Professional Engagement update: We still need to talk about workloads

Since the release of the NESA Curriculum Fact Sheets, employers have assured the IEU they do not require compliance documentation that exceeds the NESA recommendations.

Despite such assurances, we are still hearing about excessive workloads.

If your school or system still expects excessive documentation or detail with regards to programming, registration and/or duplication of records or data, we want to know about it.

Please contact your IEU organiser and tell them about it.

Future compliance efforts

The IEU is working with NESA to find ways of streamlining the compliance process for schools, thus reducing workloads for teachers.

One simple and effective approach we’re pushing is to remove the over-reliance on teaching programs as evidence that a school is meeting compliance requirements. A scope and sequence that meets syllabus requirements is sufficient to ensure a school is compliant.

This then leaves the programming component of a teacher’s professional role up to the individual, as it rightly should be.

Marking: The new frontier

While excessive programming demands are still an issue, especially in primary schools, excessive marking processes in secondary schools has emerged as the new work-intensification battle ground.

Members are reporting a range of issues, including:

  • requests to double mark all tasks, especially in Stage 6
  • attempts to replicate the HSC marking processes for Stage 6, including pilot marking, benchmarking, check marking, and double marking
  • attempts to replicate the HSC marking process in Stages 4 and 5 grading processes.

While the IEU will always support efforts to improve educational standards, it is difficult to see how robust marking processes, with appropriate support for less experienced teachers, would require wholesale double marking or replicating the HSC marking process in Stages 4 and 5.

Remember that teachers are required to report student achievement in Stages 4 and 5 against a common grade scale. Evidence should be derived from learning activities and observations collected over time. Excessive focus on a limited number of high-stakes “formal” assessment tasks runs counter to this objective.

Where required, schools should utilise existing faculty meeting time to ensure staff are allocating marks and grades consistently, including engaging with the standards referenced assessment framework.

NESA provides face-to-face and online training in allocating grades consistently. There are also work samples on the NESA website, and many existing work samples that schools have previously compiled should remain relevant for the new syllabuses.

Now is the time for school leaders to show their trust in teacher judgement. Where students and parents have concerns about a particular mark or grade allocation, it might be in the interests of everyone to take them on a learning journey, rather than push additional workload onto already overworked teachers. Please let us know what is happening in your school:

Pat Devery
Professional Engagement Coordinator

NESA fees due

If you have held off paying your annual $100 NESA fee, you are running out of time.
At the start of Term 2 (Monday 29 April), any accredited teacher who is not financial with NESA will have their accreditation suspended and cannot be employed in a NSW school. We urge all members to avoid this.