Tired of untested initiatives

1st August 2003 at 01:00
THE Tomlinson committee report on public exams has shown little sign that any lessons have been learned from recent disasters.

In little more than six months, the committee has devised plans for scrapping the existing systems and replacing them with untried ones.

Those who can remember the Dearing Report of 1996 - which was the origin of the now discredited Curriculum 2000 reforms - will recall that it was centralised and untested innovation that was the root of the damaging ASA-level system we now have in place.

What matters about the Tomlinson report is the manner in which it has been put together. This is, again, a politically driven agenda created behind closed doors in Whitehall.

Teachers, examiners and end-users have not been centrally involved in its creation and the political desire to maintain control of testing has been paramount.

Responses to the report should now focus on an examination of the centralised exams system. This should be completely independent of the Government and should take the form of a Royal Commission.

Such an investigation would focus on the problems of testing children and allow for a moratorium on the endless round of innovation which has led to "initiative fatigue" among teachers.

Readers who would like to help campaign for such an inquiry should email me.

Trevor Fisher. 49 Lovatt Street. Stafford. trevor@lanefisher.fsnet.co.uk

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