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National Testing

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by bigjimmy2, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter


    What's your opinion on national testing then?

    Mine are:

    1) More tests (nearly wrote testes so maybe an insight into how my mind really works?!).

    2) More work for teachers.

    3) More pressure on teachers.

    4) Measuring something does nothing in itself, it simply allows us to see how well a pupil is doing at a particular point in time.

    5) If we truly want pupils to do better then surely more parents need to take responsibility (not "some" or "more" responsibility, just good old "responsibility") for their offspring. I'm sorry but spending a fair amount of time (7.5 minutes average) with your children every week limits what I can do - or care to do - for my pupils. Too many parents abdicate child-rearing to teachers: sorry, it's tough enough with my own and I'll be damned if I care more about your children than you do.

    6) We need to eradicate poverty. Gordon Brown boldly stated that about 20 years ago. AN Other will boldly state that in another 20 years time. And someone else "important" will boldly state that long after we're all dead and buried. Pessimistic? Sure! Realistic? Equally sure!

    I'm off for a lie down now . . .
  2. brothermunro

    brothermunro Occasional commenter

    My wife (who works in primary) neatly summed things up:

    "Well great, now everyone will just teach to the test, because that is how we are going to be judged now." (currently they are judged on InCAS results...)

    As an idea I am actually in favour as you need some kind of fairly objective measure of pupil progress so you can data mine for trends, identify potential for improvement, measure the success/impact of new policies and ideas etc.

    However I have yet to see a single good idea in principle in Scottish education not be destroyed in the detail.
  3. misterroy

    misterroy New commenter

    Is it not pies and pims that are being replaced?

    I have sat through CAT tests before as well. I have not been impressed with any of the tests I have seen, or the use they are put to.

    I suggested to my daughters primary teacher that we teachers should be CAT tested too.

    So when a pupil with a score of 125 performs below prediction we can turn around and say "Well, I have only a CAT score of 80, so I think I did rather well getting her to pass at all."


    "Well, as I have a superior CAT score to you Mr Line Manager, I think you should give me your job"
  4. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    During the 1980s, three key words disappeared from HMI documents: age, aptitude and ability.

    No longer was it possible to suggest that a pupil was not attaining because of his/her age, aptitude or ability; if a pupil was not attaining in line with their peers, it must be because of some failure on the part of schools and teachers, or so the powers-that-be would have us believe.

    Yet what is the reality?

    Across the population as a whole, there is a very wide range of academic ability, different people have different interests and the way in which people learn, changes as they age.

    When one adds in the many other social, developmental and educational factors that can influence pupil progress, it is not difficult to see why there is likely to be an attainment gap; more testing is not going to address those underlying conditions.

    So, what's the answer given that successive governments, in different parts of the world, have failed to find a solution?

    Perhaps, we need, first of all, to stop pretending that all pupils have potentially the same level of academic ability. Even after the first few years of primary school, it is clear that there is a huge variation in the academic ability of pupils and, yet, how often do we hear politicians, and others, calling for pupils to be helped to 'catch up', or 'close the gap' on their more academically able classmates.

    Let's face it, being academically able is not the be-all-and-end-all of everything; pupils can have other abilities and there are many successful entrepreneurs, business owners and trades people who were less than successful at school.

    However, one can't get away from the importance of having basic literacy, and numeracy, skills so what can be done to improve the situation, not least in areas where there is considerable social deprivation?

    I would suggest one of the problems is that the primary curriculum has become ridiculously overloaded during the last 25 years. The introduction of 5-14 followed by an ill thought-out, and badly implemented, CfE, has created what is effectively a mini secondary curriculum within the primary sector but without all the specialists.

    What is needed, I would suggest, is a return to a time when primary teachers were allowed to focus on literacy and numeracy, with adequate Learning Support and other visiting specialists. Other curricular areas should also be taught but learning, for young children, should be fun and the remaining curriculum does not need to be rigorously structured and assessed.

    Oh yes, and can we drop the tooth-brushing, fruit-chopping, water-slurping and other politically correct agendas that could be better pursued outwith the overcrowded school curriculum.
    cochrane1964 likes this.
  5. coaltown1

    coaltown1 New commenter

    Indeed. My first time in P2 since the tooth brushing started and I find it takes an average of 15 - 20 minutes twice a day. Add this to the 10 minutes to eat the toast that the school provides, the 2 assemblies of 50 minutes each a week the children have to endure and the French and Spanish they now get, I'm lucky if I get literacy and numeracy covered!

    I actually despair of how far down the road the politicians will take us before they realise that we cannot do it all. We have no PSAs for helping in class now - they're all being used to support behaviour issues and we have a learning support teacher who never works with the children!

    I shall stop before my rant escalates but I feel more and more beaten by the system. Luckily retirement beckons in 4 years (however I shall be 64 then, older than I thought I'd be when I retire thanks to the changes, but that's another issue!)
  6. morrisseyritual

    morrisseyritual Occasional commenter

    How in the realm of Hades is testing going to "bridge attainment gap"?

    This is an admission of the unworkability - because the whole system, from soup to nuts needed changing - that the vocational "real world" aspirations of CfE have failed and died.

    Really, quite grim. Excuse the sweeping, politically-incorrect, generalisation but we're back to:

    Bearsden Primary: "Now class, if you've put away your croquet sets and butterfly nets we have a lovely test where you can show off your intellectual prowess!"

    "Whazzo, Miss!"

    "Positively spiffing, Miss!"

    Springburn Primary: "Jimmy, jimmy! Jimmy! You're doing that test! Take that chair out your mouth! Kylie, hush your baby up! C'mon test time!"

    "#%^* Off, Miss!"

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