The King Has Abdicated

An oversized, ugly, brutal giant called Naplan walked into a bar with a toad on his head.
The surprised barman asked, “Where did you get that thing from?”
The toad replied. “ I dunno. It just started off as a wart on my backside.”

The King Has Abdicated

“I am no longer comfortable being associated with the discipline of educational measurement.”If ever there was a giant amongst educational measurers of the world, it is Gene Glass, Senior Researcher at the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The seminal mega-research of Glass and Smith into ‘Class Size’ is a study to which any studious commentator refers if ever he or she mentions anything about the efficacy of class size on child learnings. It had an enormous impact on world discussion about class size.

His leadership during the 1970’s Minimal Competency Testing movement was profound. The application of the most misused and misapplied concept of competency aka basics in American history, resulted in state authorities and school districts wondering what schools could do about it. The foolish thought that testing would encourage school pupils to perform better. They used local tests and the SAT : Student Aptitude Test as measures.
Glass described the movement as one would describe NAPLAN : ‘the case of fruitless use of an analogous concept – the minimum lethal dose’ ; ‘bad logic and worse psychology’ ; ‘a return to Payment by Results, abandoned by the British over one hundred years ago’ ‘has nothing to do with science and technology; not with psychology, not with measurement. It has to do with politics’ ; ‘the business of failing students’.Why would such a giant of the measurement profession ‘no longer feel comfortable ‘ with the American version of NAPLAN testing? Without a doubt, the world’s leading measurer for endless years, Gene Glass has been ‘slowly withdrawing his intellectual commitment to the field of measurement’ and has even asked his University to shift him from its measurement program. In the field of education, this decision represents a greater comment on prevailing educational circumstances than King Edward VIII’s did for regal circumstances; or if one of highest test performing schools in the country decided to drop NAPLAN and HSC contests from its curriculum ….that sort of thing.

This is monumental.

It says so much that ought to have an impact on the principles of schooling and the place of measurment in it.He once said, “I favour competence, I prefer classrooms where teachers know where they’re aiming. Sloth is as unattractive to me in children as it is in grown-ups. Bad writing stinks; it’s as ugly as litter. And bad arithmetic is pathetic, and sometimes unfair. But I don’t like the MCM {aka NAPLAN [Aus.]}. It’s bad psychology; it’s bad measurement; it’s bad thinking. It threatens to subjugate what’s easily measured to what isn’t. It is rooted in the fiction that we know what skills in school insure success in life.”

You must read….. “Why I am No Longer a Measurement Specialist”

Onya, Gene Glass. God bless you.

 

Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486 07 5524 6443 cphilcullen@bigpond.com http://primaryschooling.net    http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com
_____________________________________________________

I once visited Professor Glass at Boulder. The Ahern Inquiry into Education in Queensland was in full swing, and , as Chairman of the Queensland Primary Curriculum Committee, I wanted to find out as much as I could about Minimal Competence Testing in the United States. Small world, Dr. Barry McGraw whom I knew, then at Murdoch Uni., was visiting Professor Glass to find out more about measurement. Dr McGraw later became Julia Gillard’s captain’s pick to lead ACARA and apply NAPLAN, based on Klein’s New York model, to Australian schools. How about that? Ironic?

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2 thoughts on “The King Has Abdicated

  1. Hello Phil,

    It was lovely meeting you and Edna at Tony’s 80th celebration last month!

    Since then I’ve enjoyed reading your recent newsletters and in particular, learning more about NAPLAN. I thought you may be interested in this quote included in today’s school newsletter, by our Principal, Maria Shearn (East Bentleigh Primary School), in regards to the NAPLAN results the children received today. No doubt you’ve already seen it but just in case…

    The following quote from Barrowford Primary School in Lancashire, UK (which was sent home to students with their test results), resonates strongly with us at EBPS:- “ … We are very proud of you as you demonstrated huge amounts of commitment and tried your very best. However, we are concerned that these tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique. The people who create tests and score them do not know each of you…the way teachers do…and the way your families do. They do not know that many of you speak two languages. They do not know that you can play a musical instrument or that you can dance or create. They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day. They do not know that you write poetry or songs, play or participate in sports, wonder about the future, or that sometimes you have to take care of your little brother or sister after school. They do not know that you have travelled…or that you know how to tell a great story or that you love spending time with special family members and friends. They do not know that you can be trustworthy, kind or thoughtful, and that you try, every day, to be your very best…the scores you get will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything. So enjoy your results and be very proud of these but remember there are many ways of being smart.”

    In other news, I’m happy to report Gwen has been behaving herself with no further close encounters with carpark curbs or garden beds. The broken rib is mending nicely. I hope you and Edna are both very well.

    Warm regards, Sharina

    >

    • Nice to hear from you, Sharina. We were honoured by the inclusion in the family knees-up for Tony. Thanks for news of them. I guess you weren’t around when his school at Huntingdale was included in Henry Schonheimer’s “Australia’s Ten Best Schools.” I visited there once…..a truly great school that operated around the tenet that “Learning Resides in the Individual”. Building up a school atmosphere around that is a challenging business.

      I arranged for him to come to North Queensland to share his wisdom with all high school principals from Proserpine to Bamaga It was splendid.

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