Tag Archives: UK testing

How About Testing The Test Makers?

A visitor from the past would be most shocked by modern belief that a set of questions given students are the best measure of how they think or they level of intelligence. Of course, Abe Lincoln came from a disadvantaged family and would most probably today be identified as an individual whose family background precluded great success in school. Test papers for English 11 year olds arrived after being graded by those who deem to know how to take a test. Test papers included examples of the word ‘distinctive” being marked as incorrect and the test marker indicated the word should have been spelled, “destinctive.” Rachel Ross, headteacher of Woolton Hill junior school in Newbury, exclaimed: “there are lots of errors. We feel somebody has rushed through with the marking and didn’t apply the marking scheme as well as they could have done.” Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers in the UK claims “one in five grades have been inaccurate.”

It is time to end the mania of testing and return to the concept that teachers know best how to evaluate learning. Yes, there are a high percent of incompetent teachers. That means head teachers and principals have to dismiss those who cannot teach. But, in the end, it comes down to teachers making decisions concerning learning, not men and women sitting thousands of miles away from the classroom deciding what was learned in a course.

This is my 53rd year in education. I don’t know many truths about teaching and learning, but I do know standardized testing reduces learning to the lowest possible common denominator.

Who Knows Pupil Learning–Teachers Or Test Makers?

Latest test results from Great Britain suggest more than 120,000 11 year-old students are unable to read, write, and add up properly. According to the tests, about one in five children fail to make the grade in English and even more are unable to reach the required standards in math. However, teachers disagree with test results and their complaints range from having students coached to obtain higher test scores to the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) which claims to have been flooded with more than 300 emails from schools highlighting examples of maladministration and inaccuracies in grading. Government officials insist tests are accurate indicators of what students are learning while most schools claim they will retest students in the fall because they have lost confidence in the ability of tests to provide accurate information as to the learning levels of students.

Most teachers agree student performance has led to higher scores due to coaching for the test but they are upset tests come in May and then there is a drop off in anyone teaching children.

If teachers are professionals they should be accorded the same respect and confidence one has for doctors. They work with each child over a hundred days and any competent teacher has a fair grasp as to the learning ability of students in their class. It is time to trust teachers.