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Published today in the Belfast Newsletter

View entire correspondence here:


Newsletter Morrison112013

It is clear that Sir Robert Salisbury and his latest sponsor, Sinn Fein Education Minister, John O’Dowd have been presented with a credibility challenge by Dr Hugh Morrison of Queens University, Belfast.

Dr Morrison will be known to PACE followers as an academic who raised concerns over attempts to undermine the former CCEA transfer test. He pointed out that any instrument proposed to replace the test should meet or improve upon recognised international standards.

Clearly unable to do so, the Sinn Fein controlled Department of Education, upon the advice of CCEA, run by Gavin Boyd, abandoned their duty of care and responsibility to pupils and withdrew the regulated tests.

Parents, pupils and teachers took care of the problem created by irresponsible civil servants and politicians. The “unregulated” tests have operated well for four years.

The Education Minister has persisted in attacking academic selection by testing, employing methods and measures which have  now been called into question by Dr Morrison.

Salisbury Enduring Myth

Sir Robert Salisbury must answer the charge raised by this academic, in particular since Salisbury is described as a Numeracy Czar.

At a time when our primary schools are – pace Sir Robert – being hailed as the finest in the English-speaking world, these assertions must surely dismay those charged with securing inward investment in Northern Ireland.

What should add to their dismay is that such claims are entirely erroneous. There is a profound conceptual error at the heart of the PISA scaling model and the PISA rankings simply cannot be used to refute the claim that the post-primary element of our education system may also be world class.

Dr Hugh Morrison

Gavin Boyd of CCEA once challenged Dr Morrison about “getting your facts right”.

The response from Sir Robert Salisbury and John O’Dowd will reveal much about ideology over evidence.