29/8/2008

How Disappointing

Filed under: — Bravus @ 9:51 am

I’d hoped we’d see a significant change in policy with the new government, away from the emphasis on poor measures of quality and a punitive approach to education policy. But the headlines in the past couple of days haven’t been reassuring:

PM outlines system to compare school performance

PM ties school funds to results

Prime Minister to take on unions over education reforms

Reading the detail of the articles, the proposal is a little less offensive than it sounds from reading the headlines: schools will be grouped and compared within socio-economic status ‘baskets’, which helps to avoid the one concern that this is simply another stealth method of giving more money to those who are already privileged.

But these kinds of measures don’t really help under-performing schools, mostly because the measures used are so unsophisticated. There are more sophisticated ‘value added’ measures – I even invented one in 2000 – that can do a better job, but straight performance of students tells you almost nothing about school and teacher effectiveness.

One of our roles as ‘public intellectuals’ is to challenge these kinds of short-sighted proposals, even when (or perhaps especially when) they are made by our preferred side of politics.

One response to “How Disappointing”

  1. Bravus » Recruiting, Training, Retaining and Rewarding the Best and Brightest says:

    […] be used as a way of measuring teacher performance, then get sophisticated about it, not simplistic. I’ve talked briefly here before about ‘value-added’ measures of school performance, which measure the change in student […]

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