Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Raising attainment with standardised assessments

According to Deputy First Minister John Swinney the government is set to work towards closing the attainment gap over the next ten years.

"So you`re working towards it over the next ten years," said the BBC presenter. "If you say this is the defining mission of Nicola Sturgeon`s government, that`s a very long time frame, isn`t it?"

In answer to this Mr Swinney said: "Well I don`t think we`ll sort these issues out overnight Garry..." Further questioning did not elicit anything more promising.

"Nicola Sturgeon talks about giving more power to schools. She`s already offering funds directly from central government. Are the days numbered for the role that local government plays in our schools?"

"No...Well what we`re intent on doing is making sure that more decisions are able to be taken in schools ..."

"So explain to us how you gauge the cash going directly to the head teachers as being well spent."

"Well there has to be accountability over all public expenditure that is undertaken. But if we have a cohort of teaching professionals who are leading education in every single classroom in our country; if we trust these teachers to undertake the education of our young people; then we must surely be able to trust them to take the right decisions about the way in which resources are used at local level to maximum effect in the classroom."

It is extraordinary that Mr Swinney did not taken on board the fact that the Named Person role has destroyed what trust there might have been. Data mining, a lack of openness about what is happening, falling standards and SHANARRI wellbeing wheels do not inspire confidence. Why give conspirators like that more power?
Explaining the need for assessments he said: "We will only be able to close the attainment gap if we have comparative information about the performance of young people and how we can intervene to address their particular needs."

There are too many wellbeing assessments and interventions already. But it is difficult to understand what additional interventions to raise attainment could possibly mean when there is already a shortage of teachers.


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