Friday, 13 November 2009

Results of testing won't be used for league tables?

We seem to becoming more obsessed with tests and and easy comparisons. Julia Gillard, Australia's Education Minister, says there will be no league tables.

We've heard it all before.

Recently a meeting of principals in Canberra warned a new website that provides information on schools around the country could lead to the creation of league tables even though the website has been designed to stop that happening.

Are exams bad for children? The Telegraph, UK, quotes Greg Watson, head of OCR, one of three main exam boards, as saying that the system of league tables and Ofsted inspections piled pressure on teachers to get results at all costs.

In a speech, he suggested that “exam factories” were being created, potentially damaging children’s education.

The article is written by By Graeme Paton, Education Editor of The Telegraph. He says that the comments are a latest in a series of attacks on the way the UK Government uses exam results to hold schools - and pupils - to account.

Two of England’s main teaching unions – the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Head Teachers claim the exams, which are taken in the final year of primary education, skew the curriculum and force schools to “teach to the test”.

Exams are not in themselves bad for children - what is bad is an exam the results of which "indicate the school's performance", making the school teach to the exam to improve their rating - together with financial incentives.

I remain sceptical when our politicians say the they are being transparent and that league tables won't happen.

At the Canberra principals meeting Ms Gillard insisted after the launch ''there is no part of this website that can be sorted into a league table by using sort functions on the computer. That is simply not possible''. clever - It's not us that will create the league tables.

League tables won't be created? Yeah, and pigs might fly.

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