Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Efficiency or effectiveness

The BBC reports that our government will be reviewing the efficiency of our exam system. I'm developing a rather serious aversion to efficiency, as it usually translates rather neatly into degradation.

It would be nice if the government would review the effectiveness of our exam system. Effectiveness is about reaching intended outcomes, not just about saving pennies. As the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, John Dunford, said in the article: "It is vitally important that the government not only conducts a cost-benefit analysis of the current exam system but evaluates its effect on teaching and learning." Perhaps (god forbid) we could also review the effects of all the links to targets, KPIs and league tables on the quality of learning, as they certainly compromise the validity of the whole system. I will again point to the efforts of colleagues in Denmark, who seem to have understood this a whole lot better.

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