Literacy and numeracy fears

13th January 2012 at 00:00

As a maths teacher, I am a supporter of many aspects of Curriculum for Excellence, but I worry about our future generation when it comes to basic literacy and numeracy (TESS, 16 December).

I accept that assessment needs to change to meet the principles of CfE; however, the basic skills for life have not changed (literacy and numeracy) and these remain the foundation for all other areas of the curriculum. The baby has been thrown out with the bath water where assessment of literacy and numeracy is concerned.

If the assessments are focused on these basics, then "teaching to the test" will be a positive result. It will ensure every primary, English and maths teacher in Scotland is providing a sound launch pad for their pupils to embark on their cross-curricular, interdisciplinary experiences.

From the earliest days at school a parent wants to see some kind of progression for their child from one level to another. The levels are now so broad and open to interpretation that a child could be experiencing Level 2 outcomes for three years or more with seemingly little progress.

The only way to give parents and pupils detailed meaningful information is to have standardised stage tests within the levels (just the like national assessments, only sticking to the fundamentals).

If we don't do something now, I anticipate our political masters will have a "back to basics" campaign around 2020, but by then we will have a generation of people who cannot count up to 20 without "confidently" taking off their shoes.

Andy Tomison, PT mathematics, The Community School of Auchterarder.

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