CAMAU: Progression and Assessment in the Curriculum for Wales
Since the publication of Successful Futures (Donaldson, 2015) and the adoption by Welsh Government of its recommendations (A curriculum for Wales – a curriculum for life Welsh Government, 2015), a national strategy has been underway to build new curriculum, pedagogy and assessment arrangements which will offer young people in Wales educational experiences that are fit for the 21st century. The creation of these new arrangements is the responsibility of all involved in education in Wales – communities, policy makers, practitioners and researchers.
The CAMAU project, a collaboration between the University of Glasgow (UofG) and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), funded by the Welsh Government and the UWTSD, was designed to support the Welsh education system in this task. The focus of the CAMAU project is progression. CAMAU aims to provide evidence from research, policy and practice to address five main questions:
- How might curriculum, progression and assessment be described and developed in Wales to focus on learning and to promote better alignment between research, policy and practice?
- In what ways do models of curriculum progression relate to progression in learning emerging from evidence of learning and progression within schools and classrooms?
- To what extent is it possible to think of assessment as the use of evidence to enable future learning, as ‘progression steps’, rather than as a summary of past achievement?
- What implications arise from the CAMAU work with AoLE groups that will be essential to consider in the next phases of the programme (i.e. implications for professional learning)?
- What implications arise from this exploratory partnership project for research, policy and practice in Wales and beyond?
The Welsh Government established a national network of Pioneer Schools, teachers from which worked in national groups related to each of the six Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLEs) – Expressive Arts; Health and Well-being; Humanities; Languages, Literacy and Communication; Mathematics and Numeracy; and Science and Technology – to identify what matters in each of the six AoLEs and how progression in learning might best be discerned and described within each Area of Learning and Experience.
CAMAU worked with the six AoLE groups of teachers, researchers and policy makers to bring together evidence from
- research on progression,
- national and international policy on progression and
- empirically derived understandings of progression in classrooms
to explore how progression might best be described and developed in relation to these six curricular areas of learning and experience. The project also investigated how progression steps might be most helpfully identified, described and used to support future learning.
PI and Co-Is
PI: Professor Louise Hayward, School of Education, University of Glasgow
Co-PIs: Professor Dylan Jones and Professor Jane Waters, University of Wales Trinity St David (UWTSD)
Start and End Date
February 2017 to December 2019
Funder and Funding Amount
Funders: Welsh Government and UWTSD
Total funding: £500,000
Allocation of funding: University of Glasgow £400,000; UWTSD £100,000
Hayward, L., Jones, D. E., Waters, J., Makara, K., Morrison-Love, D., Spencer, E., Barnes, J., Davies, H., Hughes, S., Jones, C., Nelson, S., Ryder, N., Stacey, D., Wallis, R., Baxter, J., MacBride, G., Bendall, R., Brooks, S., Cooze, A., Davies, L., Denny, H., Donaldson, P., Hughes, S., Lewis, I., Lloyd, P., Maitra, S., Morgan, C, Pellew James, S., Samuel-Thomas, S., Sharpling, E., Southern, A., Stewart, S., Valdera-Gil, F., Wardle, G. (2018) Learning about Progression: CAMAU Research Report Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Swansea: University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Note: the content of this report is available in different formats for different audiences and purposes.
Note also that these publications are also available in Welsh as
Hayward, L., Jones, D. E., Waters, J., Makara, K., Morrison-Love, D., Spencer, E., Barnes, J., Davies, H., Hughes, S., Jones, C., Nelson, S., Ryder, N., Stacey, D., Wallis, R., Baxter, J., MacBride, G., Bendall, R., Brooks, S., Cooze, A., Davies, L., Denny, H., Donaldson, P., Hughes, S., Lewis, I., Lloyd, P., Maitra, S., Morgan, C, Pellew James, S., Samuel-Thomas, S., Sharpling, E., Southern, A., Stewart, S., Valdera-Gil, F., Wardle, G. (2018) Dysgu am Ddilyniant: Prosiect CAMAU: Adroddiad Ymchwil. Glasgow: Prifysgol Glasgow; Abertawe: Prifysgol Cymru Y Drindod Dewi Sant
The CAMAU project has already had a major influence on the structure and development of the new Curriculum for Wales:
- CAMAU researchers analysed and synthesised existing research with findings from new research developed by the team regarding:
- the construct of progression;
- progression as conceptualised in Welsh policy;
- research evidence of progression in different curricular areas;
- structures and descriptions of progression in other countries’ curriculum frameworks;
- Welsh teachers’ insights from professional experience into progression.
- CAMAU researchers explored and developed alternative ways of mediating research to policy-makers and practitioners and employed these within the AoLE groups.
- CAMAU reported in depth on these matters to the Welsh Government in April 2018 (see above)
- CAMAU team members contributed through their reviews of research and international practice to the development and definition of the ‘What Matters’ statements which structure each of the six areas of learning and experience.
- Within each What Matters statement, progression in learning is structured in terms of broad descriptions of learning development (from beginning learner to expert), rather than as detailed prescriptive statements of predetermined standards; this reflects the initial CAMAU research reported to and discussed with the Welsh Government.
Curricular documentation, informed and structured in these ways, is now being finalised for publication and engagement with teachers across Wales in April 2020.
In the current phase of the project, CAMAU researchers are gathering information from young people, teachers and policy makers to deepen understanding of the processes of sustainable change and widening the empirical evidence base for our understanding of progression in each area of the curriculum. When this evidence has been collected and analysed, the CAMAU team will share feedback from teachers and children and young people with the Welsh Government to inform teacher engagement with and further development of the curriculum in the next phase of the programme and to identify implications for professional learning.
As they do so, CAMAU researchers consider the implications which arise from this partnership project for effective and sustainable collaboration across research, policy and practice in Wales and beyond in the development and co-construction of the curriculum.
The impact of CAMAU on development in Wales has been strengthened by the membership of UofG researchers on key national policy committees:
- membership of the Independent Advisory Group reporting to the Minister for Education
- membership of the WG Curriculum and Assessment Group advising on the design and development process and reviewing outcomes
- membership of the WG Coherence Group managing the curriculum development and engagement process
- membership of the WG Assessment Advisory Group
- joint leadership with WG of the six teacher working groups which developed curriculum and progression models for each of the six curricular areas (AoLEs)
University of Glasgow Educational Assessment Network (UGEAN):