Monday, October 25, 2004


In the Australian State of Tasmania

"Dramatic changes to the state's educational system will start from next year. But teachers fear they are not ready for the transition, which will use vastly different assessment criteria from kindergarten to Year 10. "This does require a big shift, it's quite groundbreaking," Ms Wriedt said yesterday. "I know some people are not comfortable with the change but equally there are many who are really excited about it......

From next year teachers will prepare report cards on how students do in whole new areas. Once phase-in is complete, report cards will not list traditional subjects like maths or english, with a grade for each. Instead teachers will collaborate on each student and mark their ability to communicate, think and deal with issues of social responsibility....

Ms Wriedt said she realised the assessment part of the change concerned teachers most, but there was still another six months before they had to report in the new way. A teacher who contacted The Mercury yesterday said many of her colleagues were sceptical and angry about the new system. She said it was over-theorised, jargonised and difficult for teachers, let alone parents, to understand. The secondary teacher said she would have to collaborate with every other teacher on her nearly 300 students.

She said her subject which now had about 10 criteria students were measured against under the TCE would soon be measured in only one area, and the changes would leave new graduate teachers floundering.

More here


It sounds like something dreamed up in a drug high. Maybe it was!

Traditional subject divisions have been replaced with topics of thinking, communicating and social responsibility [a.k.a. "political correctness"]. But in a survey of 1334 teachers across the state by the Australian Education Union, 92 per cent said they did not have good knowledge of the marking system. More than half of primary teachers and three-quarters of secondary ones surveyed said they had little or no knowledge of the new system.

The Essential Learnings Framework must start in all schools next year, partly because the Tasmanian Certificate of Education has been abolished. Opposition education spokesman Peter Gutwein released the survey yesterday. "If teachers are struggling with this new, obviously bureaucrat-driven reporting system, how does Ms (Education Minister Paula) Wriedt expect parents to make head or tail of their child's report cards?" Mr Gutwein said.

From next year, government schools must assess four key areas - inquiry, numeracy, literacy and well-being [and just how are they going to either teach or assess that? Very subjectively, no doubt]. More will follow in 2006. They fall into five "essentials" - thinking, communicating (eg, literacy and numeracy), personal futures [meaning, perhaps, "how to work a crystal ball"?] (ethics and well-being), social responsibility and world futures [They're really going to be overworking that crystal ball!]. The new learning replaces conventional division of subjects into mathematics, English or science - and nothing is compulsory [Maybe they should all just go home]. Instead, "cross-curricular units" will be studied by drawing on various disciplines. For example, learning about water could draw on maths, science and geography [Wow! Who would have thought it?]. "Some have dropped the traditional subjects altogether, instead they have cross-curricular units," Mrs Walker said. "Some have small amounts of basic subjects and others are retaining separate subjects, they're all different. The biggest change is in assessment."

More here


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

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