Most people are probably aware of the debate amongst educators over the governments push for national standards in schools, with a strong focus on assessing literacy and numeracy.
What less people are probably aware of is that, as of next year, polytechnics and other tertiary providers are required to assess the numeracy and literacy skills of all new students entering courses at level 3 or below. (First year university papers are the equivalent of level 5 so this is probably less of a concern for them).
So what we are seeing from this government, is a strong focus on assessing students, which in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What I have not seen so far is any resourcing of educators so that they can respond effectively to the results of these assessments. Surely this is the most important part of education – teaching the students what they need to know! Assessment provides a great starting point – but where are the resources to take this information and actually TEACH the students?
There is an excellent RSA animate “talk” by Sir Ken Robinson, discussing how he thinks education needs to be reformed. If you are not familiar with RSA animates check them out, they are brilliant.
Sir Ken Robinson is a British author, speaker and international advisor on education, particularly in the arts, though his views, in my opinion, translate across all areas of education.