Letters Extra: It's that time again

20th December 2002 at 00:00

So, it is league table time again and the statistical game of charades to judge progress or failure continues.

Amidst the increasing evidence that raw data is not the scientific statistical base on which to base league tables comes the acknowledgement by the Government that 'value added' results might be fairer.

An astounding discovery by the DfES, but one which has been postulated by schools since SATs began.

In another five years' time the DfES may come across expert commentators like Peter Tymms and tell us thatnbsp;league tables and dodgy data is not the way to encourage schools and their pupils.

In the same issue of your paper is the article by one of the 'Test Generation' which makes surprising but no less sad reading. We now have a generation coming through who are being tested 'to destruction', which may well work for cars and safety seats but is doing nothing fornbsp;the citizens of tomorrow.

Accurate and relevant testing is crucial for judging performance, thereby allowing teachers to improve coursework or their own delivery.

That process is now being seen as having been prostituted by successive governments to give credence to a target-driven system of education whose overall aim is for the government of the day to be seen to be 'doing something.'

As we progress along this sterile road it becomes increasingly obvious to those who work with these children that politicians across the spectrum know the test score of everything, but the value of nothing.

Tony Roberts
Retired Headteacher (just)
Cop Lane

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