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to think if you are going to criticise teenagers' historical knowledge, you should at least do some proper research first - Gove, that means you

(64 Posts)
kim147 Mon 13-May-13 21:52:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 Wed 15-May-13 21:15:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

burntoutteacher Wed 15-May-13 23:00:43

Micheal Gove always reminds me of a tape worm

Toadinthehole Thu 16-May-13 07:32:03


I found your reply and links very interesting (the reason for this will become apparent at the end of my reply). The first thing to note is that I understand Gove claims that the UK education system has got worse. I'm not defending this claim, which I understand is based on the PISA 2000 figures, which ranked the UK 7th in reading, 4th for science and 8th for maths, significantly higher than subsequent rankings (25th, 16th and 28th in 2009, for example). My point is that the UK education system hasn't been world-class for a while. The fact that the PISA 2000 scores were flawed actually strengthens this point rather than the opposite, as it excludes the most obvious contradictory evidence. And while you point out that UK scores are at or above the average, I don't think this is anything to write home about, given that the table includes Kazakhstan, Panama and Brazil. I don't have anything against those countries, but I do assume that the UK, as a knowledge-based post-industrial economy and thus requires at least an above-average education system.

About Pearson: I understand that it measures what "goes in". So, a well-resourced education system could in theory produce indifferent results but still rank highly, which to me seems open to criticism.

While I find the PIRLS and TIMMS results interesting, I think all it does is perhaps highlight where the particular deficiency in UK education lies - in secondary schools. Given the UK's relatively poor record on youth wellbeing (not that NZ's is anything to write home about, for that matter) perhaps this is not just the fault of the education system. This seems the most obvious way or reconciling the the high PERLS/TIMMS results with the comparatively low PISA results which strike me as a better measure, because they are at, or close to, the end of formal schooling. I might add in fairness to Gove that the children assessed in PERLS/TIMMS will have had over half their schooling during the time he has been Education Secretary.

I understand that private schools are included in these measures, and furthermore that the UK independent schooling sector is one of the world's best. It hasn't escaped my notice that in the UK even pop stars and sports people these days seem to have gone to independent schools.

While of course surveys are no guide to whether a particular child will do well at a particular school, it is reasonable to consider them in some respects a helpful guide, and in this case the horror stories I've heard (particularly at secondary level) are borne out by the surveys and also my observation that the locals here tend, in my experience, to be more dextrous with language and maths than British people, including myself - Russell Group educated though I am.

I am, by the way, very happy to be proved wrong, apart from the slight loss of face it would cause. I endure regular bouts of homesickness and would love to return to the UK. DW is, however, very worried about the schools (she's not British, but she taught in them). I invite you to apply your most remorseless logic to tear apart what I've written, and then I can present what you say to DW. smile

EduCated Thu 16-May-13 10:11:35

Abuelita Can I just say thank you? It's people like you who give the faintest glimpse of hope that we might not be completely fucked.

YoniMatopoeia Fri 17-May-13 11:31:41

I would also like to applaud you Abuelita

Toadinthehole Sun 19-May-13 03:26:52

Bumping, in the hope of a reply from Abuelita.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 19-May-13 09:51:02

It is interesting that people quote the PISA league tables when PISA themselves have said that the results where never meant to be put into league table form.

Nehru Sun 19-May-13 09:51:41


its as if the WHOLE uk economy is based on historical knowledge

Nehru Sun 19-May-13 09:52:51

i was once teaching in a school that agreed to do a Sunday Times survey on HIstory.

it was a TOTAL set up - the "hilariously' wrong answers were put on the multiple choice questionnaire and half the stuff wasnt even on the curriculum

ComposHat Sun 19-May-13 10:25:43

I am a pacifist and forgive me for saying this, but Gove has a face you'd never tire of slapping.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sun 19-May-13 10:28:54

Amen to that.

He doesn't understand the first thing about history as a subject.

Toadinthehole Sun 19-May-13 12:00:21


Given that they are a comparison in statistical form, it's not surprising they are nor misleading to do so.

I've read nothing on this thread that dispels the belief of my DW or various teaching colleagues here that the UK education system is in trouble.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 19-May-13 12:50:10


the organisation themselves have poined out that the information is not supposed to form a league table.

Given that they test one subject every 9 years and there is no datum for them to be based on, they are a flawed measure.

Yes the UK education system is in trouble, but putting forward bad statistical data and changing the system every couple of months without finding out if the changes are good is not helping.

Toadinthehole Thu 30-May-13 13:14:28

I agree with your last point. Alas, I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel. sad

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