[Maths-Education] The resource for the course

Tim Rowland tr202@cus.cam.ac.uk
Wed, 19 Sep 2001 17:49:57 +0100 (BST)

Romulo Lins asks:

"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?"

The only glorious exception to compliance was the national boycott of 14+
SATS (tests) by teachers of English circa 1993. They have solidarity (see
later) in a single professional association. For mathematics, there are
several, though two mainly serve the interests of school teachers.

I know of two local primary schools which refused for 2 years to submit to
external marking of 11+ SATS, withheld the results, and could not be
ranked in league tables. In the third year, they were threatened with
reduced funding unless they conformed. Both serve areas of social
deprivation. Neither could afford, literally, to hold out.

At the recent meeting of the British Educational Research Association, Ian
Stronach gave  a paper in which he suggested that 'creative' responses to
the recent national research audit had been stifle by fear (and the
certainty) of reduced funding. Again, there is no solidarity, no
collective will to challenge the audit mentality.

I suppose we have Margaret Thatcher to thank for the collapse of
collective action/resistance in this and many other areas of life in
Britain, and England in particular. In addition, our views about the
complexity of mathematical knowledge, assessment, and all the rest, are
not widely shared or understood.


Dr Tim Rowland
Faculty of Education
University of Cambridge
Cambridge CB2 2PH

Phone [44] [0]1223 507298
Fax [44] [0]1223 300982
email tr202@cam.ac.uk

British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics