Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
9 December 2013
At a time of mega-testing of children’s intellectual abilities, when there is ferocious competition between states to rank highly in the annual hit parades of those with the top-performing pupils, it is perhaps worth reflecting whether the downside of the educational rat race involved – the elimination of play and the stunting of young people’s natural and emotional development – outweighs any putative advantages. Besides which, of course, the international comparisons are often flawed through being based on skewed statistics which, inter alia, fail to take account of cultural and societal differences. The warning “rubbish in, rubbish out” applies as much here as in any computerised statistical model.
Which is why it was refreshing to read the following letter from reader Roy Boffy in the London Guardian newspaper on 4 December 2013:
“Why have these tests at all? Most teachers can tell us, very cheaply, how well children are performing, who is doing well, who needs more support, without the complicated, expensive and often invalid rigmarole of formal testing. Nowhere in the workplace are people subject to such regimes. Workers are not set down in serried ranks and given unseen papers to test how well they do their jobs! Such a procedure would be preposterous – and it is no less preposterous when applied to students.”
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
5.Ladder (21 June 2012)
6. A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
7. A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.