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Blogs on appraisal, performance management, lesson observationsRecently the press and social media have been full of news about the failure of OFSTED (or anyone) to accurately grade lessons. You may have seen from our tweets that John, originator of the iAbacus Model, has been busy adding a calm and reflective view to this debate. Two of John’s articles were published on School Improvement.Net both were top reads for the week and they form a useful analysis of where we are now.

Does this change in OFSTED lesson observation protocol affect users of the iAbacus? Our simple answer is, “NO – it doesn’t”. If your school is using iAbacus for professional development and performance management, including appraisal, rest assured you are using the very best process. We asked John to summarise what we know and why this puts iAbacus users in a unique position. John wrote:

“Recent developments are a real step forward for teacher professionalism, let’s pull out key facts:

  1. Ofsted will no longer be grading lessons and neither should schools. Why? Because grading single events (a lesson) has been exposed as no more valid than flipping a coin and cannot be a proxy for judging an area of work that event is part of (teaching and learning).
  2. Judgements will only be seen as robust and secure when founded on a range of triangulated, telling and appropriate evidence and data. For teaching and learning this is likely to include a blend of: performance data, work scrutiny, student and teacher voice and evidence (not grades) from lesson observations.
  3. Judgements will only be seen as robust and secure when founded on a range of triangulated, telling and appropriate evidence and data. For teaching and learning this is likely to include a blend of: performance data, work scrutiny, student and teacher voice and evidence (not grades) from lesson observations.
  4. Validated self-evaluation is becoming far more significant as Ofsted plans a simpler inspection regime starting with a “schools’ view of itself”. Initial inspections of schools will now judge the capacity of the school to judge itself. So schools really must develop their self-evaluation skills and evidence of this will form part of their range of telling evidence.
    Moving on from judgement to: an analysis, of what helps and hinders progress; prioritising ACTION and evaluating impact complete the critical phases of school improvement.

I’m really excited 1-3 are now accepted and will be in place soon. I still worry that an obsession with judgement means that 4 will take longer to achieve across some schools. The iAbacus team and current users appreciate The iAbacus is unique in providing not only the rationale and theory for validated self-evaluation and action planning but also the tools to do it simply and effectively. That was why we created it and why we are so keen t promote it. I’m really keen to chat any of this through with iAbacus users and see if there are any ways we can refine the process and spread them word”

Feel free to email John on john@iabacus.co.uk