Demos wants the 'toxic' testing system abolished

Roger Titcombe's picture
A new report by think-tank Demos proposes a fundamental shake-up of how schools and pupils are assessed in order to rescue an education system obsessed with targets and league tables.

You can read and download it here.

The report criticises the current ‘toxic’ culture that forces school leaders and teachers to place results, targets and impressing inspectors ahead of their students’ education.

According to the report, pupils are put off learning by concentrating on the three Rs ahead of testing and schools are focussed on results so that they avoid the head being sacked and the schools being forced to become academies, rather than developing each child's interests.

This report is from what is usually regarded as a right wing think tank. That it is so hard hitting in its criticism of the current market driven education system is making the very important point that there is considerable agreement across the political spectrum about the damage being done by our high stakes, league table driven system. It adds to powerful criticism of academies and the misrepresentation of performance data by Civitas, another right wing think tank.

De Waal A (2009), The Secrets of Academy’s Success, Civitas Report

Although I don't agree with all of the Demos report's recommendations, it is right on the button in identifying the high stakes testing regime as damaging learning in our schools. As this has been going on for decades the cumulative damage must be considerable.

I take this one logical step further by making the link between the 'toxic' testing regime and the degradation of teaching methods in favour of behaviourism, that I maintain has stunted the cognitive development of English pupils and which accounts for the declining performance in international tests detected by PISA.

Despite the protestations of the minority of LSN posters that support Gove's reforms, it is highly significant that libertarian Demos takes a dramatically conflicting view much closer to that of the LSN 'guardianistas' they malign so vociferously.
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