Queensland school assessment cannot stay in class of its own
SO QUEENSLAND is finally going back to external examinations. This will almost bring it into line with the other states. It’s been a long battle for a group of dedicated educators and parents to effect this change.
Many of these dedicated people have been voicing their concerns over the past few years with myriad letters to the editor here in this paper, meetings with politicians, and even a doorknocking campaign.
In the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into assessment of Mathematics and Science, more than 83 per cent of all submissions by teachers and parents asked for a return to external examinations, as all other states use. Instead of accepting the recommendations, then education minister John-Paul Langbroek initiated a further review, this one by the Australian Council of Educational Research. In September, 2014, the reviewers recommended replacing Queensland’s unique Overall Position (OP) system with yet another method employing a highly experimental assessment system that has never been used elsewhere. The question I have to ask is why have Queensland’s educational bureaucrats and politicians been so fearful of external examinations until now?
When I taught in Queensland two years ago, it was the first time in my 42year teaching career that I experienced a nonexamination environment. I have taught high school mathematics in Boston, New York City, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, before teaching in Queensland. In all previous systems in which I taught, external examinations were standard practice. Even going back to my own high school days, I faced New York State Regents exams from Years 9 to 12. Nowhere else have I