Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Closing Gaps...

Interesting policy initiative coming out of England (whose edu policies, along with the USA's, we tend to mimic... ): Schools told to narrow pupil gap 

My first reaction was that it was good to see equity of outcomes being valued and prioritised... However, the devil is probably in the detail - how will "attainment" be measured..? Will a broad range of assessments be taken into account, or will a single test that only focuses upon a narrow range of knowledge and skills be the tool of choice..?

How will this affect schools and teachers..?

If the former method is used (multiple and varied sources of data to inform judgements about attainment), schools and teachers would be more likely to focus their energies on teaching and learning that addresses the full range of curriculum areas, as well as see less benefit in 'training' students in the formats and conventions of one particular assessment type....

If the latter method is used (single, large-scale test that excludes many areas of the curriculum), it would seem more likely that schools and teachers would narrow their own focus towards that which is tested, that which they are going to be measured upon... 
i.e. Poorer, less-privileged students get a narrower education, with far less opportunity for experiencing concepts, discussing with peers, making stuff and learning in modern ways... 


Maybe I'm being cynical, but this approach seems a tad short sighted to me, when longer-term, more strategic initiatives are required to fully address the inequities in educational attainment in our schools.
Is this an example of Government policy 'washing its hands' of responsibility for inequitable outcomes and passing the onus wholly onto teachers and schools..?

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