Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





CEO chief pans "retrograde" national Year 12 exam

Brisbane Catholic Education executive director David Hutton has agreed with teacher unions and the Queensland Education Minister that a Federal Government proposal for a national external exam for school-leavers is unnecessary and out of date.

The Courier-Mail reports that Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson has said he will explore the idea of a national exam to provide common assessment across states. Dr Nelson said yesterday the international university entrance standard, offered by an increasing number of Australian schools, would be part of a federal study to be commissioned.

Mr Hutton said a standardised Year 12 exam makes no sense if there is no standardised national curriculum. He said reverting to an exam-only model would be regarded as a retrograde step by both students and teachers.

In a statement published yesterday on the CEO website, he said the states have primary responsibility for schooling including curriculum design and assessment.

"The states have resisted a national curriculum over a long period of time," he said. "There would need to be a debate as to the value of developing one standardised model across Australia and what model would be adopted."

Mr Hutton said that assessment of students' learning requires much more than a single exam at any level or in any subject.

"Students today are assessed on a variety of ways which allow them to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Pen and paper tests have a place, but must be accompanied by other forms of assessment conducted over time eg assignments, projects, oral presentations, team work, multimedia tasks and experimentation."

"Queensland has had a highly regarded model of school-based assessment for over thirty years. Reverting to an exam only model would be regarded as a retrograde step by both students and teachers," said Mr Hutton.

The Queensland Teachers Union threatened to ban such a test if the Government proceeds. State Education Minister Anna Bligh said yesterday Queensland was internationally recognised as having "one of the best systems in the world". Queensland Association of Independent Schools executive director John Roulston said the state had "moved on" from the days of external exams. Queensland Council of Parents and Citizens Associations president Wanda Lambert said it would be "just another stress".

State gives exam plan poor marks (The Courier Mail 8/2/05)
Statement In Relation To Year 12 National Exams (Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Brisbane, 7/2/05)

Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Brisbane

8 Feb 2005