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Teacher-based Selective Education

Selective education without tears
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(This is from a UK-based perspective, my apologies where required..)

For those societies which are ideologically meritocracies, such as the UK, selective, competitive, education is in principle a good thing. Those schools taking exclusively more able students are able to proceed at a greater rate, and in an atmosphere of greater respect for learning, than a comprehensive school (where students of all abilities are mixed). And all students can be taught in a manner best suiting their abilities.

Problems arrive in the selection process, which has always taken the form of an exam (usually around age 11). This is considered heartless, too great a pressure for children of that age, liable to make great omissions, etc. Also, crucially, better off parents are able to ensure their child has better preparation and so this perpetuates the class divides that the selection by merit aims to destroy.

So, I propose a model of selective education whereby primary schools are allocated a set number of places to local 'upper tier' schools (i.e. grammar schools). Pupils are chosen to fill those places by a committee of relevant teachers and staff, who can take account of the entire history of a pupil's learning and all relevant issues. Schools may wish to use exam/test results to aid their decisions, this is at their discretion. Prejudiced decisions are avoided by the use of a commitee, and perhaps by requiring a statement of reasoning justifying the selection/rejection of those on the shortlist, for independent auditing.

Problem solved.

radicalllama, Nov 03 2005



       Problem solved.
jellydoughnut, Nov 03 2005

       And yet hardly more subjective than university applications, job interviews, trial by jury, etc...?
radicalllama, Nov 03 2005

       Alternative: Unchain instructors from riding "the curve" and allow or even encourage culling classes by merit.   

       I know, I know ... the universe erupts, chaos floods the streets, sabers rattle against the doors of academia; but, in the end the law of "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" restores order.
reensure, Nov 03 2005

       I suspect that social engineering by a group of primary school teachers would be just about as bad as social engineering by the state. What's wrong with educating children on the basis of their probable ability to benefit from that education?
angel, Nov 03 2005

       radicalllama, I would like to offer my personal experience:   

       <apologies in advance for rambling story>
I moved around quite a bit when I was young, and at the time for selection for Grammar School (at about 13/14 years old), had been at the current School for about 1 year.

       The positions were set based on previous exam results and teacher references. I was not considered suitable.
However, in the last set of exams I had better grades than those that were selected. After a long hard fight by my parents, they finally agreed to let me go, but cynically warned that I wouldn't get very far.

       In my case, the exam results were the only way I could have done it, since some of the staff hardly knew me at all (i.e couldn't remember my name).   

       <end of rambling story (sorry!)>
Ling, Nov 03 2005


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