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Reform of senior school assessment & tertiary entrance

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President on 31 December 2014

The following letter was published in The Courier-Mail of Wednesday 31 Dec 2014 so it was my last for the year. Editing was minimal on this occasion with underlined words deleted and the bracketed one inserted. They also adjusted my original paragraphing. The paper's heading for a collection of three letters beneath a photo of students in an examination hall was " Devil is in the detail for overhaul of education".

Changes to Year 12 assessment

I suggest that your headline "Teachers give tick to school overhaul" (30/12) is jumping the gun.

Most high school teachers I talk to want to see more detail before they will be convinced that proposed reforms to Year 12 assessment and tertiary entrance in Queensland will constitute a net improvement over current arrangements.

The devil is ever in the detail.

Your report suggests that abolition of the Core Skills Test will remove "teaching to a test". But if external assessment in subjects is to be introduced, teachers will naturally focus on preparing students for these exams.

In addition, until it is clear how universities will select incoming students, it is difficult to really know how the new system will work.

Acknowledging that there are problems with the way that the existing OP system is now working (works) does not necessarily mean that all proposed changes are good ones. Sometimes "solutions" create new problems.

Garry Collins
Immediate Past President, English Teachers Association of Queensland

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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