We seem to have lost the sight of what education is all about by the great amount of tests which children pass during their study. We have too many of them. In other words, children are over-tested. Why do we have such problem? Just because head teachers are afraid that if children don’t pass such a number of tests, they will not be sufficiently practiced in the act of passing exams and will fail when the big tests arrive. In other words, the point of school has become the sitting and passing of exams. This is crazy. Endless testing is a terrible betrayal of a child’s imagination and creativity. It is an unwelcome legacy if the Victorian schoolroom, where children learnt by rote. It was obvious that exams said nothing about the child’s innate intelligence or even the breadth of his / her knowledge. Even as a test of memory, exams were irrelevant. Who needs to remember things when we can click on a mouse and retrieve more information than 1000 Einsteins could store in their brains? Good teachers knew that most exams were a waste of time.
Then there are league tables. These can be useful for parents who want the best education for their children. Who gains from all this? The politicians, who use the statistics to prove that things are improving, and some schools work the system for their advantage: the more pupils show their good results, the more the income of the school. Some teachers with their performance-related pay may also gain. But the biggest winners are in the cramming industry. The teachers cheat by helping children answer their papers. Who loses from all this? The schools who do not cheat and who have to face much higher bills in examination fees. The teachers who become administrators of an educational process instead of teaching. But the biggest losers are the children.