Education 'set back 50 years' by reforms
4:00AM Saturday Aug 01, 2009
By Andrew Laxon

Primary schools will be "going back 50 years" if teachers are forced to stick to national standards in reading, writing and maths, says a top education researcher.

Professor John Hattie, who has won international recognition for his work on student achievement, said the Government's education reforms looked like a backwards step.

Under the changes, primary and intermediate schools will have to measure the progress of all children against nationally set benchmarks from next year.

Education Minister Anne Tolley has downplayed the prospect of league tables to rank schools and promised the new system will not revolve around passing a series of national tests, as in Britain and the United States.

But Professor Hattie said the changes still looked likely to force teachers to teach children according to their school year, rather than their ability level, which was nonsense.

"You've got gifted kids and slower learners - it's absolutely absurd to believe they are working at the same level."

More here.