Monday, 17 October 2011

Does investing in computers produce better test scores?

Well, no, probably: see

Larry Cuban's piece is brilliant on the way blind prejudice often determines policy, rather than good research.  But who wants better test scores anyway?  Do better test scores mean better learning and better educated students?

Well, not necessarily.  Standardised testing is a good way to evaluate the outcomes of a process intended to produce millions of identical items to the same objectively measurable quality standards, as efficiently as possible.  It's good for mass production processes, for making knives and forks, for example, or cars, or washing machines.  But citizens?

Education processes produces voters, citizens, members of communities and families, workers, and this is one factory where we don't want identical products.  In fact, we probably don't want a factory at all: see Ken Robinson's brilliant animated lecture at  So why do policymakers persist in applying mass production methods, such as standardised testing, payment by results, league tables, and command and control inspection systems, to learning?

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