Exam Driven Evaluation Questioned
The Gordon Brown government has been pushing for establishing testing procedures and evaluating school performance on the basis of how well schools reach standards as determined by test scores. The National Audit Office (NAO) is raising questions concerning the validity of evaluating school performance on the basis of such scores and reports there is “no quantified evidence” that league tables or similar schemes help to improve performance. This conclusion contradicts the British Government’s National Challenge which evaluates performance of secondary schools on certain benchmarks.
The report of the Audit Office was based on research, interviews with officials involved in public sector programs and a review of measures designed to raise results, including league tables and placing schools in “special measures.” The NAO suggests contextual value added results are a better measure because they take into account of factors beyond the control of teachers. They raise a basic question concerning the initial place of the student and how far she/he has progressed as being an important factor to consider in measuring success and failure on the part of schools.
This week the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued a report on English schools which closely resembles the conclusion of the NAO. The OCED focused on social inequality in the UK and concluded there should be less focus “on testing and targets and put more focus on supporting weak students and schools.” The Department for Children, Schools and Families welcomed the NAO report which closely resembles their own emphasis on school reform.
Tags: United Kingdom
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