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The Forum > Article Comments > Australia's testucation system > Comments

Australia's testucation system : Comments

By Phil Cullen, published 2/6/2017

In this colonial mode, it was essential that students, as they are erroneously described, were branded as to their capacity to remember things.

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There's absolutely nothing wrong with a good memory or developing one! And for the first australian, essential for their survival!

As always incompetents will try to muddy the waters to cover for their own shortcomings?

What we need in education is a very different means test needs based system that put the student front and centre not musing alleged academics wheeling away at irrelevance.

Therefore, the malleable Gonski model needs to be replaced by something that does what the taxpayer pays for, best practice, benchmarked education, that doesn't regularly fail our most capable students? Maybe because they have retentive memories or may be one or two pay grades smarter than the incompetent with the chalk?

You know, the one who rote to is mum, saying, yestadee, I culdent even spell unavercity studant, now I are one?

So, funding needs to be directed solely at the controlling Parent as a means tested endowment, marked up for disability and or remote locations. Then allow them to select which school in their school district to send their kids to.

And if that includes weekly tests as evidence of retention so be it! Particularly if it identifies where lessons need to be repeated or amended and which student needs timely remedial help.

After all, education almost alone sets our future citizens up, for a prosperous and successful future. And where it fails them, all too often ends in a prison or postcode poverty trap.

At the end of the day, all that tests reveal, are teacher competence and or student shortfalls!

And if inculcated as normal routine not connected to academic success! So as to eliminate the highly confected fear element, should be rightly seen as just another teaching tool!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Friday, 2 June 2017 11:32:44 AM
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Christ, what a stupid article.

I taught in the country for a short time in the early sixties, a class of 49: 23 in Grade, 26 in Grade 4. Every week, on Friday mornings, we had tests in Mental Arithmetic, Arithmetic, Spelling, Dictation and Social studies. Then rapid feedback.

By the end of the first week, I knew which kids were well on their way, and didn't need much work, which kids were really struggling from the outset and would need plenty of coaching and support all the year, and which kids would need a bit of work and monitoring throughout the year.

So those tests were a vital, EARLY guide for the teacher as well as for the kids. I couldn't careless about kids 'remembering' per se, but whether or not they were learning, and whether they need help to catch up and keep up.

I was lucky, I had a very bright Grade 4 class, half of them were well on their feet from the off, and stayed that way all year. All of the 49 kids passed into the next grade at the end of the year - yes, they passed annual exams. That was a hard system, but you knew where you stood and so did the kids, and we all worked at it together.

Tests and exams were not some sort of pointless, punitive exercise- they were guides for both teachers and students as to who needed a lot of assistance, and who would have been be okay even if they were doing it all underwater and in the dark.

Yes, they were indeed tests of the teacher and his/her determination to be of use to the kids. I get the idea that many these days, with their 24 kids and all manner of teaching aids, would collapse in a heap.

I still remember those lovely kids by name (I mentally go over their names by where they sat). Four have passed away, two in a car rollover, one in a plane crash. Fantastic kids.

Posted by Loudmouth, Friday, 2 June 2017 3:10:49 PM
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There may be a sucker born every minute, but Phil Cullen is going to find it hard to find anyone dumb enough to swallow the idea that children in school should not be tested. His claim that those countries that do not test their schoolchildren are now the world's leaders in industry, technology and creativity, sounds like complete BS to me. I would love to read what an Asian "tiger mother" thinks of that malarkey.

Somehow our short haired women and long haired men of the Australian state Education departments, managed to convince some dim witted Education ministers that Australian schoolchildren should not be tested to discover their individual aptitudes. The end result was that secondary school certificates based upon teacher recommendations like the NSW HSC became worthless in the eyes of employers and universities. Universities were forced to begin university entrance examinations themselves, because they were sick and tired of getting supposedly university ready students who could not read, write, spell, punctuate, or do simple sums.

This ideology of non testing seems to be based upon two ideological concepts.

The first is, that all races are equal. That certain races and ethnicities routinely do badly while others ace the test results is an unwelcome fact which our socialist educators think must be suppressed at all costs. Banning examinations allows them to continue the fiction that all are equal.

The second, is that those who profess this equality nonsense just happen to be our worst educators. Exams which clearly show a glaring disparity between politically correct schools, and those who accept competition and rigorous examination, would not put our supposedly "intelligent" socialist educators in a good light.

Memo to Phil. Parents and grandparents just happen to be our largest and most socially responsible demographic. They want to know how their kids and their grandkids are doing in school. Even the left wing ones won't have a bar of your "children must not be tested" year zero social experiment.
Posted by LEGO, Sunday, 4 June 2017 10:45:47 AM
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Not radical enough Lego.
Students should be tested at end of year six with the intention of weeding out the wasted space student, the kind of student that is simply uneducatable.
This group could be directed towards work environments that require little to no educational ability.
Posted by diver dan, Sunday, 4 June 2017 6:02:57 PM
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Hi Diver Dan,

I don't think any kid is uneducatable, except perhaps for those with obvious mental impairment, and even then, who knows ? Einstein was a dunce at school*. Most of us are baffled by a lot of the world, we just may not understand it, but we can be set straighter with proper - and not all that 'special' - support, just a bit of coaxing along and clarifying and trying to make it relevant, relatable. Surely that's what a teacher is supposed to do ?

There was a brilliant NZ teacher in the 1930s-1960s, Sylvia Ashton-Warner [check out her book 'Teacher', it's on Book Depository, $ 24.32, postage paid], working with very young, mostly Maori, kids in literacy: she used to ask the kids each morning what word did they want, and write it on a card and give it to them: THEIR word, their meaningful word. None of this 'run', 'sit', 'the', stuff, but 'helicopter', 'murder', 'kiss', love', 'punch' - active words from their active lives. And they loved it, and lo and behold, learnt to read. My wife tried this at her Aboriginal pre-school and yes, it worked :) It also turned the kids onto reading generally, she used to get them to choose a book, and had a period of 'silent reading', where they looked at the pictures - sometimes she would choose 'their' book and read it to the whole group - and they loved that too of course.

Physics used to absolutely baffle me at school, but years after, I don't know how, but I got really interested in it: I used to come home from work, shift work, at around 2am and sit and read the Year 12 text-book [yes, I AM bloody weird, my wife used to say, especially at about 3.30 am]. After only six weeks, I finished it and loved every bit of it. Kids may only need to have something explained, and then they're away. Teachers have to keep at it, coaxing, looking for an angle.


* So was Trump, so that buggers up my theory.
Posted by Loudmouth, Sunday, 4 June 2017 6:43:45 PM
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Yes diver dan, is a fine idea if each of them are allow to be tested.
Posted by rollyczar, Sunday, 4 June 2017 7:12:46 PM
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