In the Herald today:
‘MIDDLE-CLASS pupils are paying the price for sweeping school reforms, a leading educationalist has warned, as Scotland’s performance in maths and science hit a record low in international rankings.Lindsay Paterson, professor of education policy at Edinburgh University, said the gap in reading level between rich and poor children has narrowed over the last decade partly because the performance of the better-off is falling.’
After 30 years in schools, teacher education and in university research, I can tell you that falling Pisa results in reading for middle-class children cannot be simply attributed to SNP education reforms such as the Curriculum for Excellence. The notion is mince. Even if we trust the Pisa scores, multiple factors, most of them unknown to Paterson and me, without doing proper research, will be responsible. Might increased social media use by groups able to afford it, be a more fruitful research avenue? Oh, you can’t blame the SNP for that?
Prof Paterson is a statistician with a background in agricultural and medical research using statistical methods. Not surprisingly he likes the Pisa numbers because they reduce the vast complexity of education systems to a handful of numbers that you can then pretend reveal something. The Pisa results are widely rejected and scorned by real educationists. In 2014, the director of the OECD called for the 2019 tests to be halted because of the damage they were causing:
Just search for Pisa tests rejected useless flawed or whatever. No credible academics believe in them in the way Paterson, BBC Scotland, the Herald and the opposition parties do. Wonder why?
As for Paterson’s agenda, search for his name curriculum for excellence and words like betrayal. Hey presto!
Footnote: At the end of 2013, as editor of a research journal, Paterson suggested that my research revealing BBC bias could be published, but only after the independence referendum!