Anorak News | Testing Times

Testing Times

by | 11th, August 2004

‘ANOTHER year and another E minus for the shambolic Department For Education And Skills.

Q1: ‘Would you like an ‘A’, an ‘A-star’ or an ‘AA’?’

We had hoped that the DfES would have learned from its past mistakes, tried harder, done better and paid more attention in class.

But once more the signs are that we have been talking to a brick wall – either Education Secretary Charles Clarke and his witless minions don’t want to learn or else they are unable to.

So today we read in the Telegraph how the department has failed this year’s Key Stage 3 English papers.

Whether or not the 600,000 14-year-olds who sat the exam fared better or worse than their masters we can only guess at because the DfES tells us that the data it gathered from the tests were “not fit for purpose”.

To put that phrase in plain English, the DfES has raised its hand and told ‘Miss’ that it has made a complete hash of marking the papers.

As a result, “hundreds” of schools have complained about haphazard and inconsistent marking of the exams, leading to the DfES’s decision to cancel the publication of this year’s results.

The Times reports that the Secondary Heads Association has complained about “haywire” marking. As of now, 100,000 of those 600,000 papers are “under review”.

This means that experts in the English language are spending time that could be put to better use remarking papers that count for pretty much nothing in the wider world.

And one thing these keepers of the language could be doing is teaching English to people who want to become UK citizens.

The Times says that the Home Office wants all new Britons to speak the language of their adopted country, but has failed to specify who will check what their level of English is.

New rules mean that migrants will be required to have reached Level Three of the English For Speakers Of Other Languages (ESOL) course.

Meanwhile, anyone who claims they can already speak the language will have to produce written confirmation that they have a qualification in English from a person approved by the Home Office.

And since no-one has been approved, as yet, and no ESOL courses have begun, it means none of the wannabe Brits can officially pass the test.

Which is great news for those British patriots who don’t like immigrants. And totally in keeping with the Government’s education policy…’

Posted: 11th, August 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink