‘School leader’ denies he gave A pass to golf partner’s boy!

The Herald clearly has a hotline to teacher’s union reps, to ‘parent groups’ with tiny membership and to ‘school leaders who do not want to be named.’ They headline today with another piece of shoddy journalism making a story out of almost no evidence:

Schools face “chaos” after the summer holidays due to the Scottish Qualifications Authority’s decision to introduce an extended results deadline, according to criticisms that are fuelling demands for an overhaul of alternative assessment. New guidance says a “limited opportunity” to provide provisional grades by September 3 is being created to ensure “a degree of equity” for those “unduly disadvantaged” by disruption to education during the pandemic.

What seems to have triggered the latest outburst is the SQA’s offer of an extension to the deadline for teachers to submit assessment grades:

September 3rd! NFW! I’ll just be back from a month in Portugal!

Once more, some teacher union reps and their handful of assistant whingers make it clear that we are not in this together. The Herald doesn’t even tell us which union. Is it that wee one based in England? Not the EIS?

Who is the ‘one school leader’ saying the extension will cause chaos? Why is there only one from hundreds saying this?

His solution? This:

‘Inferred attainment?’ No need for evidence? Does he not see the enormous risks in such an unscientific, subjective approach open to the effects of pressure from parents and students who know the teacher, who live near the teacher, who play golf with the teacher, who are related to the teacher, who might threaten the teacher?

Just let the teacher make up the grade based on what they think the pupil might be capable of? A year later, imagine the heap of unreliable, biased data uncovered by researchers using objective measures?

They’ve spent the last year trying to keep schools closed despite the evidence of harm to children and pleading to jump the vaccination queue despite the evidence they’re less at risk than many other professions.

The SQA provides guidance written by other teachers and they don’t like it. When they complain about the timescale, they get an extension and that interferes with their holidays. The SQA cannot win because the teacher’s unions will not put their shoulders to the wheel like the rest of the workforce has, in difficult times.

11 thoughts on “‘School leader’ denies he gave A pass to golf partner’s boy!

  1. Tbh, the possible harmful effects of the SQA’s pragmatism are of little significance, given Scotland’s education system is currently being trashed by the inept inclusion of WOKE theory and practice into the curricula. WOKE theory was designed to resist racism and neo-liberalism, not support them by denying the social significance of biology.

    Enacting Critical Citizenship: An Intersectional
    Approach to Global Citizenship Education
    https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4698/10/4/91/pdf

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Do ‘they’ (whoever they are) offer a solution? I mean apart from a few essays, a shrug and “anybody’s guess really. Probably an A”.

    Surely that gives the teacher FAR too much responsibility, which is not good. It’ll cause *someone* additional stress for at least 2 reasons:

    1) For conscientious, fair-minded teachers, there’s the terrible stress that their decisions may affect the long-term prospects of their students. There’s no objective proof they can refer to. And they’ll not be able to justify their decisions if these are challenged – not even to themselves.

    2) For those saddled with a martinet or someone who cannot separate their dislike for a person to the extent it clouds their judgement – and, sadly, there are still many of those – it will also be incredibly stressful. There’s no objective proof they can refer to. So they won’t be able to appeal.

    But, of course, *you* already know that and *they* don’t want to…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. John, the bottom line is that this is all a bit of a mess. There has been an attempt to pretend that something kind of like continuous assessment is being shovelled into a system which depends on a big set-piece exam. It’s no suprise that these kind of comments are being made for trying to do two contradictory things at the same time is sure to throw up contradictions and inconsistencies.
    I am a big fan of continuous assessment, as long as the pupil is kept with his/her nose to the grindstone throughout the year, and it’s not an excuse for pupils to turn in one big piece of work at the end of the year (which will probably advantage those in better off areas who will no doubt run courses on how to do this).
    There is, as you know, two types of assessment – formative, which basically tells the student how they are doing but doesnt count toward the final mark; and summative, which does count toward the final mark. The problem that I see is that most teaching staff have loads of experience of the latter but not much of the former. Pupils also have what I used to describe as a “slot machine mentality” – I put in some effort where’s my mark (I put £1 in that machine where is my bar of chocolate). Most staff (all?) will be used to the trauma inducing “Highers”, not to say “finals” (when at Uni). The idea that you work the whole academic year is utterly foreign (I remember one pupil being interviewed about a proposal to use prelims last year as the basis for final marks, moaning that if she had known this then she would have tried and not reserved her effort to later in the year).
    I would, in the longer term, introduce a system of continuous assessment for national exams. The question is how this work would be assessed. You and I are both familiar with the “external examiner”. One possible system would be for schools to be linked up to assess each other’s work – but then that could easily lapse into a mutual back scratching exercise (or war, depending on how they get on). Perhaps an “external examiner” group who would be paid by SQA (they pay battalions of markers for the current final exam regime) and would be linked up with a specific school(s) to validate (or not) internal assessments, both formative and summative.
    I don’t see any of this as rocket science – what it takes is some work to change public perceptions and to some extent educational culture (the fundamental problem with Curriculum for Excellence is that this was never done – how many teachers thought they were teaching to a highly defined curriculum to produce educated idiots?) and some organization to make it work.
    Any thoughts from a man who used to teach teachers (one of my late mother’s observations – also a teacher – was that those who can do, but those who can’t teach, and those who can’t teach teach teachers. You wont have heard that one for a few days!)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Any published statement such as the one under examination made by the MSM should be referenced as should the reference. This should not normally present a problem if the statement is true in the first instance. Without verification the statement is tittle tattle.
    OK so I spent too much time with logic gates etc.
    P.S.
    Dude John Robertson is meticulous with references.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I appreciate I’m an unknown nobody on t’internet, but I do know a bit about informing the practice of educational practice. Which can’t hope to be effective if it divorces itself from the cognitive and developmental sciences. So rejecting biological sex as a component of human wholeness, is the last thing we want the Scottish government to support. That’s if we want to retain the potential for open democracy.

    Implications for educational practice of the science of learning and development
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10888691.2018.1537791

    Like

  6. No way should their proposal to leave the decision to the teacher relying on a ‘balanced of demonstrated and inferred attainment’. That would just be silly, and open to favouritism or the opposite, it couldn’t possibly be objective, teachers are human after all. 😉 Also what about kids with learning disabilities, and/or autism, who learn differently and have specific needs and outcomes.

    The school system is old fashioned, does it cater for all needs, is it equal, is it fit for purpose, is it preparing kids for the challenges ahead, which could be massive in terms of climate change, food (in)security, and the meaning of and usefulness of money etc?
    What do kids need, to arm them with the tools to negotiate a world that may be very different in their adulthood, to what we see now?
    The media are on a war footing against Scotland that is obvious, they have stepped up their game since the election was won by the SNP and the Greens. Must be a bit worried or something.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I hope folks appreciate my referring to my professional training is only meant to pin the knowledge I’m sharing, to a culturally authoritative source. So when I was training to join the RTPI, I was not only encouraged to understand the education system is old fashioned, but that it is deeply colonised by the practices of patriarchal capitalism. Fortunately I was also instructed in how to modernise it, in order to overcome these historically rooted barriers to social justice. So I understand it is imperative we don’t reject the science concerning our theory of Mind. Which has identified sex and age dependent differences in the development of theory of Mind.

    Educating the Developing Mind: Towards an Overarching Paradigm
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10648-011-9178-3

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  8. Not so incidentally, our theory of Mind underpins our ability to comprehend and predict the actions of others, so is pretty much essential to self-determination. So why might the science of the Mind be under attack in Scotland? Apart from Scots law being somewhat vulnerable to ideological attack, due to to its lack of legal autonomy and connection to international law.

    From self to social cognition: Theory of Mind mechanisms and their relation to Executive Functioning
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010027715000256

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