Seeing red over 'good marks'

26th July 2013 at 01:00

A punitive ranking system of future primary students is to be introduced based on the recently published government finding that half the children who achieve a "good mark" in the English and mathematics tests at the age of 11 do not "gain decent GCSE grades".

Would it not have been more sensible for those advising the UK government on these matters to suggest an investigation into the means and practices by which those 11-year-olds gained the "good mark"? Data collected by my research team at the University of Manchester from the mid 1990s until 2008 showed that test preparation was excessive and teaching in tested subjects concentrated solely on tested items, to the detriment of the depth of teaching and consequently learning.

In short, a misrepresentative picture of primary "success" was being painted, with the inevitable "falling away" during secondary education. If the government, in response to the messages from the 10-year data survey, had introduced either light-touch sampling or, even better, a rigorous continuing assessment programme across the majority (rather than a core minority) of subjects, this debate would be in more positive mode by now.

Professor Bill Boyle, Chair of educational assessment, University of Manchester.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now