Wednesday, 2 September 2015

A Cold Data Point, Bereft of Nuance

The 8 screen prints below represent the 10 exam groups I worked with this past academic year. The first 6 are the GCSE classes I taught and managed. Each group has its own story in relation to their outcomes. They range from a class who's teacher who was absent for the majority of the year and the school relied on cover teachers instead of securing a long term replacement, a class with an aggressive bully that the school hierarchy refused to remove from the group, another group who lost their teacher half way through the year and the class previously discussed in the 'Spot the Statistical Anomaly' blog. 2 other groups had consistent teaching for the duration of their course. The final 2 prints represent the 4 A-level classes I taught and managed (the Art & Photo endorsements have been combined into one print for both AS and A2 level). The statement below explains the content of the prints and the theory behind their production, it is important to explain that everything shared and discussed throughout this blog site over the last 2 years has formed the basis for these prints so there is a degree of repetition in some quotes and references to previous writings.


‘We should resist the temptation to continue looking for a mechanical explanation for something which plainly is not mechanical in nature’
Jacques Bouveresse (1999)

Data is important. It can be extremely useful. I have always said this. What is difficult to comprehend is the fact that data and not the students themselves, is what currently drives the educational picture. An example: Last year in my school a discussion took place regarding the student data flight paths of a particular year group. The flight path is the route towards their predicted grades that they are expected to take. Because the data inputted by teachers, across subjects, in the termly report did not correlate with the flight paths it was discussed, at senior management level, whether or not to amend the teacher inputted data to fit the projected paths.

Bruno Latour, the French philosopher of science, coined the term immutable mobiles to refer to the way science employs summaries of information, abstracted from the messy reality of the real world, in order to be able to share and distribute information. The Unlesson Manifesto (June 2014), goes onto explain that:

‘An immutable mobile is this two dimensional summary of data, often in the form of charts, graphs or tables which is easily transported, hence mobile, and immutable in that it does not change when it is transported.
It is through the employment of immutable mobiles that science is able to persuade and have power over the objects it studies. It’s a useful concept to have in mind when thinking about how teaching is monitored and assessed.
For instance a map is portable, whereas what it represents is not, and the statistical results of tests on laboratory animals are mobile whereas the laboratory and its contents are much harder to move. What is represented in the map and the graph stays the same when it is moved from one location to another.’ 
Pink (2014) as cited in The Unlesson Manifesto (2014)

Immutable mobiles are essentially abstractions from reality and enable scientists to convince people, without the need to go to the original sources. And these immutable mobiles give people power over the things represented in them and actually come to replace the things themselves. A tension is therefore created between Deleuze & Guattari’s (1987) analysis of rhizomatic principles of the abstract machine that ‘connects a language to the semantic and pragmatic contents of statements, to collective assemblages [and the] whole micropolitics of the social field’. (p.7)

Education systems, all over the world, have developed into a global community with a heavy reliance on a particular form of statistical data designed to improve ones national standing in an international competition. The ability to now centralise and compare results has led to the growth of a system where an ideology is allowed to dominate individual achievements through its relations with other national and international competitors. Deleuze & Guattari (1987) see a danger in this approach that will produce a system where there is ‘no mother tongue, only a power takeover by a dominant language within a political multiplicity.’ (p. 4) As a result, unless a national education system is doing particularly well, they will quickly manipulate the PISA evidence, creating policy to suit a sense of personal political achievement over and above a culture of learning grounded in personal independence, creativity, innovation and social and cultural experiences.

The OECD has such a monopoly on statistical data comparisons between education systems that it quickly becomes impossible to ignore their findings once a government has signed up to the league tables. In turn this enforces a problematical paradox, as discussed by Coffield (2008) and quickly leads to the neoliberal demands of measuring teacher ability and performance to student test scores. The result is a workforce low in morale as they see the rich curricula and craft of pedagogy reduced to a colourless classroom where:

‘[e]quating good teaching with good test scores reduces a complex, human process, and the teacher-student relationship, to a cold data point, bereft of nuance’. 
Gude (2013) 

How ironic is it then that it is the use of the visual elements of line, colour, tone and pattern are used to distil this data. The language of pictographs, charts and diagrams are used to reinforce ideas of moving forward and to measure progress. (Davies 2015). Albrecht-Crane & Daryl Slack (2007) go on to analyse:

‘the Deleuze-Guattarian vocabulary and concept of affect, and the attendant terrain of molar and molecular lines [which] are capable of addressing a dimension of teaching and learning that otherwise remains inconspicuous, despite the fact of, or more accurately because of, it’s omnipresence. Affect permeates the space of the classroom. What might this mean? What are the lines one can draw to map and mark the singularity of the classroom?’ (p. 103)

These hand made screen prints have been produced for each of the exam groups I have taught this year and explore the relationship between the immutable mobile: the cold data point of static, predicted grades and rhizomatic reality of their actual marks. They draw the map and mark the singularity of each class and individual within it, where each section of the coxcomb represents a student to which a story can be attached and shared. It also bears the heavier line of the predictions set from their key stage two SAT results. The subsequent relationship between the two forms of data begs the question, how can we ever think to control all of the variables involved in teaching, to know, with any certainty of the impact our individual actions are having? I work with people, not mechanical objects or statistics and as such my classroom is a social space, a rich and complex arena where the art produced is a physical record of ones progress that always bears the trace of human activity and as such it often fails to translate as an accurate immutable mobile. We end up with one system imposing its dominance over the other, a static target subjugating an individual achievement ‘as the refutations of inaccurate claims contained in documents become documents themselves’ and ‘therefore becomes less about accuracy or human knowledge, and more about which prince has the money and inclination to invest in the ‘science’.’ Scott (2010 p.3 & p. 4). 

Class that had mainly cover and supply for 1 year

Group from Spot the Statistical Anomaly blog

Class with continuous, specialist teaching

Class with persistent, disruptive influence

Class with continuous, specialist teaching

Class who lost one Artist Teacher but gained another for year 2 of the qualification

Year 12 Art & Photo groups

Year 13 Art & Photo groups

Data can work and on a large scale it may provide patterns that are useful for monitoring progress and predicting target grades but when it is reduced to individual schools, classes and people ‘like an ultimate fact without any cause, the individual outcome of a measurement is, however, in general not comprehended by laws. This must necessarily be the case.’ Pauli (2013) cited by Didau (2015).

Reference List:

Albrecht-Crane, C. and Daryl Slack, J. (2007) Towards a Pedagogy of Affect in Hickey-Moody, A. and Malins, P. (2007) Deleuzian Encounters: Studies in Contemporary Social Issues 
Palgrave MacMillan 
St Martin’s Press

Bouveresse, J. (1999) Rules, Dispositions, and the Habitus in Shusterman, R. (1999) Bourdieu: A Critical Reader
Blackwell Publishers Inc.

Coffield, F. (2008) Just Suppose Teaching and Learning Became the First Priority
Learning and Skills Network

Davies, W (2015) The Greatest Evils: Art Pedagogy – Measurement, Speculation and Subjectivation, 19th June

Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1987) A Thousand Plateaus
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

Didau, D (2015) It’s the Bell Curve, Stupid!, 10th June

Gude, S. (2013) The Industrial Classroom
Assembly Required
Jacobin Magazine issue 10

Pink, C. (2014) Sacrificing Education On the Alter of Performance, 17th July

Scott, E. (2010) The Immutable Mobile: A Vehicle for Domination, 17th November

Friday, 19 June 2015

The Greatest Evils!

Art Pedagogy- Measurement ,Speculation and Subjectivation.

‘Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else and root out every thing else’. Location 31.

So speaks the character of Thomas Gradgrind ‘a man of realities’ in Charles Dickens Hard Times.

Pedagogy today is enmeshed in seeming realities and an institutionalised addiction to the need for measurement and a drive to produce evidence.  Educators are caught in a tension between the banking culture modes of thinking on education and those who are deemed as progressive. The ‘independent learner’ is no longer the prize- ultimate purported goal- of many a system. In reality it has actually become the passive ‘dependent learner’. The introduction of the new National Curriculum as John Steers says (2014)

‘[W]here neoconservative ideology is being imposed on the education system without any attempt to seek consensus or proper dialogue with the teaching
profession. p.7’

Foucault(1977) might put it thus that the reactionary pedagogical approaches are in keeping with the way he describes the value set of the military that it:
‘…measures in quantitative terms and hierarchizes in terms the value, the abilities, the level, the nature of individuals. It introduces through this ‘value giving’ measure the constraint of conformity that must be achieved’ p.184

According to the reactionary, child centred learning is now outmoded and in the mind of those who believe in the banking system ­ of education it never worked. Children do not contain solutions embedded in them -selves nor does proscription lead to understanding.
The normalisation of the idea of  a child captured as ‘data portrait’, their futures mapped out in flight- paths and patterns is now accepted truth and seemingly unchallenged by those who have the responsibility of gatekeepers. A whole industry –in plain sight- has sprouted; in methodologies, evidence driven approaches and also software to ‘enable’ teachers and pupils achieve their shared goals. How do these images, with their pseudo scientific console of bright lights and colours, reminiscent of Fritz Langer’s  dystopian Metropolis or a kitsch rendering of a control panel that might have been seen on the set of  Flash Gordon- actually inform those who interface with it.  
How ironic is it then that it is the use of the visual elements of line, colour, tone and pattern are used to distil this data. The language of the pictographs, charts and diagrams and various other devices are used to reinforce ideas of moving forward and measuring progress? How sinister is the appearance of private companies taking public money to create these mechanisms of measurement and prediction. What do these patterns actually indicate and what do they reveal about the spaces in society in which we conduct our pedagogies?
Teachers are compelled to assess against a backdrop  pattern of probabilities often to use Foucault’s term ‘subjectivised’ and purported as fact or truth. Truths that up until now were based on tests taken at the age of just ten years old that determine the child’s place in life.  Now not content with that regime, pupils will now be tested from the age of four years old during the EYFS so their educational pathways and the way they will be treated in the classroom. How they will be assigned to various streams will be established at this early stage of their development and will follow them throughout their school experience. Teachers feeling obliged to bend assessments to a learning curve. To create ‘Facts’ as Dickens’ character would have put it.
Per capita payments drive the decision making and strategy in schools in the UK especially with the introduction of pupil premium, compulsory post 16 education and despite the protestations of certain strata of management Schools have become exam production factories to feed the economic needs of the neo liberal agenda. Where is the child in all of this? Where is the teacher?
Do we want our schools to become/ remain a place where we produce unquestioning ’drones’ to administer and maintain a status quo?  Should children be unquestioning consumers of facts and unconscious of their power and potential to innovate, freedom to create, to change and improve the society which they will inherit?
As Noam Chomsky states in a lecture which can be found in the archives of YouTube when describing teachers who want to inspire and challenge their students:
‘You have to tread a narrow line. There are plenty of people who don’t want students to think. They are afraid of the crisis of democracy. You know if people started thinking you get all these problems I was quoting at the beginning. They won’t have humility enough to submit to a civil rule.
You know or they’ll start trying to press their demands in the political arena. They’ll…have ideas of their own believing what they’re told and privilege and power typically doesn’t want that’ 0:40-1:22

Within the national notion of education- creativity seems to be valued only in terms quantifiable and measurable outcomes. Unless it is useful in its aesthetic it is held with the same regard and affection towards a rhizome or weed trying to push through the black tar-macadam of the playground. Beautiful to look at but ultimately doomed -chanced upon by the ‘overseer’ (as Freire might state it) tasked with maintaining that space of practice. Enclosed, at best surviving in the margins, hidden in its own concrete framed flower bed, alien from the purely functional aesthetic.
As this flyer from a college in South East London (I have removed the name of the college) illustrates, the arts must be commoditized and sold to prospective learners in language like this: 
‘……. (The Creative Industries) are the most exciting – and fastest growing – sector of the British economy. If people tell you there aren’t jobs in the Creative Industries – they’re wrong! Did you know that the creative sector makes more than £8m an hour, and employs nearly 1.7m people? And 35.5% of the UK’s creative businesses are based in London.’

When I first began to draft this proposal Mr. Michael Gove was still the Secretary of state for education. His ability to believe in his views on the progressive education as all that was wrong with education was something to be perhaps envied in the strength of conviction and their conviction but as far back as 1946. Russell (2008) puts it:
‘Most of the greatest evils man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which was in fact false. To know the truth is more difficult than most men suppose, and to act with ruthless determination in the belief that the truth is the monopoly of their party is to invite disaster’ p.157

I want to further explore the idea of the ‘subjectivation’ of data/data management systems and physical patterns they produce. Represent and interrogate the veracity of them in dialogues in collaboration with a colleague. To see if in fact they do serve a function or contain any unseen truths.
Reference List
Chomsky, N. Most Teaching is Training for Stupidity and Conformity:On Education  //
Dickens, C. (2012) Hard Times. Harper Collins. Kindle Edition.
Foucault M. (1977) Discipline and Punish the Birth of the Prison.Penguin. London.
Russell B. (2008)  Unpopular Essays Ideas That Harmed Mankind  Routledge Classics. Oxon Kindle Edition.

Steers, J.(2014) International Journal of Art and Design Education Reforming the School Curriculum and Assessment in England to Match the Best in the World– A Cautionary Tale  NSEAD/John Wylie

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Exploring Teacher Workload - an initial drawing exercise

  • I felt that an exploration into patterns regarding teacher workload would be an interesting exercise. I am currently looking at the relationship that big data has with teacher assessment and student achievement. I am exploring this within my subject area of Art & Design at present. Although there is nothing particularly surprising about the what the DfE survey throws up it is, nonetheless, good to see how our working week is broken down. 

    'The 2013 Teachers’ Workload Diary Survey provides independently collected data on hours and working patterns of teachers in maintained primary and secondary schools, special schools and academy schools in England. This is the twelfth survey; previous surveys were carried out in 1994, 1996, 2000 and then annually between 2003 and 2010. The 2013 survey was commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE).

    • A sample of 1,004 teachers was achieved - lower than in previous surveys. 

      On average, all school teachers report working over 50 hours per week, with primary and secondary school headteachers reporting more than 60 hours. 

      Teachers of all types work around 12 hours a week outside what might be regarded as their normal working week. Heads spent around half of this time on school and staff management while classroom teachers spent at least three quarters of it on planning, preparation and assessment (PPA). Time spent on PPA was as common for classroom teachers in primary, secondary and academy schools as teaching at around a third of their total workload. 

      Certain types of activities dominated workload for different types of teacher. The majority of a secondary school headteacher workload is made up of activities that relate to school and staff management (61%). 

      Other activities were performed to a lesser extent. Non-teaching pupil or parent contact made up 10% - 14% of a classroom teacher’s workload and slightly more than that for headteachers in secondary schools (16%). On average less than 10% of workload was spent on general administrative duties. Headteachers in secondary school spent 11% of their time on individual or professional development, while it was a much smaller proportion of classroom teacher working time (5% or less). 

      The most common reasons given to explain the increase in unnecessary and bureaucratic tasks were preparation for an Ofsted inspection (16% of deputy heads and classroom teachers, and 17% heads) and an increase in forms and paperwork (15% of deputy heads and classroom teachers).

      Teachers were asked to give examples of what they thought were unnecessary and bureaucratic tasks in a number of different areas. Across all areas two common themes emerged, which were duplication and the level of detail required in certain circumstances. In particular duplication was referred to in terms of paper work, marking and recording pupil progress and data analysis, reporting and evidence gathering. The level of detail was considered by teachers to be unnecessary with regard to planning and preparation and marking and progress recording.' 

      Taken from the DfE Workload Survey February 2014 

    Through looking at Florence Nightingale's 'coxcombs' of mortality rates in the Crimean war I felt that the visualisation of such data was a good way of understanding the figures and percentages being collated, particularly because some of the numbers used in the collation of data were large. 

    Taking the information presented on page 25 of the Teacher Workload document (Figure 10 - Average hours worked by full-time teachers, on grouped activities and in total) I started to draw out the information as a coxcomb chart (or polar area diagram) and broke it into 7 sections: 

    Non-teaching pupil/parent contact
    Planning, preparation and assessment
    School/staff management, General administrative support
    Other working activities 

    The resultant charts looked like this (please note that these are only sketches that will be refined at a later date):

    Headteacher: 63.3 weekly working hours

    Primary classroom teacher: 59.3 weekly working hours

    Secondary classroom teacher (non-academy): 55.7 weekly working hours

    A maximum of 7.6 hours difference between these 3 job roles over the course of a week and an average of 11 or 12 hour days. It is interesting to look at the difference in breakdown of responsibilities between a headteacher and a classroom teacher:

    I then decided to look at the average salaries of classroom teachers and headteachers. This is where the similarities ended. I am not criticising headteacher salaries, nor teacher ones, but the difference is large. Headteachers are obviously responsible for a large body of staff as well as all of the students. This responsibility deserves a high pay in my opinion. Whether or not a headteacher is effective and accountable is another matter altogether. A classroom teacher is also well paid in my opinion although the increase in pressure through accountability measures, passive aggressive governance, a politicised inspectorate, a narrowing band of perceived academic attainment, a regular reduction in funding and a stagnant pay scale does not help ones performance. 

    A male headteacher and classroom teacher still receives a higher wage than their female counterparts, which is quite frankly ridiculous. A male headteacher makes an average of £74,400 whilst a female headteacher makes £70,600 and a male classroom teacher earns an average of £35,000 while his female counterpart makes £33,700 (this difference can be seen through the darker band at the outer edge of the next chart):

    Source: TES 2010

    The fact that the profession does work so many hours per week, in a highly pressurised and politicised environment where emotions are intense and interactions are highly demanding for long periods of continuous time, has been the main causation of strike action in recent years. Action I agree with. The NUT, and other Unions, have carried out surveys regarding workload and have found some quite remarkable statistics. This vocational profession sees many members of staff working beyond their expected 1265 hours and there is a considerable swell of opinion that a lot of time is taken up with administrative procedures that often repeat themselves in various formats and at different times of year. It often gets in the way of teaching classes, marking & feedback and preparing lessons. It is the intensity and pressure that is causing the problem not necessarily the hours spent working. Teacher morale is low and in an NUT teacher workload survey of 16379 teachers, from 2014 it found that 90% had considered giving up teaching due to current workload levels. 87% claim to know one or more colleagues who have given up the profession due to workload. 96% state that workload has had a detrimental affect on personal/family life. 86% of leavers (other than those retiring) cite workload as the principle reason for leaving the profession. This chart is outlined below. 

    Finally I wanted to develop these sketches into more a refined study of the data explored so I combined all of these issues - that I feel are interconnected. This is a drawing taking into account large amounts of information from large samples of teachers. It becomes a complex field of information but then again, we are working in a complex field of data information, global pressures and politics. 

    I am moving onto to more personal drawings of how my classes have performed against their predicted grades set 5 and 7 years before their exams take place and before the tumultuous teenage years begin to have an affect on character, personality, interests and experiences. We need to remember that we are not working with statistics,
    - see my previous blog -
    we are working with young people and we cannot make their progress nor our predictions a wholly mechanical thing. In the words of Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator (1940):

    '... We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity.....The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.....Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts!.....You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure...

    ...Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!'

Monday, 8 June 2015

My Number is 1209

I came across the following prose in a student sketchbook as I was moderating their Art coursework. I thought it was beautiful.

'When I was born I was given a number for my weight, time of birth, parents income, how long I was expected to live, how much I was going to make. My life was very numerical. Today I am 16 years old. Another number. I go to school and my candidate number is 1209. I have an IQ of something like 120. My report card says I am an average 2/5 pupil. I am clearly identified by numerical data. In a year I will be going to university. The only way I can go is to score UMS and UCAS points because the higher these numbers the more 'desirable' I become. 

However, again I am 16 and there are numbers I want to lower rather than raise. My weight. My shoe size. My waist. The amount of wrinkles I may have, to look younger. As you can get from this my life is about juggling numbers. My relationship with numbers may get stronger. In 10 years time I will have a job. I will have a bank number and a National Insurance number. In 10 years I will no longer have a name. I will be 10-468-9. They may have barcodes for us. Dehumanise us. Strip us away from who we are. For now, I am [Name]. 

You don't have to identify me by numbers. You can still use words. Tall. Funny. Likeable. Creative. Things that make me less objectified because for now I refuse to use my new name. 1209.' 

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Losing Confidence

I came across a link in a tweet last year which I felt summed up one of the main problems with the current academies programme. A difficulty we face as educators is that our leaders are under increasing pressure to conform to the demands of the global educational reform movement. These demands make it hard for headteachers to stand up to the swell of international opinion (as forced by stakeholders, inspection bodies and corporations who are investing in education) that expect to see an alignment to global market trends and the relational costs of human capital. It takes a confident headteacher and an in-tune board of governors to use the academies conversion programme as a springboard for true autonomy, designed to feed the school they run in the best interests of the students and wider local community, taking into account the history of the institution and its previous successes, regardless of the threats and pressures that come from the DfE and Ofsted. It strikes me that we are right to lose confidence in our leaders if they continue to promote the fear of external measures as the reason for the changes they apply:

'I firmly believe that when the staff in an academy or school see all the initiatives in their institution geared towards external accountability measures, they are right to lose confidence in their leaders because the leaders have clearly lost confidence in themselves.'*

*I cannot attribute the quote to its source as I failed to make a note of the link. I apologise for this. 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Three Ways Art Could Change Britain

Visual art can shape approaches across public policy. Here are three unlikely areas where art and artists can make a difference.

Friday, 24 April 2015

A Pedagogy of Audit: Where Does Art Fit? Part 2

It is currently presented by Dylan Wiliam, writing in both the British Educational Research Journal (1996) and British Journal for Curriculum and Assessment (1992), that the percentage of students misclassified by testing at key stage 2 is anywhere up to 40%, whilst if national curriculum tests are approximately 80% reliable the percentage of student misclassified at key stage 3 is up to 46%. This remarkable statistic presents a stark picture of the inaccurate assessment that is central to creating the troubled picture of inflated data, which immediately undermines the validity of the current process of measurement for secondary schools in England and Wales. It means that teachers are regularly working with data that only becomes more volatile as they and school managers apply their own value added progress measures on top. In simple terms it means that we are working with data in schools that is fundamentally unreliable and yet our own success is measured by it to the point where it can ultimately affect our pay and conditions. Bourdieu (1967) cites Durkheim and the quote is particularly salient in today’s audit culture as he elegantly reflects, ‘[a]ll that is learnt is a remarkable skill in concealing from oneself and others that the dazzling shell of high-flown expression is empty of thought’ (p.354). Or, according to Zizek (1989), quoted by Atkinson (2011), the ‘act of concealing deceives us precisely by pretending to conceal something’ (p.99).

If the pedagogy of audit is to remain, and it shows no signs of going away, is there a way to improve the validity and reliability of measuring success whilst justifying the less prescriptive methods of assessment as seen in the art classroom? Wiliam (2001), argues that it would take the significant extension of time in tests to increase their reliability and validity and states:
‘if we wanted to improve the reliability of… tests so that only 10% of students were awarded the incorrect level, we should need to increase the length of the tests in each subject to over 30 hours!’ (p.19).

This prodigious comment actually does a lot to support the importance of the art examination - currently 10 hours at GCSE level and 20 hours for the GCE qualification (8 hours at AS level and 12 hours at A2 but to become 25 hours under new A-level specification framework for 2016) and begs the question; are the art results actually the most accurate in the school? It perhaps makes sense considering that the current exam timescale actually makes up the 30 hours cited by Wiliam. But there is more; In the build up to such an examination there is the exploration of initial ideas, the continual refinement and reviewing of ones practice, the self, peer & teacher evaluation that take place throughout the exam preparatory period (not to mention the months of exploration, mistake making, learning, reflecting and experimenting throughout the previous coursework unit) before the culmination of the 2 or 3 day long timed outcome. It also needs to be taken into consideration that the assessment structures within the qualifications build on top of each other, resulting in the gradual yet continual raising of student development over four years from year 10 to year 13 through long-term thematic projects and on-going formative feedback. 

This then raises another question - is the artist teacher’s knowledge of their students and application of their assessment, both formative and summative therefore more reliable and valid than any projected grade set by stakeholders or government statistics? If so, there is a case for promoting the validity and reliability of the art results as the most rigorous and trust-worthy across the current testing system in schools. This throws into doubt the current narrow external performance measures & data targets being forced onto teachers and their students.

It is a positive argument to make for two reasons. Firstly it outlines the continued importance of teaching and learning through the pedagogy of the artist teacher, where the student is encouraged to become an active and creative individual, heavily involved in their own learning and it also denounces the rigid, narrowing band of achievement as presented by the current neoliberal model for education.  Yet it does not mean that all is well. Atkinson (2011), when analysing systems of assessment, presents them as ‘a clear manifestation… of the wider exponential growth of audit cultures’ precipitating learning ‘along prescribed routes’ (p.98). So we can see that, by its very existence the demand for assessment underpins the pedagogy of audit that I am seeking to undermine. The learning parameters set by the rigid molar structures of assessment have often been challenged by artist teachers but ultimately we return to the position where:
‘[t]he discrepancy between belief and practice is infused with complicities of power whereby although we may not believe totally in our specific social mandates the demands of our institutionalised practices suggest that we do’
     Atkinson (2011, p.97).
This is evidence that despite the best intentions of the lines of flight to decode, deterritorialise and undermine the working of the social machine they are eventually always: 
‘recaptured or reterritorialized in molar processes such as institutionalized and bureaucratic education practices that translate the desire of bodies into the line segments necessary to make ‘education’ happen’ 
Albrecht-Crane & Daryl Flack (2007, p.104).

As such, by ‘virtue of molar segmentation, bodies become identifiable in their roles as teacher and students’ (p.103) and we then need to ‘consider carefully how learners and teachers and their objects are constructed or commoditised and how such processes prescribe learning and teaching’ Atkinson, (2011, p.99). 

What Wiliam does for the importance of arts education and assessment however is bring about evidence that helps reclaim the argument for process rather than the simply the focus on end result where we now have a case for challenging the pedagogy of audit through the explicit reliability and validity of our delivery. Wiliam (2001) talks about the relationship between reliability and validity of testing and how the results of ‘even the best tests can be wildly inaccurate’ for individuals and for this reason high-stake decisions should never be based on the results of individual tests.  He states that:
‘[I]t is worth noting that these are not weaknesses in the quality of the tests but fundamental limitations of what tests can do… the key to improved reliability lies with increased use of teacher assessment’ (p.20).

This does challenge the current pedagogy of audit as the main form of measuring progress and validating success and goes some way to arguing that the current system places too much importance on teaching to the test over the development of life-long learners. Glenys Stacey of Ofqual, in a speech to the Association of School and College Leaders on 20th March 2015 also explains how:
‘in this country we put a great deal of reliance on individual grades, on results… the grades students achieve are central to how schools are judged – central to accountability’ 

It is worth noting that Stacey does go onto prescribe how the reforming of qualifications will validate the current upheaval we are seeing in the sector but mainly through the use of neoliberal rhetoric making the content unreliable in my opinion. 

There is clarity in Wiliam’s method of manipulating the more supple molecular frameworks however as it potentially gives power back to the artist teacher to continue applying ‘processes of real learning and their affective dimensions’ Atkinson (2011, p.98) through a more abstract version of the commodity of assessment. Even if it means a return to the contradictions between practice and assessment, it is one ‘with new points located outside the limits and in other directions’ where we ‘plug the tracings back into the map, connect the roots or trees back up with a rhizome’ Deleuze & Guattari (1987, p.11 & 14). Indeed, Bourdieu helps make the point that if we can position ourselves to challenge the audit culture through evidencing the importance of our own, more accurate, collation of information of our students; through assessment, through delivery, through the possibility of illumination by conversation and negotiation we are in greater control of our actions that the current system would like us to be:
‘The cunning of pedagogic reason lies precisely in the fact that it manages to extort what is essential while seeming to demand the insignificant… Bodily hexis is political mythology realized, em-bodied, turned into a permanent disposition, a durable way of standing, speaking, walking, and thereby of feeling and thinking’  
Margolis (1999, p.71).

This is what the artist teacher does so well. It is our relationship with our classes, with individuals specifically, which underpins our role. The craft of our pedagogical approaches are difficult to be measured and controlled through audit and we manipulate our routines and read the situations put in front of us on a daily basis. The practical nature of this pedagogy, where we accompany learners as they learn and support them through the demands of assessment by providing a framework where we can accurately place their progress, whilst still being able to encourage a creative and intuitive learning environment, is key to challenging compliance to the pedagogy of audit. The strength of belief in the validity and reliability of assessment in our subject can challenge the demand to defer to big data, stakeholders predictions and the increased monitoring of our classroom activity. The pedagogy of audit will remain but as artist teachers we can be confident in our identity, our ability and our understanding of more complex pedagogical approaches that continue to deterritorialise the more rigid constraints of the current system both through reflective practice and assessment. 

Reference List:

Albrecht-Crane, C. and Daryl Slack, J. (2007) Towards a Pedagogy of Affect in Hickey-Moody, A. and Malins, P. (2007) Deleuzian Encounters: Studies in Contemporary Social Issues 
Palgrave MacMillan 
St Martin’s Press

Atkinson, D. (2011) Art, Equality and Learning: Pedagogies Against the State
Sense Publishing

Badham, M. (2013) The Turn to Community 
Journal of Arts & Communities, volume 5, numbers 2 & 3
Intellect Limited

Barber, M. and Hill, P. (2014) Preparing for a Renaissance in Assessment
London: Pearson

BBC News Education (2013) Warnings of Rise of ‘Unqualified Teachers’ in Classrooms

BBC News Education (2012) Academies Told They Can Hire Unqualified Teachers

Bourdieu, P. (1967) Systems of Education and Systems of Thought
International Social Science Journal: Social Functions of Education, volume XIX, number 3 

Bouveresse, J. (1999) Rules, Dispositions, and the Habitus in Shusterman, R. (1999) Bourdieu: A Critical Reader
Blackwell Publishers Inc.

Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1987) A Thousand Plateaus
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

DfE (Department for Education) (2015) Speech: 20th March Stacey, G. Artistic Tensions

DfE (Department for Education) (2014) Speech: Secretary of State for Education: Our Plan for Education

DfE (Department for Education) (2012) Academies to Have Same Freedom as Free Schools Over Teachers

Hickman, R. (2007) (In Defence of) Whippet-Fancying and Other Vices: Re-evaluating Assessment in Art & Design in Rayment, T. (2007) The Problem of Assessment in Art & Design
Intellect Books

Lords Hansard text for 27th November 2014 (2014) Schools: Arts Education

Margolis, J. (1999) Pierre Bourdieu: Habitus and the Logic of Practice in Shusterman, R. (1999) Bourdieu: A Critical Reader
Blackwell Publishers Inc.

OECD (2014) PISA 2012 Results in Focus: What 15-year Olds Know and What They Can Do With What They Know
OECD 2014

OFSTED (2015) Better Inspection for All - a report on the responses to the consultation February 2015 

Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street (2014) Press Release: 8th December Cameron, D. Maths and Science Must Be the Top Priority in Schools

Smith, M. K. (2012) What Is Pedagogy? The encyclopedia of informal education. [ Retrieved 20/04/2015]

University of Warwick (2015) Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth. The 2015 Report by the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value
The University of Warwick

Wiliam, D. (2001) Reliability, Validity and All That Jazz. Education 3-13 Assessment October 2001 p.17-21