Doing what works in education

All the teacher unions ever do is oppose anything that they haven’t dreamed up for our ‘world class‘ education system…a system that ironically fails to deliver for 205 of students.

Instead of listening to the carping whingers we should be doing what works in education:

Timothy Taylor of the Conversable Economist blog has a fascinating post on what makes for a good education system?here. It says that instead of pondering the theory of how it should work there has been some research into what does work. The end result provides three rules that should be followed. These are:

1. Exit exams. Perhaps the best-documented factor is that students perform at higher levels in countries (and in regions within countries) with externally administered, curriculum-based exams at the completion of secondary schooling that carry significant consequences for students of all ability levels.
2. Private-school competition. Countries vary widely in the extent to which they make use of the private sector to provide public education. ? Rigorous studies confirm that students in countries that for historical reasons have a larger share of students in private schools perform at higher levels on international assessments while spending less on primary and secondary education. Such evidence suggests that competition can spur school productivity.
3. High-ability teachers. Much attention has recently been devoted to the fact that several of the highest-performing countries internationally draw their teachers disproportionately from the top third of all students completing college degrees.

Note that “externally administered” part of the exams. This means that we should not have internal marking of coursework. Instead, we need ?teachers from outside ?the school who don’t have a vested interest in proving success. Note also that rigorous exams deliberately designed to sort the sheep from the goats are required, not all-must-have-prizes and grade inflation. So that’s one part of what we’re told by our own native education establishment disproven then.

We also find that more private education raises standards generally. This shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise as market competition does tend to raise quality. But that’s a large part of the progressive education policy binned, that desire to eradicate private schools from the system.

And the third is really just arguing that we should try and get the bright people doing the teaching. This is not something we do here in the UK. You can become a teacher with?just grade C?at GCSE in English and maths ? this being about the level where trying to both walk and chew gum at the same time is a serious intellectual challenge. Or as PJ O’Rourke once pointed out (and my own early experience confirmed) anyone who has ever dated an Education major knows what the problem in teaching is: it’s not an occupation attracting the clever.

David Shearer loves Finland so much…let’s see him endorse the entry criteria for teachers…a master degree at minimum. Imagine the screaming from the teacher’s unions then.