A libertarian inclined blog for teachers and learners of all ages. Comments, emails and links to other educational stuff welcome.
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Category archive: Testing
As I said, maybe the occasional thing:
Photoed in a local newsagent lask week. Well, I’ve always thought that children can sometimes also be teachers.
Typical media coverage here.
If you want educational fun, read what is being said at the Coffee House about the nightmare day had by Ed Balls, the politician doing his best not to take the blame for the SATs disaster. Here, here, and here. Here is what opposition spokesman Gove has to say.
Coffee House did a posting today about the SATs fiasco, and this comment, from “Sam”, caught my attention:
Now, we must remember that ETS, the American company entrusted with the contract for this year’s SATs grading, was only allowed a look in because of EU regulations. The regulations allowed for a closed bid and the lowest bidder wins. Nothing to do with, say, competence or familiarity with the system? No. I certainly didn’t vote for that, did you? There’s more than Balls cocking things up, that’s for sure!
I can remember when clever Thatcherites were rejoicing at how clever they were to be compelling public sector institutions to buy things from the lowest bidder. And I can remember lefties saying it was daft. In this case, the lefties have been proved correct.
From the Times, yesterday:
The fiasco over delayed school test results affecting millions of children could result in the company responsible being sacked and forced to pay back tens of millions of pounds.
Ken Boston, the head of the exams regulator, said after an emergency hearing of MPs yesterday, that the testing system was under stress and needed modernising. He added that problems were unlikely to be resolved in time for next year’s tests.
Thousands of parents are expected to challenge the results, encouraged by the adverse publicity surrounding this year’s exams.
This week Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said schools were reporting “all kinds of problems” with marking, and told parents that they should not rely on SATs [national curriculum test] results as the sole indicator of their child’s progress. He urged schools to give parents teachers’ assessments of pupils, as well as SATs results, and advised that these be treated as “provisional”.
Yesterday Dr Boston, the chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, claimed that the company, ETS, had failed to respond to 10,000 e-mails. His officials were forced to set up and pay for a call centre to cope with complaints to the company.
However, MPs also raised questions about Dr Boston’s future, ...
The free market is one thing, and the government awarding the national contract to one national contractor is quite another.
For once, a threat to commit a school massacre/suicide is being taken seriously:
A middle school principal threatened to kill a group of science teachers if their students did not improve their standardized test scores, according to a complaint filed with the New Braunfels Police Department.
Anita White, who taught at New Braunfels Middle School for 18 years before being transferred this month to the district’s Learning Center, said Principal John Burks made the threat in a Jan. 21 meeting with eighth-grade science teachers.
She said Burks was angry that scores on benchmark tests were not better, and the scores on the upcoming Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills tests must show improvement.
“He said if the TAKS scores were not as expected he would kill the teachers,” White said. “He said ‘I will kill you all and kill myself.’ He finished the meeting that way and we were in shock.
Obviously, we talked about it among ourselves. He just threatened our lives. After he threatened to kill us, he said, ‘You don’t know how ruthless I can be.’
“We walked out of the meeting just totally dumbfounded because it was not a joke,” White said.
New Braunfels Police spokesman Mike Penshorn said the incident was filed as a verbal assault, but is being investigated as a terroristic threat.
Via the always educational Dave Barry.
This is very odd. The headline at the top says:
Local union/board officials say Fraser Institute ranking helpful for education
But the first sentence of the story immediately below this headline goes:
Local education administrators and union officials are saying that the Fraser Institute Report ranking Ontario’s schools is less than helpful.
It’s all about how a Free Market Institute (the Fraser Institute) is judging the quality of schools, in accordance with a restricted notion of what school quality consists of. Test results basically.
I think that free market institutes should be saying not: This is how we judge schools; but rather: How can schools be re-arranged to the point where people can judge schools for themselves? (See the previous posting.)
The Independent reports on how educating otherwise is on the rise. Partly it’s the fear of violence and bullying.
Ann Newstead, the charity’s spokeswoman, said there had been a steady increase in the number of families teaching their children at home. “Whether it is perceived or real, the apparent rise in drugs and knife culture in schools is shocking and makes people think their child might not be safe in school. We have had a big increase in people joining with pre-school children. They are looking at the state system but do not believe it is working.
Mrs Newstead, who has four children, aged 12, 10, 5 and 8 months, withdrew her two eldest sons from school in July 2005 because of bullying. “My seven-year-old [now aged 10] was being badly bullied,” she said. “When we took him out of school we gave our eldest son the choice. It’s worked so well that this September we made the decision not to send our third child to school.”
But now there is a new fear, of too much testing:
Last week the biggest review of primary education for decades revealed that parents were increasingly choosing to educate children at home because they objected to the state school regime of testing and targets.
The link at the bottom, where it says “Interesting? Click here to explore further”, leads to further interesting stuff.