Professor Richard Kimbell, head of the technology education research unit at London University's Goldsmiths' College, discussed the thorny subject of assessing standards at this year's Design and Technology Show at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre when he gave last night's Maurice Brown Memorial Lecture.
Professor Kimbell, who has been researching international trends in assessment in the US, Australia, Germany and Taiwan, said: "The Government cannot define national standards, only teachers can." He explained that teachers translate the assessment criteria in different ways, thereby creating an unreliable assessment procedure.
He said: "The linking between schools which would have been done by the local education authorities has been seriously damaged by the destruction of the LEA network. The system we have now developed, with schools competing against each other in league tables, is working against schools sharing knowledge and standards.
"To rectify this, we need to encourage teachers to share their personal standards and make them school standards, then local standards and finally national standards."
Some 200 exhibitors are taking part in the show, which is free and open only to teachers. Among the glimpses into the future is a demonstration of virtual reality which is set to add a new dimension to teaching. For the first time, a food and technology village is on display.
The DT show is open today from 9.30am to 5.30pm, and tomorrow, 9.30am to 5pm. For details, ring 01425 272711