Never mind ticks, go for quality;Letter;News and opinion

10th December 1999 at 00:00
PROFESSOR Richards points out that, to become a primary teacher in these over-regulated days, a student must show competence in around 800 separate "standards" (TES, November 26).

He concludes that for any provider of initial teacher training to place hand on institutional heart and swear each one has been accomplished by each student stretches credibility and imposes an impossible dilemma: tell the truth and risk closure, or stretch it to remain within the realms of common sense and practical possibility.

We could go some way to solving this problem if we built into our thinking the essential difference between quality and standards. The first is harder to quantify than the second, but it is the one which matters most.

It is difficult to see how many of the things which good teachers know can be calibrated against standards, and it runs counter to professional intuition and wisdom so completely to standardise their training, as has happened over recent years.

True, quality cannot be so easily measured and presented in league tables, but an expression of quality will be of far greater worth than a profile of performance showing 800 ticks per newly-qualified teacher.

Mike Newby


Universities Council for the

Education of Teachers

58 Gordon Square

London WC1H

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