League tables, report cards, scrap the lot

February 19, 2010 at 4:13 pm Leave a comment

So, according to a survey of nearly 1,400 teachers for the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) more than a third of all teachers have serious doubts about the introduction of report cards to replace league tables and I’m with them.

The most controversial aspect of this seems to be the proposal to take a variety of criteria about a school as a basis for awarding a single grade.  Presumably some sort of magic formula would be applied, and hey presto, out pops the grade.

In New York they already operate such a system, but are in the process of adjusting things to deal with the ‘problem’ that 97% of New York schools are getting an A or B grade. Presumably this means that 97% of schools in New York are very good (according to the criteria) so what is the ‘problem’.

The problem is that this does not allow them to identify better and worse schools (the A&B’s and the C&D’s) on which the whole warped notion of apparent choice based on suspect criteria depends. This is, of course, is how our league table system also currently works based upon a set of criteria (established by governments by the way, and not by teachers, parents and pupils) to place schools higher or lower in the table.

Essential to its success is the creation, or maintenance, of an underclass, the C’s and D’s purely for the purpose of having some measurement on which to judge, the better and the worse. And how far does this extend – better and worse, winners and losers, good schools and bad schools, good pupils and bad pupils, clever kids and stupid kids, kids with a future and kids with no hope.

This is simply divisive and leads the worse performing schools working very hard to lift the morale of their pupils who know that they are regarded as failures, as the dregs, by the broader society around them.

Come on. Time to recognise that a 21st century education system is about fulfilment and that the ability of a school to deliver an environment where each child can fulfil their individual potential cannot possibly be expressed in a single grade, or indeed on the number of A-C’s achieved.

Personally, I would not change the way report cards may be used, I would scrap the whole bloody nonsense of such measurement altogether.

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Entry filed under: 21st century learning, Kids, League tables, Measurement, Report cards.

i-pad, u-pad, we-pad….or do Wii? They’re not all on ASBO’s are they!

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Mick Landmann on education, digital technology, and the 21st century

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