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Assessment for Learning - what do people think?

Discussion in 'Assessment' started by Rach567, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. Patience, old bean! We aren't all strapped to a computer all day you know, and anyway, this Olympics isn't going to watch itself! To summarise... I am of the view that excellent, professionally skilled teaching is disproportionately advantageous to less advantaged students. Therefore, it helps to narrow the achievement gap between rich and poor, and is likely to raise levels of equality and promote social justice. You, however, don't believe this - you think that teaching is a simple, exam-focused activity, and I suspect that this is reflective of the types of school you have taught in (although I could be wrong of course). From assessing my opinions, you have deemed that I am an infantile Marxist, and you have proceeded to claim that, because I would (and did) send my child to the local comprehensive, irrespective of its reputation, I am some sort of morally disreputable intellectual coward (admit it - you think I'm one of the 'dense' ones don't you?). I reply, with a growing sense of weariness borne of repetition, that I don't think that choice of school for one's child is adequate grounds for making rather unpleasant judgements about a person's moral fibre, even, and I say this in the spirit of magnanimity, if they choose to send their child off to boarding school aged 6.
  3. Do not want this to sound facetious, don't mean it to, but I really can't remember what the question is? Can you remind me?
  4. You said that you would purposefully and willingly send your child to a failing school (failing by all objective standards: staffed by supply teachers; evident drug problems; high non-attendance rates; high suspension/ expulsion rates; extremely low attainment levels, etc., etc. , not failing in the opinion of 'middle-class parents' as you said but objectively failing) when you could, in fact, get a much better school by relocating. I then said that this is immoral because it is putting your political ideology over and above the welfare of your child. Your child certainly wouldn't want to attend such a school and by putting him into such a school you are, in all probability, condeming him to a prolonged period of misery, hardship and failure and also, in all probability, deleteriously affecting him for life. Therefore, would you agree that by putting your child into such a school you are, in all probability, deleteriously affecting him for life, and therefore that your decision to put him into such a school is immoral?
  5. Well, why? You can't just say 'no'. What is your reason? What do you think it is not immoral?
  6. Well, why? You can't just say 'no'. What is your reason for saying it is not immoral?
  7. Parenthetically, you also haven't responded to my other point. Look back through the posts. Would you agree that you are a member of the middle-classes?
  8. Do you mean that you are a member of the middle-classes? If so, then why do you speak so disparagingly about the middle-classes? But where is your answer? Why are you not acting immorally if you send your child to that type of school? You must agree that by sending him to that type of school you are deleteriously affecting him, in all probability for life, so why is this not immoral?
  9. Morning! I am not sure why you think I have spoken disparagingly about the middle-classes? Where's the disparagement? I've had a look back but I can't find any - some of my best friends are middle-class. I suppose I don't share your rather bleak view of this school as you describe it. In even the toughest schools, children do well and thrive, and the school won't get any better if middle-class types shun it... maybe I'll become a parent governor? And if it's as terrible as you say, it's probably due some support - tends to involve Academisation, shiny new buildings, all that business - might be quite good? The state sector does have mechanisms for helping 'failing' schools you know - look at the improvements made in London for example - I think it's all going to be OK! But enough about me, my imaginary new child and this imaginary hell-hole... what about you? What you you do if you had a choice between sending your child to the local comprehensive - let's say it was a OFSTED satisfactory, with results just above national benchmark standards (so let's say 40%), OR, sending your child to a private school... BUT... there's a catch! You have to send them to one particular private school because, I don't know, Great Uncle Bertie left you a voucher in his will or something. However, the private school in question has a terrible reputation for producing snobbish, arrogant young people... it also has a reputation for drug use and bullying... what WOULD YOU DO???!
  10. You have spoken disparagingly about the middle-classes (despite being a member of the middle-classes yourself, by your own admission.) You said that this hypothetical school is only 'bad' according to the views of 'middle-class' parents. Not by objective critera, but according to 'middle-class' parents. If that isn't speaking disparagingly about the middle-classes, then what the devil is it? You even do it in this post: 'the school won't get any better if middle-class parents shun it'. Q.E.D. Also, yet again, you don't answer the question. More evasion and obfuscation. You are purposefully sending your child to a terrible school, thereby, in all probability, deleteriously affecting them for life. And, as I said, it's a certainty that your child wouldn't want to go to this school. The school in this example is a terrible school. By objective criteria. You are doing this as a consequence of political ideology. Therefore, the welfare of your child comes after your political ideology. Why is this NOT immoral? That was the question. No more evasions. Just answer it. As regards me, I would act like any other sensible parent. I would look at the available options 1. stay where you are 2. relocate. 3. go private. If the best school (by objective criteria) in my area was a private school and I could afford it, I would send them there. If the local comp was terrible and I couldn't afford the private sector, I would relocate. If the private school in question was as you describe (and I have never, ever came across a private school like that, but I accept that the example is purely hypothetical) then I would either send them to another private school, regardless of the stipulations in the will, or relocate. Simple. What I certainly would not do, is put the welfare of my child after my political ideology.
  11. stpaul, you are right. My final sentence was indeed 'windy'; on reflection, it is also inelegantly formed (too many 'do's'), and lengthy to the point at which meaning is obscured. I apologise - it was written in rather a rush, with insufficient time allotted to editing and proofreading. However I am saddened to hear that you feel that you are under attack; this is sincerely not my intention, despite the fact that you have suggested (on the basis of what some would regard as rather scanty evidence), that I am morally reprehensible, intellectually lazy, hypocritically antagonistic towards my own kind, and a terrible, albeit imaginary, parent.
    I think there may be an issue with your concept of objectivity. After all, it's very difficult to establish a truly objective view of a school isn't it? The imaginary sink-school you conjure up may appear objectively awful to you, given that you are constrained to your own perspective, albeit one which is clearly confidently held. I might, and indeed do, see things differently, and reflect on considerations such as the fact that there will be in any school, teachers who are skilled and committed to helping young people; that there is a recognition even from this government that terrible schools are not acceptable and therefore action must be taken to improve them; that going to tough schools does not, as you rather hysterically imply, scar children irreparably, that they may actually learn and grow from the experience of being in what you would consider ghastly environments; that there is good and bad to be found in any school. Indeed, if I were to visit particular types of private school, I may even respond with horror to the dormitories full of children sent away from their parents at a young age; to the emotional scarring brought on by excessively regimented schooling and lack of contact with the opposite gender; and to the blinkered, archaic attitudes of some of the people there. Despite this, I would not lay down a claim for objective truth in these responses, as to do so would fail to take into account the existence of other perspectives, different to my own. Therefore we may have to conclude that, according to your definition of immorailty, I am immoral. To my own, I am not, and in fact (at the risk of blowing one's own trumpet), I am a reasonably decent chap with the best interests of both my family and of my community at heart.
    In essence then, my answer to your question is that I'm afraid I have to reject your notion of objective truth in condemning this awful place, and replace it with a subjective viewpoint of my own, driven by optimism, belief in the state system, and experience of working in tough schools.
    You are also, if I might say, a little 'trigger happy' with the inferences that you draw. I get the sense that you have formed a very strong picture of what I, as a 'middle-class socialist' (I'm not at all sure that I am, by the way), am like. You are therefore reading everything through this fixed attitudinal prism. For example: I don't work in a private school; however you jump to the conclusion that the imaginary school I presented you with represents my view and understanding of them. This is not the case; I know that some are pretty progressive and successful, whilst others are pretty rotten (I hope that this covers Supplementary points A and B of the above).
    You ask whether my imaginary child is happy to attend this school. Well, fortunately (and forgive the creative license here), she has an imaginary friend who lives two doors down the road, who is also going. We have had an imaginary meeting with the imaginary head of year (an imaginary PE teacher called Mr Kent, who seems very nice); she is understandably nervous, but also excited, in an imaginary sense, at the prospect of the new horizons that await her.
    Does that cover it? I have to repeat, stpaul (may I drop the saintly formalities and just go to paul? You could call me... rh?), how much I have enjoyed the cut and thrust of this discussion. You are not under attack and I have grown very fond of your responses (I particularly enjoy the enthusiasm with which you embolden text for emphasis - the emboldened capitalisations are particularly powerful; your use of the word 'Parenthetically' to open asides - I intend to use this much more often myself - and the sheer persistence and rigidity of your position). I await your response with anticipation - can you find any value in what I have said?
  12. No, I am afriad that that does not cover it and no, I can see no value at all in what you have said. Again, you have changed the terms within the example, thereby corrupting the thought-experiment and avoiding the question.
    1.More rhetoric re: the final sentence in your opening paragraph. I said, on the basis of the answers you have given/ not given (I still have not been given an answer to my question, see below) that you are a. an intellectual coward and 2. are acting immorally in regard to this specific instance. If you re-read the posts, no other conclusions can be drawn. I did not say that you were immoral per se. I said that you were immoral in regard to this specific instance. Try to think clearly and stop attacking the arguer and not the argument.
    2.It is not difficult to establish objectivity in regard to specific schools. What is an inspection for? Whay are schhols labelled 'failing' and are placed under 'special measures?' And this school is terrible, by any critera. Thus, it has nothing to do with 'my own perspective'. Would you like your child to go to a school which is staffed by short-term supply staff, has a self-evident culture of drugs, has extremely low results, has extremely high expulsion/ suspension rates, has an extremely limited extra-curricular programme. Would you like your child to attend such a school? Answer the question. Yes or no?
    3.You contradict yourself re: objectivity. You concede that there are terrible schools: 'there is a recognition even from this government that terrible schools are not acceptable'.
    4. It's not about going to a 'tough' school. STOP CHANGING THE TERMS OF THE EXAMPLE. I ANSWERED YOUR HYPOTHETICAL QUESTION HONESTLY: WHY CAN'T YOU ANSWER MINE? It's about going to a terrible one. And even if you wish to maintain (pretend, rather) that terrible schools do not exist, we can still pose the question as an hypothesis.
    5. Very, very few kids 'grow' in such places. Perhaps your child will obtain a sense of Platonic 'distance', but the overwhelming majority, alas, will not. Only the exceptional can learn anything in such places, outwith leaning how to snort cocaine and make water bombs out of condoms. Therefore, by sending your child to such a place, when you do not have to send him to such a place, you are acting immorally. There can be no other conclusion. You may not like this conclusion but it cannot be denied. It is clear, unambiguous, and irrefutable.
    6.You admit that you have no actual experience of the private sector? Therefore, why 'emotional scarring', 'regimental schooling' (a meaningless phrase anyway), 'archaic attitudes' (again, meaningless. What are these attitudes?) If you have never been to these schools, what is the justification for these comments? There is no justification, therefore, ex hypothesi, they are founded on prejudice.
    7. Once more, you have failed to answer the question. It's a thought-experiment. Do you not understand the concept of a thought-experiment? You MUST work within the parameters you are given. How is it not immoral to send your child to such a school when you could, in actual fact, send him to a better one?
    8.You contradict yourself, again, by saying that some private schools are good. This is a direct contradiction of your comments as quoted in 6. above.
    9.By adding 'imaginary friends' etc, you are again corrupting the example and therefore are answering a different question. No 'creative license' is allowed. Answer the question as posed in 7. above.
    10. 'New horizons?' In a school where the staff are short-term supply, where there is an endemic drug problem, where there are high expulsion/ suspension rates, high non-attendance figures, etc. etc. This is rubbish, and you know it.
  13. P.S. If you entertain socialist principles and you are a member of the middle-classes, then you are, by definition, a middle-class socialist.
  14. Oh dear. paul, I have to confess that I am disappointed. I have given it my best shot, and still you are not acknowledging the worth in viewpoints or perspectives other than your own. But all is not gloomy, as your comment: 'outwith learning how to snort cocaine and make water bombs out of condoms' (I have corrected the typo) made me laugh loudly, thus restoring my sunny disposition, for which I thank you. I also liked this bit: 'There can be no other conclusion. You may not like this conclusion but it cannot be denied. It is clear, unambiguous, and irrefutable.', to which my response can only be: 'No! No it isn't'.
  15. That is complete and utter rubbish. I have not acknowledged the worth of your views, because you haven't even attempted to prove them. Thus, as they stand, they are worthless. YOU STILL HAVEN'T RESPONDED TO THE POINTS I LOGICALLY AND COHERENTLY TABULATED IN THE PREVIOUS POST. ARE YOU GOING TO RESPOND? You can't just say, 'no, it isn't'. RESPOND. I withdraw the first statement you quote. However, would you like your child to attend a school such as St. Aldhelm's Academy? (google it if you haven't heard of it.) This, by all objective criteria, is a terrible school. Would you a. like your child to attend it and b.would your child like to attend it|? Answer these questions as well as the others I raised in the previous post, please.
  16. I will spell it out: please respond to these points AND the points I raised in my previous post. Also, for the sake of clarity, why don't you number them as I have done? That way, we are both discussing the SAME issue.
  17. OK paul, I'm with you! But please don't withdraw the 'cocaine/ condoms' statement - it is among you best so far, and, if I'm not mistaken, represents a moment of humorous human interaction straying out from your otherwise alarmingly furious posts. That 3 sentence volley of emboldened capitalisation has really made me think, particularly the bit where you bellowed: 'YOU STILL HAVEN'T RESPONDED TO THE POINTS I LOGICALLY AND COHERENTLY TABULATED IN THE PREVIOUS POST.'. To some extent, I suppose I feel that I have, but I will go now and have another look...
    OK, I'm back. I've had a look on their website, but unfortunately, I can't send my child to the school you mention as it is a long way from where I live (although I suppose I could send my imaginary child without too much difficulty). I'm not clear if this is a real school, or whether you have put the website together to add colour to your hypothetical scenario? Or is it a private school? paul, of course I am just joking. My apologies. In all seriousness, it looks very nice.
    I'm afraid I feel rather wearied at the prospect of going back and addressing your logically and coherently tabulated points at this point in time. Do you mind if I just pick out a couple of minor points and leave it there?
    In point 5, you mention that 'very, very few children 'grow' in such places' as the types of schools that you describe. I'm interested to know how you know? Have you worked in similar schools? What was it like if you have?
    Point 6 - thank you for adding prejudice to my list of character flaws - might I just mention that my imaginary private school is as hypothetical as your horror-school... please don't assume this is in any way a comment on private schooling in general...
    Point 9 - oh come on spoilsport! You can't set up a jolly exciting bit of role play like this and then take away the creative license! What man can control the eager eruptions of a stimulated mind? Good job Shakespeare didn't pay attention to Point 9, eh?!
    Please, paul, do not be vexed at my failure to address each point in the detail that it deserves; time is against us (I need to get to the bank). It is with some trepidation that I press Post, trepidation led by concern that you will feel let down again in the clarity of my answer. Might it help if I tried this approach: OK, so the school might not be much good now, but I would be confident that action would be taken and that it would improve whilst my imaginary child was there? Will that serve as an answer of sorts?
    Throw me a bone here, paul. You can't disagree with such vehemence with absolutely everything I've said. Could you either:
    - give me a shred of recognition that there might be some miniscule merit or value in the point of view that I hold
    - let me know a book that you've read that you have really enjoyed, thereby introducing a spark of joy into this fraternally barren thread...
  18. 1. Not what the school is now (although I doubt if it has changed much, despite the flashy-looking website) but what is was. Look at the Daily Echo (Bournemouth), 26th January 2012. So would you send your child to this school, in, for example, September 2010, when all the objective signs of failure were clearly visible? Yes or no?
    2. Oftsed, as well as simple common sense, says that very few kids 'grow' in such places. Hence their 'failing', 'under special measures' reports. It's an objective fact. And yes, in the last 30 years I have worked in such places, but that, of course, is besides the point.
    3. You are prejudiced if you have never worked in a private school but you think that there is even a possibility that there are private schools like this. Have you ever worked in the private sector? Yes or no?
    4.It's a thought-experiment. Answer the question. You still have not done so and it's weary having to repeat it. Why is it not immoral sending your child to such a school when you could send them to a better one?
    5.That will not serve as an answer, alas, for either way, you are sending your child into a rotten educational environment, even if it is only for a couple of years. But by that time, of course, the damage will have been done.
    6. Please stop all the dreadful heartiness and matiness. These are very important and serious points and deserve due intellectual respect.


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