Should the answer always be ‘Take a test’ Part Two

May 19, 2017

Should the answer always be ‘Take a test’? Part II

A-Level and GCSE students, Should the answer always be ‘Take a test’? Part II

It’s election-time in England as summer begins, what’s quickly becoming an annual event a la exam season, but you’re probably too bogged down by last-minute revision and exam prep, not to mention sitting the actual exams, to pay any real attention.

Yet perhaps your voice is the most important of all.

This isn’t intended as a political post. However, the Labour Party’s election manifesto does make for some interesting reading regarding education:

Quality – we will drive up standards across the board, learning from examples of best practice, such as Labour’s London Challenge, to encourage co-operation and strong leadership across schools. We and trust in teachers and support staff professionalism to refocus their workload on what happens in the classroom.

Does this mean there will be fewer inspections by OFSTED, less need for schools to inspect their own staff?

Inclusion – Every child is unique, and a Labour-led education system will enable each to find their learning path through a wide choice of courses and Qualifications. We will invest in measures to close the attainment gap between children from different backgrounds. To give all children the best start in life, we will reduce class sizes to less than 30 for all five, six, and seven year-olds, and seek to extend that as resources allow.

Will this ensure the return of the humanities subjects in all schools, some of which no longer offer them in their all-consuming drive to boost their exam results in maths and English?

To aid attainment, we will introduce free school meals for all primary school children, paid for by removing the VAT exemption on private school fees. We will abandon plans to reintroduce baseline assessments and launch a commission to look into curriculum and assessment, starting by reviewing Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs. The world’s most successful education systems use more continuous assessment, which avoids ‘teaching for the test’.

Does this mean less test-taking and exam prep for students?

Obviously, something has got to change within the current system, for both its students and its teachers. But is the above enough to get you to encourage your parents/carers and wider families to vote Labour? Do they need to offer more?

What changes would you make?

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