Teachers are still the best judge

2nd April 2004 at 01:00
If you stand long enough at the education bus stop, you see the same arguments chugging round and round. The research review (page six) which found that the abilities of misbehaving pupils in general and unruly boys in particular can be underestimated by teachers is one such. That is a bus which has been picking up passengers since the early 1990s and is invariably part of a larger thesis that sees primary school as a matriarchy which suppresses boys.

Researchers have also claimed that teachers underestimate the intelligence of fat girls and short boys. So should we do away with teacher assessment and base all pupil judgments on external tests? That would hardly be wise given that many tests have also been accused of gender, cultural and social bias.

The sensible approach is to continue to have a judicious mix of external tests and teacher assessment. Teachers may not be models of impartiality (who is?), but many are better judges of their pupils than any test.

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