Saturday, April 11, 2015

He's going through the same old grooves (Robin Trower)

The eleven plus draft
A recent Times Educational Supplement opinion piece had me aghast. 

Oliver Beach is a teacher in the U.K. who has taken umbrage at the Conservative government's idea to have Year 6 students do a resit test if they fail to meet expected standards.

[Year 6 in the U.K. comprises students aged about 10 years old. In NZ it is the time students move from primary school to intermediates. In the U.K. Year 7 is the first year at a secondary school]

Oliver believes resitting the test is wrong. Instead:

Those in Year 6 who aren’t achieving what is expected of them, or what is necessary for their future options, should be kept back to repeat Year 6 until they are up to speed.

'Kept back...until they are up to speed' eh? Oliver would have some people never leaving primary school until they pass the Year 6 exam. Social promotion is a hoary old educational topic and something of a straw man argument in that it diverts attention away from some critical thinking about Year 6 tests. I suspect Oliver will get a well deserved bollocking for his suggestion and it will blur the issue.

Economics and business studies
teacher, Oliver Beach. 
My God! Is the U.K. educational system that Dickensian still? Are they ever going to consign these industrial models to history?

To me this sounds like the old Eleven Plus qualification is alive and well in 2015. That qualification, a drafting mechanism to send students to grammar schools, technical colleges or a secondary modern, was introduced in 1944 in the U.K. and largely removed in the 1970s, about 40 years ago.

Standards based assessments (NCEA in N.Z.) and modern blended learning paradigms have moved social promotion conundrums to the educational margins where they belong.

Oliver (and the Conservatives it seems) would like to drag education back to the 1940s rather than look to the future and learn from places like Finland and N.Z. where reforms conducted over the last 25 years have increasingly embraced individualism. 

The wonders of the Universal Design For Learning model? Fiddlesticks and balderdash says them!


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