[LINK] In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores

Jan Whitaker jwhit at melbpc.org.au
Fri Sep 9 08:34:38 AEST 2011

At 10:53 AM 5/09/2011, Bernard Robertson-Dunn wrote:

>In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores
>September 3, 2011

Fascinating article in a real world situation, not just 'supposin' '.

I hope the Australian press for standardised test scores as the 
'only' valid measure doesn't fall into a similar trap. It's like 
taking someone's temperature to see if their broken leg is healing. Duh.

One of the points made in the article that is definitely true: the 
number of variables makes it terribly difficult to determine cause 
and effect in educational research. 'Scientific' proof just doesn't 
translate in these environments. At best, it's a 'best guess' 
situation. Better to use a 'common sense' test and qualitative 
examination rather than test scores. Education is about more than 
passing tests.

There are other outcomes that are equally valuable, compared to the 
alternative of going back to chalkboards and workbooks. Are the old 
ways efficient? No. Do they allow for consistent information 
presentation? (think of the teacher drawing on a chalkboard) No. Can 
the teacher immediately communicate with the parents of a child as I 
saw in Colorado over the last few weeks, so that the parent knows the 
marks and required homework activities of their child every day? No. 
Can a school send an advisory to a parent's smartphone that a school 
is in lock-out because of a dangerous situation in the neighbourhood 
(also observed)? No. Are those abilities valuable as well as 
improving 'test scores'? I would argue yes, and I believe many 
principals, teachers and parents would as well.

It's unfortunate the headline of the article sets up such a negative 
attitude with equally unsupported research for their premise. I guess 
the NY Times has no better sub-editors than the Australian press.


Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

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