Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Raising standards?

Everyone except possibly the teaching unions knows that education today is nowhere near as rigorous as education 50 or so years ago, constant meddling with the system by governments over the years have brought a respected establishment low in discipline and teaching methods. That coupled with unnecessary subjects being added to the curriculum has left the state of education in the public sector of the UK in a woeful condition.
Still, it looks as if standards are to be raised, at least in maths and English...
Trainee teachers are facing tough new tests in literacy and numeracy before being allowed to enter the classroom amid fears over poor standards in the three-Rs, it emerged today.
Students will be required to pass rigorous exams to qualify for training places as part of sweeping Government reforms designed to attract the brightest graduates into the profession.
An expert panel – led by top head teachers – will be tasked with drawing up new-style assessments of basic skills in a move designed to root out poorly-qualified candidates.
Ministers are also proposing to raise the pass mark for existing tests and clamp down on the number of times students can re-sit exams.
Currently, one-in-five trainees fail to pass both tests first time round and one-in-10 take the numeracy exam three times or more.
It comes despite the fact that the tests – containing large numbers of multiple choice questions – are often seen as “too easy”.
Any test in which the answers are already written down or can even be luckily guessed strikes me as being a little too easy, particularly in the case of those who are going to teach themselves. When you look at a couple of questions themselves, you can see that there's still a little bit to worry about...
For a practical task a primary teacher needs 25 millilitres of liquid for each pupil. There are 28 pupils in the class. How many millilitres of liquid are needed?
Teachers organised activities for three classes of 24 pupils and four classes of 28 pupils. What was the total number of pupils involved?
Nadine was _________ that she had passed her Geography examination. Is the correct word: releived, relieved, releaved or realived? 

:: Apart from the _________ details, the art lesson was truly inspired. Is the correct word: administrative, adminstrative, administretive or adminstretive?
Not exactly rocket science, particularly for one of my generation, though I suspect the textspeak generation might struggle with the English test. Yet it would appear that people who struggled with this sort of simple education test were allowed loose at our kids.
If we are allowing people who have problems with this test then it's small wonder that the way teachers are regarded has nosedived, the fact that the teaching unions also have far too much influence in keeping those who are incompetent or at least not suited to teaching in their jobs, often for life.
Whilst this is a start, it strikes me as being nowhere near enough, though sadly the generations of kids that are coming through have already been badly let down by the system.

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