[Maths-Education] Cambridge Mathematics Education Colloquia

Tim Rowland tr202@cus.cam.ac.uk
Tue, 18 Sep 2001 15:46:53 +0100 (BST)

John Monaghan wrote:

> OK, I can go along with that. The problem that I see with the exam culture
> in education today is that exams permeate and control almost every aspect
> of classroom life. This breed of exam-based textbooks offers exam training
> in place of challenging mathematical activities. 

Probably this is precisely the aim of having too many exams, to keep
control (in the hands of those applying the exams). Systems "little"
assessed can become too diverse to control.

Brazil's school system has in recent years began to go under a great
deal of change. My analysis is that the main objective is to remove
control from inside the classrooms and schools. That is being done with
the introduction of National Curricular Guidelines, High School exams
(every of the three years) and other initiatives. Reminds me very much
of the British situation, although external ttesting is still very much
seen as ugly in Brazil (*any* external testing). All the effort is being
put on making those things (guidelines, external testing) to have real
world consequences (university entrance, for instance), but the
government's lipservice is that it is simply offering a reliable
framework and ways to assess progress. I suppose my British colleagues
would not buy that.

Well I have a question. Why didn't British educationalists (teachers and
researchers and developers) resist the National Curriculum, with its
associated testing system, and remained with the previous, locally
based, assessment system?

All the best

Dept. of Mathematics
UNESP/Rio Claro