, by ‘outcomes’ I do not solely mean test and exam results, of course; and nor do I solely mean qualification outcomes in the sense of certification.
The purpose of education is not just certification but to genuinely prepare pupils for the next stage of their education, employment and lives.
So, what does this look like? What might we assess in order to make a judgment about the impact of our curriculum on pupil outcomes?
Here, it might be helpful to take a look at the ‘personal development’ judgment in the Ofsted schools inspection handbook which says that ‘preparedness’ includes:
• Developing pupils as responsible, respectful and active citizens who are able to play their part and become actively involved in public life as adults
• Developing and deepening pupils’ understanding of the fundamental British values of democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law and mutual respect and tolerance
• Promoting equality of opportunity so that all pupils can thrive together, understanding that difference is a positive, not a negative, and that individual characteristics make people unique
• Promoting an inclusive environment that meets the needs of all pupils, irrespective of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation
• Developing pupils’ character, which we define as a set of positive personal traits, dispositions and virtues that informs their motivation and guides their conduct so that they reflect wisely, learn eagerly, behave with integrity and cooperate consistently well with others. This gives pupils the qualities they need to flourish in our society
• Developing pupils’ confidence, resilience and knowledge so that they can keep themselves mentally healthy
• Enabling pupils to recognise online and offline risks to their well-being – for example, risks from criminal and sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, substance misuse, gang activity, radicalisation and extremism – and making them aware of the support available to them
• Enabling pupils to recognise the dangers of inappropriate use of mobile technology and social media
• Developing pupils’ understanding of how to keep physically healthy, eat healthily and maintain an active lifestyle, including giving ample opportunities for pupils to be active during the school day and through extra-curricular activities
• Developing pupils’ age-appropriate understanding of healthy relationships through appropriate relationship and sex education
• Providing an effective careers programme in line with the government’s statutory guidance on careers advice that offers pupils:
− unbiased careers advice
− experience of work, and
− contact with employers
− to encourage pupils to aspire, make good choices and understand what they need to do to reach and succeed in the careers to which they aspire
• Supporting readiness for the next phase of education, training or employment so that pupils are equipped to make the transition successfully.
Ultimately, we should measure the impact of our curriculum by the extent to which we prepare all our pupils for their next steps – do they make good progress through our curriculum and go on to achieve positive destinations? Do our pupils leave us as well-rounded, cultured, inquisitive, caring, kind, resilient, knowledgeable human beings ready to make their own way in the world? And do we, as a consequence, make the world a better place one pupil at a time – for this surely is a measure of true success?
Now visit our Curriculum Central page for more curriculum resources including a preview of Book Three.