Friday, June 29, 2007

This is a pretty pathetic version of education

For anyone who has education and/or cares about it, this just goes to highlight the problems with standardized testing.
As disclosure I'll say that I've taught people how to take tests and maximize their scores using what they now. But I wasn't also responsible for their subject matter education.
The problem is when you have a national curriculum and national standardized testing you get a degrading in skills. Teachers teach the test. The exams test test-taking. The taught material never varies from the highest frequency subjects on the test. Details disappear. Standards raise, paradoxically, as education falls.
So how's it working out in the UK?

Physics GCSE: 'insultingly easy, non scientific, and vague' | The Register
Physics GCSE papers are full of questions that are vague, stupid, insultingly easy, political, and non-scientific.
Ta-daa! Just as the model predicts.
[Wellington] Grey writes: "I am a physics teacher. Or, at least I used to be. My subject is still called physics. My pupils will sit an exam and earn a GCSE in physics, but that exam doesn't cover anything I recognise as physics."
All well and good, but what about Hooke's law? Grey argues that questions so far removed from the traditional subject of physics amount to an ambush on the students sitting the paper.
End of cautionary tale.

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