"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, June 11, 2007

GTC of Britain Says Dump Abusive Testing

Will England join Wales in saying no to child abuse in schools? The influential General Teaching Council has urged just that, concluding in a new study that the testing mania has brought demotivation, stress, boredom, and dropping out in unprecedented proportions. Perhaps the Brits should consider the most recent Bloomberg/Klein brain flatulence to end poverty and motivate children in NYC--pay children for test scores!

The British story from the the Guardian:
All national exams should be abolished for children under 16 because the stress caused by over-testing is poisoning attitudes towards education, according to an influential teaching body.

In a remarkable attack on the government's policy of rolling national testing of children from the age of seven, the General Teaching Council is calling for a 'fundamental and urgent review of the testing regime'. In a report it says exams are failing to improve standards, leaving pupils demotivated and stressed and encouraging bored teenagers to drop out of school.

The attack comes in a study submitted to the House of Commons education select committee and passed to The Observer. The council says that schoolchildren in England and Wales are now the most tested in the world, facing an average of 70 tests and exams before the age of 16. Standard Assessment Tests, or Sats, currently taken by children at the ages of seven, 11 and 14, should be abolished, it concludes.

It says: 'The GTC continues to be convinced that the existing assessment regime needs to be changed.'

The submission, which has emerged as more than a million teenagers sit their GCSEs and A-levels, says teachers are being forced to 'drill' pupils to pass tests instead of giving a broad education.

Some are under such pressure from trying to keep schools at the top of league tables that they have gone further and fiddled results or helped children to cheat, according to Keith Bartley, chief executive of the council, the independent regulatory body set up by the government in 2000.

Yesterday, it emerged that Vanessa Rann, a 26-year-old teacher found hanged in her home, was being investigated for allegedly helping students to cheat in a GCSE exam.

'The pressure is on and it is growing,' Bartley, whose role includes advising ministers on education policy, said in an interview with The Observer. 'What we are saying to the government is that we do not think their policies are best serving the young people in this country or their achievement.

'The range of knowledge and skills that tests assess is very narrow and to prepare young people for the world they need a set of skills that are far broader.' Exams as they stood, he said, were 'missing the point'. . . .

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