2 Responses

  1. Vivlyn
    Vivlyn January 23, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    So PNG will start producing quantity over quality.

  2. Robert Cannon
    Robert Cannon January 18, 2016 at 11:27 am

    My earlier comments appear to have been lost in a system failure. I will therefore attempt to reconstruct the main points I made again.

    The first point is that a great deal is expected of examinations and tests. They generally serve a number of different decision-making purposes such as gathering data for curriculum planning, guidance, monitoring learning, selection, and certification. Increasingly, a key expectation seems to be managerial, as this Blog demonstrates. Terms like accountability, transparency, benchmarking and performance monitoring often dominate discussions at the expense of a key purpose which is to support student learning through constructive feedback. The managerial approach also tends to import a punitive attitude of fault-finding and apportioning “blame” rather than exploring reasons for success. When one examination is used for multiple purposes it is often the case that it achieves none as well as a single-purpose approach.

    Second, it is wrong to equate national exams with assessment tools such as NAPLAN. National examinations will normally focus on assessing student learning in all areas of the curriculum whereas literacy and numeracy tests have a limited focus on these two dimensions only, as important as they may be. Where high stakes tests like NAPLAN are introduced it is not unusual to find a narrowing of emphasis on literacy and numeracy at the expense of other curriculum areas.

    Third, there is enormous risk in assuming that ideas about teaching, learning, and assessment can be imported successfully from western nations into different cultures and contexts such as those in PNG. Gerard Guthrie’s book, The Progressive Education Fallacy in Developing Countries, which is largely based on his work in PNG, should be mandatory reading for anyone undertaking development work in education.

    In particular, NAPLAN has raised many questions about its overall education benefit in Australia. It may well prove to be a disastrous model in PNG. It is a form of high stakes testing. I have already written about this matter in two Devpolicy Blogs and made this observation in the first:

    “The more we use high-stakes tests to assess students, teachers, schools and systems, the corruptions and distortions that inevitably appear compromise the construct validity of the test and make scores uninterpretable. It is not difficult to imagine the flow-on effects of high stakes testing in developing countries already fighting the scourge of corruption in their education systems. The Special Issue of the journal Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice, Volume 19, Number 1, 2012 contains a review of the consequences of high stakes testing in developing countries as well as in Australia.”

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