Bureaucracy CfE and Trust
What I wanted to comment on in that last post was how so much of the well meaning and well intentioned aims of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) have almost morphed into something unrecognisable by its original architects and designers. How often have similar transformations happened in education? We only have to look at two other recent examples to see how so much good research and sound thinking can be corrupted into something it was never meant to be. The work of Black and Wiliam on Formative Assesment and John Hattie's meta-research on successful,strategies in schools and systems to raise achievement are two pieces of work that became something they were never intended to be when various elements of the system got hold of them.
The messages and findings of Black and Wiliam contained in 'Inside The Black Box', a very short report of their findings, quickly morphed into a series of techniques, tick-boxes and associated paperwork. We were inundated with written learning intentions, success criteria, WALTs and WILFs and Personal Learning Plans, with learners and teachers spending many wasted hours writing these all down or filling them in. They became used and promoted by many who didn't understand, or take the time to understand, the research and messages that sat behind them. Never slow to miss an opportunity, the snake-oil salesmen were quick to offer a plethora of resources and solutions to 'help' schools deliver on AfL. They weren't the only ones though, as headteachers, local authority staff, inspectorate and various national organisations started to produce a tsunami of paperwork so that everyone had 'evidence' it was happening, when in fact all they had was evidence of mounting bureaucracy.