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External examinations

Posted by Garry Collins, AATE President on 5 June 2015

In response to a letter that had appeared the previous day, the following letter was submitted to The Courier-Mail for possible publication on Friday 5 June 2015. Two letters on the topic were printed but mine was not selected.

Balance needed in schooling

Anita Bailey (Letters, June 4) is misguided to suggest that schooling should be solely concerned with the transmission of a prescribed set of knowledge and that external exams are the only worthwhile form of educational assessment.

Sensible schooling needs to provide students with both knowledge and skills; neither on its own can properly equip students for the future.

Bailey also overstates the case in relation to Queensland's system of school-based assessment. While some aspects of the current system at senior level need reform, that does not mean that a complete return to an external examination regime is the appropriate response. Even the ACER review team did not recommend that.

If external examinations are the only acceptable form of educational assessment, it needs to be asked why universities are not subject to such a system.

Garry Collins
President, Australian Association for the Teaching of English

Author: Garry Collins, AATE President
About: Garry Collins is the Immediate Past President of ETAQ and began a 2 year term as AATE President on 1 January 2014. A retired high school English teacher, he now works in the School of Education at the University of Queensland as a sessional tutor in English curriculum courses.
Tags: Assessment

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