Written by Shaun Brooker
This morning I could hardly believe what I read in the newspaper. An article was written of a principal's reaction to the soon to be reality of Nationalised testing. This principal said he would find the test which produced the best results and then fudge the tests so he would have the most successful school around and parents would flock to his school!
I agree with one thing - that we would be well advised to use the test which gave the best results (hmm...is this really a good Christian response? Maybe as far as being good stewards goes) However, to fudge test results, what would this prove!
I do realise there is a concern from many principals that the results of the testing will be published to the masses in the form of league tables. That parents would not be able in interpret the leagues accurately with decile, gender and ethnicity in mind. However it does evoke a Christian response!! I am unsure of the validity of the concern from any Christian Educators perspective.
Surely we will have the opportunity to 'educate' our parents (newsletters/website/parent meeting) about the outcomes of the school and what if the testing finds 'failures' in and shortcomings in our systems and/or school curriculum. Do we not want the best for our students? I know the resounding answer to this question is yes, but is it yes, so long as I do not have to eat humble pie?
I have always found parents to be very supportive of the school so long as nothing 'surprises' them. With the ongoing standardised testing we have at school, parents already know which areas of the curriculum our school is strong at and where the weaknesses are. They also know what we are doing to strengthen such weaknesses.
As a Christian Educator I would have serious concerns if coming accountable to our parents would be such a concern. The publication of assessment results surely is secondary to the accountability we have before the Lord in the running of our schools.
Well that is my take for what it is worth, bring on the testing, I look forward to finding areas I can improve on...hang on haven't we been doing this for years...I guess I might be concerned if I had been hiding weaknesses from the parents...