Sunday, April 4, 2010

could try harder

Black children are being systematically marked down by their teachers who are unconsciously stereotyping them, it has been revealed.

Academics looked at the marks given to thousands of children at age 11. They compared their results in Sats, nationally set tests marked remotely, with the assessments made by teachers in the classroom and in internal tests. The findings suggest that low expectations are damaging children's prospects.

The study concludes that black pupils perform consistently better in external exams than in teacher assessment. The opposite is true for Indian and Chinese children, who tend to be "over-assessed" by teachers. It also finds that white children from very poor neighbourhoods were under-assessed when compared with their better-off peers.


The issue of testing is top of the agenda this weekend as the National Union of Teachers urges its members to vote to boycott the Sats test for 11-year-olds this summer. They believe the external tests are distorting education and should be replaced by teachers' assessments. Yesterday, the union used its annual conference in Liverpool to threaten the next government with a "summer of discontent" over public spending cuts and national curriculum tests.

But Burgess, who is director of the Centre for Market and Public Organisation at the university, said his study showed that the tests were the only opportunity some children had to "prove their teachers wrong".

Anushka Asthana, Toby Helm and Tracy McVeigh in the Observer, the rest here.

1 comment:

Phil said...

The problem of favoritism might also be addressed by the widespread adoption of anonymous testing in the classroom. Although handwriting may be a dead giveaway as to the identity of a test-taker, tests taken on computer may be easily anonymised by software already available (we used it in law school).