It’s exciting to hear that New Zealand are to stop standardised testing in schools from an early age.
Paul Goulter, the general secretary for primary heads and staff in New Zealand, explains in this short video.
He says how they now feel that there is no merit in testing children in a linear way throughout their education because children, as many parents and teachers know, do not learn in a linear fashion. And he says that there is no evidence to suggest that it is of benefit to the learners.
He is here in England to promote talks about how schools can evolve in the future without testing as part of their practice.
It is the continual testing of children in schools that many parents and teachers feel is unnecessary. More than that, it is disruptive and time wasting and inhibits time spent on more valuable educational activities. Further to that its value in producing worthwhile results to help take the learner forward are questionable.
Even Ofsted boss Amanda Spielman has admitted that there’s too much pressure involved in continual testing which disrupts other aspects of the education process.
Results are never an accurate assessment of the learner, are in danger of damaging the learners’ natural desire to learn, and can never truly predict the learners’ progress as children change as they grow all the time. Their growth pattern is unpredictable and a test score can create a label that can stick and be damaging for a pupil’s whole school life.
See this earlier article here for a fuller discussion.
The practice of continual testing in mainstream education is often cited as a reason families turn to home education instead. Many feel that the practice places unnecessary stress and tension on both pupils and staff and are a complete waste of time.
Few home educating families use testing as part of their learning approach, yet the learners still go on to successfully accomplish the same outcome as school learners, taking exams, achieving good grades and entrance to universities. In fact some claim that a higher percentage of home school learners not only achieve good grades but excel in overall intelligence and other more personable and employable skills – social skills being a good example. This is because of their more rounded educational experience, rather than learning for the test which can happen in mainstream classrooms more than many would admit.
Relaxing the school curriculum from the constraints of teaching to the test would allow time for a similar, more experiential and broader education for those children in school.
I’m sure there would be many who would be excited to see testing abandoned here too.