Ollin, Ros (2010) The impact of Ofsted grading criteria on the discourse and practices of tutors carrying out teaching observations for programmes of Initial Teaching Education in the Lifelong Learning Sector’. In: 9th Discourse, Power, Resistance Conference, 30 March - 1 April, 2010, Univesity of Greenwich, UK. (Unpublished)

In inspections carried out by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) an increasing emphasis is being placed on the observation of trainees' practical teaching as evidence for the inspection grades awarded to educational institutions. In the current inspection round, Ofsted use criteria for key aspects of trainees' performance based on four grades: outstanding, good, satisfactory and inadequate (Ofsted, 2009). These grading criteria now need to be taken into account by Higher Education partnerships offering the Certificate in Education/PGCE for teachers in the Lifelong Learning Sector. But what impact could the introduction of grading have on tutors more familiar with a developmental observation process? Previous research on teaching observation has indicated that a significant proportion of trainees are in favour of grading (Burrows, 2008), but has also indicated tensions between different models and purposes of observation (Hardman, 2007, Ewens and Orr, 2002). Although some writings have tried to indicate the nature of excellent or 'outstanding' teaching (Hattie, 2009), other writings indicate the problems inherent in absolute judgements on performance within a political context of continuous improvement (Coffield and Edwards, 2009).

This poster presentation summarises some key findings from a research project on the influence of Ofsted grading criteria on tutors carrying out teacher observations in a large PCET Consortium. It considers the different purposes of teaching observation, the potential impact of a shift from developmental to judgemental observations and the effect of Ofsted discourse on the language tutors use in feedback to trainees

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