It has been a while since I have had a rant on education. After all, I am, tutoring aside, pretty much out of the game now leaving it in the capable hands of people like The Rabbit, but League tables can play to fears of parents in today’s Sydney Morning Herald is worth noting because Ken Boston is right.
… Dr Boston, who served as the chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority in England for seven years before he resigned after a chaotic round of national curriculum tests last year, addressed a meeting of school principals in Sydney yesterday.
Dr Boston said league tables had damaged the curriculum in England and could not be relied on to provide fair and accurate comparisons.
”I am a supporter of national testing in England and in Australia,” he said. ”I am opposed to the use of league tables.”
Dr Boston said England’s system of school inspections and auditing had resulted in authoritative reports on schools, leading to improvements in their performance. However, simplistic league tables had gained greater public attention…
The high stakes attached to league tables in England had ”seriously damaged the breadth and quality” of the primary school curriculum, making it ”narrower and poorer”. The role of national tests had changed from providing a diagnostic tool for improvement to a determinant of a teacher’s future employment. As a result, a recent survey had shown 70 per cent of primary schools were spending three hours a week on prepping students for literacy and numeracy tests, which had narrowed the focus on other subjects…
Take note, Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd: such may be the unintended consequences of running the tape measure over everything willy-nilly – not an education revolution but an education nightmare, not the sought transparency but further confusion.