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"Standardised" testing

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by chipsnegg, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. chipsnegg

    chipsnegg New commenter

    I work in a school in foreign parts. We give Cambridge language tests to our students every year as summative assessment. Here is my problem. We give the end of course test to the children irrespective of their position in that course. For instance, we give CAE tests to children who have just started the course - and they get between 30 and 40 percent.

    My argument -that giving children a test that they are designed to fail, that the stress of sitting a test which is too hard for you is counterproductive, that we as educators should never put our students in a place that they are destined to fail, is ignored as "they are standardized tests and we can see how they improve year to year"

    Other than a brick about the face, what can I do to convince them their approach is wrong?
  2. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Giving a different test to the children who have only just arrived will produce a greater spread of marks and will give you a better idea of the abilities and skills of the individual learners.

    Try that.
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    On the other hand . . .

    From the school's point of view, (i.e. a financial point of view) it could be helpful to show how very much the students need the support of the school, including possibly extra paid tutoring, and won't it look good when they get a better result next year?

    Just saying . . .

    You don't think that all international schools are run for the benefit of the pupils, do you @chipsnegg ?


    Best wishes

  4. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Must all children sit the test from mere administrative convenience or does the school have a history of making good use of the resultant data? I can see how it could be useful.

    While I'm with you that children should not be set up to fail - contra Dweckian zombies - it's not clear that this extreme caricature is either the intention or the outcome. If your students are adequately prepared for this 'stress' then it can be anticipated and prove a valuable experience. The UK education system has unfortunately become one long crèche from beginning to end and many of its staff have bought into this, seeing their role as cosy facilitation rather than teaching. While the idiots with influence here innovated for the sake of profit and their own comfort, other nations newly arrived at modernity and free of Anglo-Saxon motives have been free to pick what works, and jolly good luck to them. Relax and do things their way. You can always move on to another school if you don't like what you see.
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    My daughter's school have begun a system for English where they attempt the same task at the beginning and end of a unit of work, so that progress can be demonstrated. Whilst I can see that this may work well for some genres, I was completely unconvinced of the value of asking 9 year olds to write a piece of science fiction before discussing what science fiction is.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.

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