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The Leaning Tower of PISA?

Or 'A War of the Worlds' Or 'Compare and Contrast'?

I'm following up Tuesday's Diary item with an illustrative selection from this week's UK news and related papers about current  UK Education policy 'leanings' and plans (with links to sources):

"British (actually English) school children could be guinea pigs for controversial new tests being described as a "pre-school PISA" for five-year-olds, despite other nations rejecting the trials. The move is disclosed in a contract document published quietly earlier this month by the Department for Education. "  The Daily Telegraph 31 January 2017

WHAT IS 'the pre-school PISA', you ask? Here is a briefing paper (extract)  from Prof. Peter Moss:

"Since its first outing in 2000, the Programme for International Student Assessment, widely known as PISA, has become highly influential in the education policy world with its three-yearly assessment of 15-year-olds in a growing number of countries around the world. Now the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD) is moving on to new ground, with plans well advanced for an international assessment of early learning outcomes among young children. …

Or 'A War of the Worlds' Or 'Compare and Contrast'?

I'm following up Tuesday's Diary item with an illustrative selection from this week's UK news and related papers about current  UK Education policy 'leanings' and plans (with links to sources):

"British (actually English) school children could be guinea pigs for controversial new tests being described as a "pre-school PISA" for five-year-olds, despite other nations rejecting the trials. The move is disclosed in a contract document published quietly earlier this month by the Department for Education. "  The Daily Telegraph 31 January 2017

WHAT IS 'the pre-school PISA', you ask? Here is a briefing paper (extract)  from Prof. Peter Moss:

"Since its first outing in 2000, the Programme for International Student Assessment, widely known as PISA, has become highly influential in the education policy world with its three-yearly assessment of 15-year-olds in a growing number of countries around the world. Now the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD) is moving on to new ground, with plans well advanced for an international assessment of early learning outcomes among young children. …

The plans for the IELS have been gestating over several years, and OECD member state governments have been consulted during this period. But the wider early childhood community of practitioners and academics has not been; the OECD has shown little interest in opening up their proposals to public scrutiny and debate. Some may have got wind of this initiative, but most working in the field have been unaware of what is in store and many still are. The DfE in England has similarly made no attempt to inform and consult, either on the wider OECD plans or on England's participation in IELS. The whole exercise has been shrouded in secrecy." Peter Moss, Emeritus Professor, Institute of Education, University College London

[click for full briefing paper]

OR

"PISA results from last year serve to confirm the ever-growing body of international evidence on this point, that teacher-led instruction is more effective than child-centred, enquiry-based approaches." Nick Gibb UK Minister for Education 24 January 2017 Education World Forum

OR

"There is a lot of resistance to this developing, internationally. People are basically saying that this standardised assessment approach is not going to provide any useful information in terms of the diverse experiences of young children around the world." Mathias Urban, professor of early childhood at the University of Roehampton . The Daily Telegraph 31 January 2017 [read Prof Urban's full paper]

OR

A DfE spokesman said: "Making sure our youngest children are given the tools to achieve their full potential is vital, and high quality early education is such an important part of this. That's why we are investing a record £6billion per year by 2020." Daily Telegraph 31 January 2017

OR

Since 1980 a third of local authority maintained nursery schools in England have closed, and despite their record of improving outcomes for the most deprived children, a survey suggests one in 10 of the remaining 400 believe they will have to shut by July. The fear is that to survive schools will be required to reinvent themselves as sustainable businesses. "But we are not a business," says Alex Pearson, assistant head of Homerton Nursery School, Cambridge, "we are in the business of educating. We are not in the business of money." The Guardian 31 January 2017

AND

Instead of careful, culturally and contextually appropriate consideration of the achievements of early childhood systems in diverse countries, and of systemic evaluation of the actual outcomes for children, families and society, IELS appears to adopt a strategy that favours largely decontextualised comparison and measurement of narrowly defined pre-determined outcomes. It is our concern that such an approach will not provide necessary or meaningful information for decision makers and early childhood leaders in participating countries and beyond. What it will do is draw early childhood education firmly into a global framework of standardised assessment across all tiers of the education system, from early childhood to higher education. Urban 2016


A question: How many people will it take, standing on the leaning side of the Tower of Pisa for it to fall over?

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Wednesday, 13 November 2019

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