I’m starting to think we’re obsessed with measuring.
We measure what’s good for us; we measure what’s bad for us. We measure how many calories are in the foot-long we’re about to devour and we measure our expanding waistlines. We’re about to measure the happiness of the nation. Shouldn’t be too hard then…
Worst of all we measure our kids.
Not against the wall or the frame of the door, I’m talking education. I’m talking the relentless testing that measures how like a child our children are, set against the kind of children we think they should be. Turns out it’s contagious; we did some measuring of our own. How many hours of homework do you think kids in this country are set every school year?
It’s impossible to ever fully know the answer, but we’ve had a go at working it out based on the number of school age pupils in the country against government homework guidelines – and we reckon its about a billion.
Timely then, that Girl’s School Association head Gillian Low has raised her head above the parapet and struck a blow for reason. Ms Low, speaking at her organisation’s annual conference in Manchester, questioned the pressure modern society puts on young people, saying much of what they do ‘ticks a box towards future study and career.’
She warned against underestimating the psychological effect modern life has on our youth, and said the education system is playing it’s part too – eluding to relentless testing, the introduction of the A* at A level and the devaluing of the A grade in general.
In a beautiful turn of phrase Ms Low said ‘It seems to me that there will soon be no time for young people to ‘stand and stare’. Fantastic.
But tragic, because we all know it’s true. We should be concerned about the amount of homework our kids are set, the amount of hours they spend in school and the rigours of the testing system
Kids today find themselves in perpetual catch 22 – when they do well the goalposts are moved and the bar by which achievement is measured, is raised. Every year we have to put up with the knee-jerk press crowing about how easy exams are, then measures are put in place to change how we measure achievement and kids are re-measured against the new measures.
Even as I’m writing this a new set of measures are being announced – this time the ‘readiness to progress’ test at the age of five and eleven.
What’s all the measuring for? To measure how well they are progressing towards the End Goal. Call it a job, call it university, call it being a good citizen – the End Goal is anything other than a being a drain on the state. Ironic then, that figures released today showed that over 200,000 students won’t get the University place they want this year. Everything they’ve worked for, been measured for, comes to the grand sum of not-a-lot.
Have a read of the Telegraph article and consider this: do we expect too much too early from our children? Do you think the education system places too much pressure on our children, narrowing their horizons? Are you concerned about the amount of homework your kids are being set?
Share your thoughts with us here at Superprof.
Oh, and when you get the chance – let yours stand and stare.