We need to know how well pupils are progressing in their education, we also need to know (from time to time) what point they have reached, so some form of assessment is important but it’s also right to remember that assessment IS NOT the goal.
If education is a journey without an end then assessment is just trying to say ”where have you got to”. Surely a key part of the journey is also the awareness that you don’t have to follow somebody else’s route and walk in the same way they did?
The new GCSE reforms based on a single test, taking no account of any other evidence is not just flawed it is simply wrong.
Manchester United lost to Norwich last season, nobody is suggesting that this result is particularly significant I think. Michael Gove got his exam reforms wrong first time (with the eBac) and he gets a second go.
Of course the ‘test’ could be a flexible and adaptable system built on the very latest research and requiring extremely sophisticated reviewing and marking …. but we know that it’s more likely to be a series of questions with single answers that can be easily marked and standardised.
Remember Watson? The IBM machine that does this on a world beating scale, that IBM believe will be available in a hand size machine within 20 years?
If you are interested in developing your thinking about this then have a quick read of this short article from Professor Mick Walters (ex Director of QCA).