I am, and so I must assess

13th July 2001 at 01:00
DUE to our ever-increasing need in this country to improve and evaluate the service that is being offered to you, I have decided that this particular column will follow current education policy and make regular assessments of how much is being taken in and learned.

Can I just check, for instance, that you understood I am doing this to improve and evaluate the service that we offer you? And that in doing so I am following national policy?

Good. Such tests, to ensure that you have absorbed and retained all relevant information, will be conducted at various key stages throughout this article and they'll be supplemented by a series of public examinations which will stretch across the next three years of your life, ruining every summer with mind-numbing revision.

Soon you may start wishing that you'd never begun this column at all. But the important thing is not the benefit you derive from reading these 400 words, but the fact that we are able to evaluate and improve the service offered to you. This we must do so that we can draw up league tables that will prove beyond doubt that we are actually achieving something.

Now, it may seem to you that with all this assessment you don't get time to actually understand or enjoy what has been written here, but that is not so important. The absolutely crucial thing is that we assess your performance at the end of every paragraph to make ourselves look good.

As the leader of our heroic movement once said, the three priorities of this Government are evaluation, evaluation, evaluation.

There used to be a time when schooling was actually about education, a process that in the long term made us wiser and happier people. Nowadays schools assess first and teach only if there's any time left over.

Usually, in 400 words, it is possible to make three main points. Today I've only managed one. However, at each stage of that point I have been able to evaluate the service provided to you. With more evaluation I'm sure I'll be able to make it even better next time.

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