Friday, August 31, 2007

Primary pupils show lack of progress in basic skills

From The Guardian

The government was accused of complacency yesterday after revealing that writing standards among seven-year-olds had fallen for the second year in a row. The statistics, released by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, also showed no improvements in other core areas, such as maths and science.
The results follow recent evidence of poor progress among 11- and 14-year-olds.

While ministers insisted they were maintaining "high standards at this crucial stage of education", the Conservatives attacked their "complacency" and the Liberal Democrats claimed the whole primary school programme had lost momentum.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Gifted pupils: too many are just ordinary, say teachers

UK news story from earlier this month:

Ministers are overestimating the number of exceptionally bright pupils in Britain's schools, the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children will be told this week.
Research shows that teachers charged with picking out the top pupils feel that far too many are labelled as 'gifted and talented' and that the government was wrong to recommend that 10 per cent were picked out in each school, a total of 800,000 across the country. Instead, between 2 and 5 per cent of children should be classed as 'gifted learners', cutting hundreds of thousands of pupils already placed in the top group.

Scrap these '19th-century' GCSEs, says expert

From tomorrow's Observer:

A leading expert on exams and testing has claimed that GCSEs are stuck in the '19th century', forcing pupils to memorise facts that will be little use to them later in life.
Just days before more than half a million teenagers across England and Wales pick up their results, Professor Dylan Wiliam, deputy director of the Institute of Education, who has researched testing regimes across the world, argued that the examination system should be completely reformed.

Full story here