AQE, Belfast Newsletter, Ben Lowry, Carla Lockhart MLA, Department of Education, DUP, GL Assessment, Parental Alliance for Choice in Education, Peter Robinson., Peter Weir MLA, Professor Peter Tymms, Stephen Elliott
Despite the power to do so the DUP Education Minister, Peter Weir, has failed to address his predecessor’s break with United Kingdom parity in respect of academic standards.
Had he acted immediately, instead of buying time for the Northern Ireland Executive, Mr Weir could have adopted the United Kingdom model both in respect of the grading scale for examinations and longstanding concerns regarding coursework or so-called “controlled assessment”
It appears that the DUPs Yes Minister equivalent of Jim Hacker has been an easy victim of the green Blob’s civil servants in Rathgael House. The green Blob is Northern Ireland’s devolved version of the UK education establishment.
The text of the Newsletter Lead Letter
Are GCSE and GCE exam results between GB and N. Ireland comparable?
The answer regrettably, for the moment, is that it is too early to tell.
The general public must be careful not to assume that Peter Weir, by overturning the effective monopoly John O’Dowd granted CCEA over GCSE and GCE assessment in Northern Ireland, has done anything other than tinker at the edges of the problem bequeathed him by Sinn Fein. He seems to be a ‘Yes Minister’ captured by the green Blob, the entrenched education establishment
John O’Dowd’s break with UK parity in respect of academic standards goes beyond his expulsion of two of the largest UK awarding bodies, and presents huge technical difficulties in respect of standards. These could have been solved at a stroke had Peter Weir responded positively by cutting this Gordian knot and adopted the UK model both in respect of its grading scale and its concerns regarding coursework or so-called “controlled assessment.”
This action would have allowed Peter Weir to significantly scale down CCEA’s GCSE/GCE functions. Northern Ireland could simply “borrow” papers from larger awarding bodies and make the substantial savings available to hard-pressed schools.
Given the achievements of our schools in the recent GCSE and AS/A2 results, it is bizarre they now enter another time of uncertainty while CCEA – who act as their own qualifications regulator– fail to reconcile these two sets of standards. The technical difficulties are considerable; CCEA’s assessments differ in the role given to controlled assessment.
The public have a right to know precisely what CCEA’s Qualification Regulator, Roger McCune, means when he promises: “We will start work immediately on the technical implementation of the new grading and continue to ensure that our qualifications remain comparable to other similar qualifications elsewhere in the United Kingdom.”
The CCEA Regulator is confusing squares and circles.
Peter Weir stands in danger of being compared to Jim Hacker for his failure to master his opponents within the green Blob and refusal to act decisively during the first 100 days of a new administration.
'Non-selective' grammar schools, 11-plus results. Grammar schools, Antrim Grammar School, AQE test results, BBC Northern Ireland Education Correspondent, Belfast Newsletter, Campbell College Belfast, Dr Robbie Meredith, DUP, GL Assessment test results, Glenlola Collegiate, Hunterhouse College, Lagan College Belfast, Loreto College, Northern Ireland transfer tests, St Patrick's Grammar Armagh, St Patrick's Grammar School, St Ronan's College, Victoria College Belfast, Wellington College Belfast
Now that the majority of pupils and parents have the results of the test(s) in hand it is right that there is time taken to acknowledge the effort, celebrate and relax. If only the media would allow it. Instead the annual circus turns up right on cue. Never let facts get in the way of a good story.
T he BBCNI Education correspondent, Robbie Meredith, has prepared a package for today’s local news on the transfer test results. He talks about the Education Minister calling for an end to academic selection – that is not news. Sinn Fein Education Ministers have been trying to end the existence of grammar schools for sixteen years Dr Meredith suggests that non- Catholic grammar schools are mostly controlled – that statement is totally inaccurate and finally he fleetingly mentions the “dualling” schools, ignoring entirely the fact that it is only those schools which require pupils to take multiple tests. Dr Meredith has been informed of the potential misclassification of pupils using the ‘equating’ schemes cited by the “dualling schools” but will not investigate or report on the problem.
The schools accepting GL Assessment and or AQE test results without accepting responsibility for the pressure their unnecessary demands cause are: Lagan College, Belfast (not a grammar school), Glenlola Collegiate, Bangor; Campbell College, Belfast; Antrim Grammar, Antrim; Victoria College, Belfast; St Patrick’s Grammar, Downpatrick; Wellington College, Belfast; Hunterhouse College, Belfast.
Source: Belfast Telegraph Transfer Test Guide published January 25, 2016 Page 19
Most politicians would like to see the end of academic selection but will not admit it to you lest they lose your vote, a problem they are evidently incapable of reconciling. Former DUP First Minister Peter Robinson made much of his determination to deliver a single test. He left office defeated by the resolve of parents and a dedicated group of principled individuals who will not allow political expediency to destroy parental choice.
Enjoy the weekend.
Antonio Gramsci, Assessment for Learning, Belfast Newsletter, CCEA’s Revised Curriculum, Comparison of achievement models, Direct Instruction, Dr Cathal McManus, John O'Dowd, Michael Gove, Northern Ireland Education Minister, OFMDFM, Peter Robinson MLA, Peter Wier MLA, Pierre Bourdieu, Professor Joanne Hughes, Professor Ruth Leitch, project follow through, Protestant working-class underachievement and unionist hegemony, Queen's University School of Education
In a Comment piece in the News Letter of 10 December, I argued that a project designed to investigate the link between deprivation and academic under-achievement was deeply flawed. OFMDFM, who financed the ILiAD project, didn’t seem to appreciate that the sought-after link had already been investigated in one of the most sophisticated education experiments ever conducted: the USA’s Project Follow Through.
Project Follow Through monitored the academic attainment of 79,000 pupils from 180 low-income communities for 20 years. It arrived at an unequivocal conclusion: those pupils who were taught by traditional methods consistently reached academic standards approximating to their middle class peers. This conclusion was replicated by two other highly-regarded bodies. Progressivist curricula – such as those centred on the pupil’s ability to “learn how to learn” – were demonstrated to damage the attainment of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. This is important because our Revised Curriculum is just such a curriculum.
The lessons from Project Follow Through are clear: abandoning the Revised Curriculum and returning to traditional approaches to teaching and learning would benefit all of our children, but particularly children from poor backgrounds. In addition, a great deal of money could be saved if we turned our back on notions like Assessment for Learning (where children are required to mark their own work) and “levels of progression” (which no country on the planet uses). We could invest more money in our teachers if we weren’t funding what Michael Gove dismissively called “the blob.”
I am writing now to report something I discovered after the publication of my Comment piece. I began to feel even more uneasy about the ILiAD project when I read a paper by one of the project’s authors: Dr Cathal McManus of the School of Education at Queen’s. In an article which addressed “Protestant working-class underachievement and unionist hegemony” and published in Irish Studies Review he argues that the ideas of Antonio Gramsci offer a superior theoretical lens through which to view the underachievement of Protestant working-class boys, than the ideas of Pierre Bourdieu.
What is curious is that the ILiAD project use Bourdieu for their theoretical lens. Why wasn’t Gramsci chosen? His reasoning reinforces the findings of Project Follow Through. Could Gramsci’s rejection of curricula like the Revised Curriculum, and enthusiasm for traditional approaches to the classroom, explain the curious choice of the ILiAD team?
Chair, Parental Alliance for Choice in Education
Andreas Schleicher, AQE, Belfast Newsletter, Danny Kennedy MLA, Danny Kinahan MP, Department of Education Northern Ireland, dodgy dossiers, GL Assessment, John O'Dowd, Martin McGuinness MP, Mervyn Storey MLA, Michelle McIlveen MLA, NewsLetter, Northern Ireland Assembly, OECD Pisa, Parental Alliance for Choice in Education, Peter Wier MLA, PISA, private members business, Professor Svend Kreiner, Sammy Wilson MP
A challenge was made to John O’Dowd, Northern Ireland’s education minister to refute his error borne out of reliance on so-called international evidence provided by OECD Pisa data. The Minister has failed to respond. The minister is wrong and remains so.
The letter above was published in the Belfast Newsletter on Friday, November 6th, 2015.
When Sinn Fein education minister John O’Dowd deliberately used the term “dodgy dossier” in respect of transfer testing during Private Members Business in the Assembly on Tuesday, he reversed the truth.
The minister cited international evidence, based on Pisa scores, that selective education fails children.
Astoundingly not one of the unionist politicians present challenged the minister on the facts.
In a peer-reviewed analysis of that evidence, Professor Svend Kreiner wrote of OECD Pisa:
“Most people don’t know that half of the students taking part in the research do not respond to any reading items at all. Despite that, Pisa assigns reading scores to these children.”
In short, Pisa admit that they don’t measure curriculur content or attainment.
Therefore they cannot make an assessment on selective education systems.
Do the politicians who failed to tackle Mr O’Dowd or those schools participating in OECD Pisa not understand that half of the children in the minister’s research were assigned scores for tests they didn’t even sit?
Does anyone in Northern Ireland know of any pupil receiving an AQE or GL Assessment score without taking a test?
With children about to sit the first transfer test tomorrow, it is a pity that those assigned with opposition to the minister’s ideological campaign agaist selection did not challenge him on Tuesday.
If those politicians and their advisors won’t apologise for wrongly traducing the current transfer system, Mr O’Dowd should, on their collective behalf, make clear that it was he who was quoting from a dodgy dossier.
Parental Alliance for Choice in Education, Antrim
Belfast Newsletter, David Spiegelhalter, Diane Ravitch, Dr Hugh Morrison, Dr Hugh Morrison Queen's University Belfast, John O'Dowd, Northern Ireland education system, Numeracy & Literacy in Northern Ireland schools, Numeracy Tsar, OECD Pisa, OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education Northern Ireland, Sir Robert Salisbury, Svend Kriener, Times Educational Supplement, United Kingdom
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Here is the Minister of Education’s reply. Note that no opportunity was afforded the MLA asking the question Jim Allister AQO 4167/11-15, to respond via a supplementary question. The Minister merely read a response into the record treating the question in the same manner as he has with AQW 22049/11-15 of April 22, 2013. The Speaker then called time raising concerns about proper use of Assembly procedure
Sir Robert Salisbury, Chairman of the Independent Review of the Common Funding Scheme for Northern Ireland schools has published his report which will be presented to the Stormont Education Committee this week.
In the section 7 addressing Tackling Education Disadvantage the above summary appears;
Sir Robert Salisbury’s problem is that his reliance upon the PISA data has been challenged. It has been stated in a published newspaper, The Belfast Newsletter, http://www.newsletter.co.uk/community/your-view/schools-data-doesn-t-add-up-to-failure-claims-1-4632750that PISA suffers from a mathematical conceptual error. To date neither the Education Minister, John O’Dowd nor his appointee have addressed the question.
It remains for members of the Education Committee to hold Sir Robert to account. Watch with interest on Wednesday 30th January to see if the question is asked and answered.
As pointed out in the letter the DENI's Schools Inspectorate has indicted "failing" primary schools in terms of its inspections, levels-based measurement of attainment and classroom observations. The findings of Trends in Mathematics, Science Survey 2011 tells a different story. Who do you believe has an international reputation for evidence based research?