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What teacher shortage? The numeracy test stops trainees in their tracks

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Vince_Ulam, Nov 23, 2015.


Are teaching candidates getting more stupid?

  1. Yes, and I have no idea why.

  2. Yes, and I blame the national curriculum.

  3. Yes and I blame bad teaching.

  4. No. Just no.

  5. No, 21st Century teachers don't need to know that much.

  1. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  2. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    I agree 100% regarding grammatical howlers etc. - but is there any evidence that the Skills Tests have actually improved the standard of potential teachers?

    Here's a revolutionary thought -

    • All potential teachers to have a 1st or 2:1
    • Russell Group graduates start at a higher point on the pay scale
    • You pay all potential teachers more to attract the best candidates
  3. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    I think that's what Gove intended when he blabbed on about recruiting the 'brightest and the best' to teaching via Teach First and Schools Direct. Schools are already at liberty to pay high achieving graduates whatever they like as a golden handshake. It's keeping them there that's the problem - once the reality of teaching kicks in they're off.
    kent1 likes this.
  4. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    If it was, Gove messed it up pretty effectively (like most things he did) - I remember him wittering on about how you didn't need qualified teachers because independent schools could appoint anyone and so that must be the same for all schools - without understanding the rather big difference between teaching classes of under 20 with all the resources you could want, and pupils selected by their parents wealth and often by exam, as compared to the average secondary school. Oh, and usually paying more for shorter terms.

    Gove = muppet. Just not a funny one.
  5. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

  6. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    The objective of the Skills Tests is not to improve the standard of potential teachers. It's to select for training only those who already meet the required basic literacy and numeracy standards, weeding out those who cannot meet the standard even after apparently spending a lot of time preparing for them.
    jamiedoorknob and wanet like this.
  7. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Why don't we just let anyone who thinks that they want to teach do it? Forget any qualifications or standards - just accept anyone. I think this will be the ultimate outcome.
  8. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    In that case it is worthless.
  9. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Are teaching candidates getting more stupid? Poll results to 28th November 2015:


    Yes: 22 votes.

    No: 20 votes (adjusted for sock puppets).
  10. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    No, it's not worthless. The objective of the Skills Tests is to select candidates who already have the requisite basic standards. Previously people without those capabilities were getting through.

    Individuals are not having their standards improved but only those with a base standard (and above) are being trained as teachers so the standard of numerate and literate teachers will be better as time goes on.
    jamiedoorknob and Vince_Ulam like this.
  11. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    It's worthless because it bears no relationship to the mathematical demands on secondary teachers of most subjects.
  12. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    So @kent1, what is the difference between this and your suggestion of improving candidate quality by raising the bar to a 2:1 or 1st? Exactly the same idea.
  13. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    An MFL (say) teacher intending to teach Spanish & French to A level should be judged on their ability to teach MFL, their fluency in speaking and knowledge of these languages, not on whether they can pass a ridiculous 'numeracy' Test.

    My suggestion related precisely tio their abilities as an MFL (in this case) teacher. The so-called 'skills' tests don't.

    So you are 100% wrong.
  14. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    They should be judged on their overall teaching ability which also includes things like behaviour management and all round education including numeracy and literacy which are vital to them being able to discharge all of their duties.

    Lol - you're not big on other people having other viewpoints are you? SMT you say?
  15. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    All teachers need numeracy competence.
    I taught MFL, French and Spanish and we had to include numeracy. That was not just teaching numbers. We'd do mental maths by asking the pupils to in the MFL to add, subtract, divide and multiply ... or to work out a percentage of fraction. Pupils had to do calculations with numbers written as words too. Pupils also made up Maths problems in MFL and might ask a fellow pupil or the teacher. The teacher had to be able to do that 'off the cuff' and be able to get the right answer.
    You need numeracy to be able to tell the time in various ways in English and MFL(2.45 = a quarter to three, for example or 17.25 is twenty five past five pm). Don't get me started on so many young people (including those aspiring to teach) being unable to tell the time!
    MFL Schemes of Work had to show how numeracy was included.
  16. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    And why - if you have a brilliant young MFL teacher (say) - fantastic in the classroom, top degree from a Russell Group university, fluent in their foreign languages - would you say: 'you've failed the numeracy skills test so you can't be a teacher in a state maintained school'? The same would apply, of course, for many other subjects - art, music, drama, history, english, RS etc.etc.

    Either they'll go off & do something else, so schools lose out, or they'll go off and get a job in an independent school.
  17. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    Sorry, but you are being silly now*.

    Do you really think things like this are tested in the numeracy skills test?

    *Actually - having looked at your other posts - 'even sillier'.
  18. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    How did you calculate this %?
  19. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    It's always amusing to meet people who worship at the feet of the Russell Group given what we know about it:

    Now that most UK universities have increased their tuition fees to £9,000 a year and are implementing new Access Agreements as required by the Office for Fair Access, it has never been more important to examine the extent of fair access to UK higher education and to more prestigious UK universities in particular. This paper uses Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) data for the period 1996 to 2006 to explore the extent of fair access to prestigious Russell Group universities, where ‘fair’ is taken to mean equal rates of making applications to and receiving offers of admission from these universities on the part of those who are equally qualified to enter them. The empirical findings show that access to Russell Group universities is far from fair in this sense and that little changed following the introduction of tuition fees in 1998 and their initial increase to £3,000 a year in 2006. Throughout this period, UCAS applicants from lower class backgrounds and from state schools remained much less likely to apply to Russell Group universities than their comparably qualified counterparts from higher class backgrounds and private schools, while Russell Group applicants from state schools and from Black and Asian ethnic backgrounds remained much less likely to receive offers of admission from Russell Group universities in comparison with their equivalently qualified peers from private schools and the White ethnic group.'

    (How fair is access to more prestigious UK Universities? British Journal of Sociology, volume 64, issue 2, 2013, Dr. V. Boliver.)

    In 1992 the binary divide between universities and polytechnics was dismantled to create a
    nominally unitary system of higher education for the UK. Just a year later, the first UK university
    league table was published, and the year after that saw the formation of the Russell Group of
    self-proclaimed ‘leading’ universities. This paper asks whether there are distinctive clusters of
    higher and lower status universities in the UK, and, in particular, whether the Russell Group
    institutions can be said to constitute a distinctive elite tier. Cluster analysis of publicly available
    data on the research activity, teaching quality, economic resources, academic selectivity, and
    socioeconomic student mix of UK universities demonstrates that the former binary divide persists
    with Old (pre-1992) universities characterised by higher levels of research activity, greater wealth,
    more academically successful and socioeconomically advantaged student intakes, but similar
    levels of teaching quality, compared to New (post-1992) institutions. Among the Old universities,
    Oxford and Cambridge emerge as an elite tier, whereas the remaining 22 Russell Group
    universities appear to be undifferentiated from the majority of other Old universities. A division
    among the New universities is also evident, with around a quarter of New universities forming a
    distinctive lower tier.'

    (Are there distinctive clusters of higher and lower status universities in the UK? Oxford Review of Education, volume 41, issue 5, 2015, Dr. V. Boliver.)
  20. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter


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