04 May 2007

More Education Controversy

Hot on the back of yesterday's report about rushed changes to the science curriculum comes this today:

Tests 'reduce pupils to widgets'

Pupils have been reduced to widgets on a production line by the high number of tests in England's schools, head teachers have warned.

The National Association of Head Teachers said tests contributed to poor attendance and led to an exodus of young people from school.

The NAHT said, while it believed in testing, the current regime was rigid and in need of an overhaul.

The government said tests were part of its drive to raise standards.

It said the way results were published in annual league tables resulted in the "ritual humiliation" of children, their teachers and communities.
Reassuringly, a spokeswoman for the Department for Education and Skills commented, "They are not designed to be 'pass or fail' examinations and we have stressed that preparation time should be kept to an absolute minimum." The intentions may have been good – indeed, I have little doubt that they were – but they were still misguided and the government clearly still does not understand the concept of "backwash" ("teaching for the test") and the way that its national tests dictate what happens in the classroom throughout each year group's schooling.