Children going through the education system in the UK are more tested than any generation that came before. Is this a good thing?
One teacher said that you don't make children taller by measuring them. She's right to a point. Testing, however, does put pressure on children to learn, which does increase their learning. Her complaint does seem valid to a certain extent.
We live in an age with access to more information than ever before- the internet and IT have opened up vista never even dreamt of previously, yet the authorities are retrenching into the most conservative regime of testing ever seen.
I feel that they are doing this as a consequence of the same revolution- never before have they had so much access to information as IT has brought them and it is this, I believe, that drives their mania for testing as it boils down to nice spreadsheets for them to gloat over. The pass mark for GCSE maths was dropped by several points this year. Yet, or because of this, the minister will be able to compare his performance to that of the minister before him and feel that he is doing a good job.
A lot of what is wrong in education is a consequence of the information revolution. IT enbles people to generate endless statistics and this has become a game, where figures are more important than facts. If the pass mark for maths has dropped by several percent (from 50-42%, according to the papers, who were interviewing the former head of a major exam board), then is Charles Clarke a more successful minister than the previous incumbent. He'd probably say yes and quote his grades to prove it. I find this deeply troubling.
Categories: Tests and Exams