Selection alternatives

The Association for Quality Education has proposed six forms of pupil selection (Word document) as alternatives to the 11plus. Their preferred new approach is Computer Adaptive Testing. Spokesperson, Sir Ken Bloomfield, believes this approach will prevent the middle class buying advantage:

The great thing about it, I think, is that it is protective against coaching. One of the major objections, I think, to the present system is that middle class parents are able to obtain coaching for their children based on knowledge of the nature of 11-plus tests over a good many years

  • KeithQR

    Just because the technology is there, doesn’t mean it has to be used.

  • Aaron McDaid

    One of the major objections, I think, to the present system is that middle class parents are able to obtain coaching for their children based on knowledge of the nature of 11-plus tests over a good many years

    What exactly is going on here? If it’s merely a complaint that some students are able to study properly for an exam, then it’s a disgrace that it is considered a ‘problem’. Exams (and indeed real life) aren’t a test of your raw talent, but also a function of how much work you have put in (and a good dose of luck of course and knowing the right people …). So if too many non-‘middle class’ kids (whatever they are) are not doing as well as they could it’s probably mostly because the primary school failed to teach them properly. The school, with the parent’s help (such as making sure kids have time for homework), should be able to get kids pretty close to their potential.

    If on the other hand, the tests from year to year are quite repetitive, and richer parents can pay somebody to predict what will come up, then the problem is just that they exams are set stupidly.

    It is possible though, despite my cynicism, that there might actually be something positive somewhere in this story (!). Ideally, the exam would be a very long exam which covers pretty much everything, but that’s not realistic so one could have a system where the exam changes as the student’s ability level becomes apparent. This is one of the rare occasions where a government using technology in education might be useful.

  • willis

    I have to admit that my overwhelming feeling is one of musty corridors.

    What are they talking about!

    If people want a decent Grammar school education why not give it to them?

    Get a grip this is not 1956!

    Has anyone worked out how many parents want a Grammar school education for their kids? – and how many places there are?

    If parents care enough to go through all this trouble why not just let the kids in?

    Don’t forget that more kids got A’s than D’s in this years 11+

  • ehhh

    Don’t forget that more kids got A’s than D’s in this years 11+

    ehhhh?

    You do know they slide the marking around each year to meet quotas.

    11+ is a busted flush – anything that fool (whoops, sorry, top legal mind and 11+ success) McCartney supports go 180 degrees in opposite direction.

    Put every fecker in comprehensive and let the cream rise – because it will. Other wise you end up with fey untalented types popping up latter in public life – just look at your society here in NI

  • willis
  • I was disappointed to see that the Ulster Unionists have diluted their support for academic selection. Their Education Spokesman, David McNarry has said:
    “We have to remain open about a non-selective system too. All things need to be on the table.”

  • willis

    Hang on Bob. What exactly is David Cameron’s position?

  • willis

    I wonder what David McNarry thinks about copying?

  • willis

    Latest

    Schools to set own exams if politicians can’t agree.
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/article2253072.ece

  • Put every fecker in comprehensive and let the cream rise – because it will.

    Just like it does in the South, where kids from Tallaght and Darndale and Ballymun pretty much dominate society’s political, cultural and business élite. Not.

    Hang on Bob. What exactly is David Cameron’s position?

    Whatever he thinks is going to win him the most votes this week.

  • Alan

    “The great thing about it, I think, is that it is protective against coaching.”

    Is that the best you can do. Leaving aside that we would be retaining a failed system, how can any such system be made secure? Would the tests be done on a controled system outside the school? Would the programme be launched from a copyable cd? How would you prevent school teachers “playing” with the system? How do you stop kids hitting Prt Scrn with every question? etc etc

  • willis

    Has anyone been able to open the word doc without crashing their browser? It has done it twice on me now.

  • Leaving aside that we would be retaining a failed system

    More platitudes and soundbites, Alan. Try defining ‘failed’ for a start.

  • willis

    Sammy

    It also depends on what Alan means by ‘system’. I do not think there is much arguement that the 11+ exam is not fit for purpose. Ken Bloomfield has said as much by pointing out its vulnerability to coaching.

    You can certainly argue that academic selection produces great results at the top end.

    Maybe one answer would be to have a test which actually told the student if they would be suited to academic, professional, artistic or technical education and in what ratio. Then gave them a choice of school which best matched that ratio.

    If the good people of concerned parents had opted for a more professional or technical education, they might be able to design a non-crashing link.

  • If the good people of concerned parents had opted for a more professional or technical education, they might be able to design a non-crashing link.

    The link works fine here so perhaps it’s your setup?

  • willis

    You might be right. So far our test sample is 2.

    later…

    Yep it finally opened, certainly not an example of Web 2.0