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Ill-informed comment on proposed reforms to senior school assessment

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President on 27 September 2014

The Courier-Mail of Friday 26 September 2014 included an opinion piece by Christopher Bantick which commented on the recently released recommendations of the ACER report into Queensland's system of senior school assessment and tertiary selection. It was entitled "External exams improve position".

I responded to this piece and an edited version of the letter below was published on the letters page of the edition of the paper for Saturday 27 September. The underlined words were deleted and the bracketed ones inserted. The letter was in the "in Brief" section and the paper used no heading. In addition, the paper printed the edited letter as a single paragraph.

Education commentator needs to do homework better

Melbourne-based teacher and commentator Christopher Bantick writes about the recent ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research) report on proposed reforms to senior school assessment in Queensland (“External exams improve position”, 26/9).

He accurately says that the report recommends that there should be four assessments in each subject, three internal and one externally set and marked. But he then tells us (says) that “there has been no mention of weighting of these assessments”.

What this demonstrates is that he has either not read or not understood Recommendation 5 of the report. This proposes that student results be reported on a 60 point scale with the external assessment contributing 30 points and the three internal assessments 10 points each.

Bantick has never taught in Queensland and has no first-hand experience of the state’s existing secondary school assessment system. If The Courier-Mail is to pay this Victorian for his comments on school education in Queensland, it should at least insist that he do his homework properly.

Garry Collins

Author: Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President
About: Garry Collins was ETAQ President from mid July 2005 to 15 March 2014. He taught English in state high schools for around 35 years and now tutors in English curriculum courses in the School of Education at the University of Queensland.
Tags: Assessment

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