I’ve been learning all my life (sounds obvious) and teaching for much of my professional life and I am increasingly frustrated with education institution’s obsession with assessments. In most countries, the obligation to spend a minimum number of years at school ensures that basic education is ‘enjoyed’ by all. That may or may not be much fun while you’re there but overall it is a good thing and I do understand the need for some sort of ‘standardised’ set of qualifications. However, further and higher education should serve a different purpose. I have long had the feeling that what our society does with young people at school is more about points, stats and targets than about the cultivation of a passion for learning and deep thought, critical thinking the development of an understanding of the bigger picture and the long view. My learning utopia dispenses with all assessments because the mere joy of expanding one’s mind provides sufficient motivation to engage people with all the learning opportunities around us…
Will Self’s ‘Point of View’ on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 29th January 2017 expressed beautifully the consequences of ‘teaching to the test’ for the individual and society:
I couldn’t agree more. I learn much better when I’m doing it for the sheer enjoyment, rather than for an assessment where I’m never quite sure what’s expected….