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Design & Technology and Computer Science in the CAMAU Project: the Genesis of Learning Progression in the New Curriculum for Wales.

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Document pages: 14 pages

Abstract: Wales is currently undertaking significant curricular reform following a systematic review of the country’s education system (Donaldson, 2015). As frameworks that reflect evolving societal demands and shape learning experiences, curricula occupy a powerful and integral place in Education. Despite this, it is not always clear that they support pupils’ learning in ways that pay attention to research evidence and classroom experience. The CAMAU Project (University of Glasgow & University of Wales Trinity Saint David), designed to address this concern, was commissioned by the Welsh Government to support the process of radical, evidence-based curricular reform. Developed around the Integrity Model of Change (Hayward & Spencer, 2010), it brings together researchers, policy-makers and Welsh teachers as co-developers of learning progressions using participatory research methods (Bergold & Thomas, 2012) and the principle of subsidiarity (Donaldson, ibid). These frameworks will support planning and formative assessment by describing learning journeys for Welsh pupils aged 3 to 16.This paper describes the CAMAU project and discusses selected findings from research, policy and practice in the first phase of developing progression frameworks for Design and Technology, and Computer Science. Reviews of research and policy presented in Hayward et al (2018) were undertaken using the ‘Knowledge to Action’ method (Khangura et al, 2012). A discussion of this evidence suggests that ideas of ‘the process of abstraction’, ‘systems and mental models’ and ‘quantity, level of integration and complexity of factors considered’ may be important in learning progression. From the perspective of practice, more open-ended pupil tasks appear to support teachers better in the early stages of thinking through progression. When initially describing learning progression, many teachers focused on describing particular task requirements or the independent use of skills, rather than the underlying conceptual understanding. Initial descriptions were more skill-based with less agreement about the knowledge required to support progression.

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