The government needs the courage to do a U-turn
This week, the recently formed political party RISE: Scotland’s Left Alliance has released a report which adds significant weight to the opposition growing against the Scottish government’s plans for a system of national standardised testing. It finds that such testing is not supported by international evidence, is incompatible with Curriculum for Excellence and will almost certainly result in a range of damaging unintended consequences such as school league tables and the further entrenchment of educational inequality in Scotland.
With both the EIS teaching union and the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association publicly opposed to the implementation of national standardised testing, and concerns having been raised by teachers, school leaders, parents groups and academics, it is clear that, far from reducing the “attainment gap”, the current plans risk making things much worse for our nation’s poorest children.
Despite the progressive language and good intentions, these proposals are in reality a throwback to the rejected Thatcherite education policies of the 1990s – policies which failed then and will fail now. The generation of standardised data for the purpose of national comparisons may well suit politicians and their advisers but it will not improve the educational experiences of Scotland’s children.
Fortunately, there is still time to think again. The government has already set a precedent by abandoning flawed plans for a women’s super-prison to replace Cornton Vale; it should follow its own example now by having the courage to change course.
The Scottish government should place its trust in the teaching profession and abandon plans for the implementation of a regressive and deeply damaging initiative.
Author of the report on national standardised testing by RISE: Scotland’s Left Alliance
Short and tweet
So computing in Scotland may just be more important than Scottish oil. Who knew? #casscot2015. Can’t wait.
With all these horrendous cuts – not savings, cuts – is it not time to review the council tax freeze?
Congrats to former pupil [at Firrhill High, Edinburgh] Sam Yawayawa on making his @LeicesterTigers first-team debut. He even scored a try with his first touch! #proud
Leadership tip: if you try to control everything, you could well end up controlling none of it.
Fact: 4 per cent of young people under 16 in Scotland are a carer for an adult. Total respect to all young carers in our community. #GHSpride
“Leaves on the path” doesn’t have the same ring as “Leaves on the line” and I’ve been told it’s not an excuse for missing work. #autumn
A famous education academic has just asked for a £10K fee to give a lecture at the RSA [Royal Society of Arts]...by Skype. Can’t decide whether to name and shame.
People can say what they like on Twitter. That’s its brilliance – no gatekeepers. It’s grass roots. Don’t like it, don’t follow.
Letters for publication in TESS should arrive by 10am Monday. Send your letters, ideally of no more than 250 words in length, including contact address and phone number, by email to email@example.com. Letters may be edited