So it is all over the news that standardised testing is going to be the saviour of education and every poor child ( and their granny of course)
Nearly choked on my cornflakes when I read it in the papers. The cage was indeed rattled. Nothing to get knickers knotted more than a headline claiming league tables will help poor pupils. They must be those new fangled league tables that provide, financial aid, confidence, a quiet place to work, an environment free from ridicule and the patience of a saint.
I’ll take a bucketload of them.
It’s all about the data. It’ll get turned into a pie, line, bar and something else and there will be wailing, tears, snotters and general stress levels high enough that there won’t be a scale in the land that can measure them.
Aye, batter in.
In a previous life I remember sitting in a meeting with my fellow PTs with the SMT talking about 3rd year exams. When I said I wasn’t doing them there was an awkward silence, phones were checked and papers will rattled.
Cue a DHT who was about to explode “would you mind telling me WHY you think it’s not a good idea”
It wasn’t that I thought it was not a good idea, I thought what they wanted in terms of data, was not going to advance the experience or attainment of my pupils.
For me, a test out of 30 wasn’t going to give any kind of picture about my learners. Senior management by this point we’re getting a bit red and asking me how they were supposed to put the learners into a spread sheet and accurately predict how the students were going to perform.
“If you want to know how the weans are doing, why don’t you ask me?” The stunned silence suggested that I might as well have done the can can on the table.
I sat for the rest of meeting feeling like a naughty school girl. A few members of staff spoke to me after it asking why I was so sure I didn’t need to do testing. Simple reason, I knew my weans,my staff knew the weans and we were confident in our ability as professionals to articulate how our weans were coping and progressing.
Yes, we had summative data for particular skills that involved extracting information but we needed to use professional judgement. We did. Why? Because we are professionals and we knew our stuff. We still do.
( and if we didn’t, we would make sure we did)
Standardised testing suggests standardised learners. Never met a class of them yet.