Testing in Denmark

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					Testing in Denmark
David Fielker reports on a recent editorial from Matematik, the journal of the
Danish Association of Teachers of Mathematics. ATM has links with many
associations across the world and the editors hope, from time to time, to include
appropriate international comment.
This editorial from the December issue         accounts improved. We want the tests to          aims. The same policy of confidentiality
of Matematik indicates something of            be developed further so that in several          prevents teachers from passing on test
what is happening in Denmark, where            areas they better correspond to what one         results to other teachers who take over
the government have for several years          wishes from a pedagogical test.                  their pupils, which is a problem in a
being trying to copy what ours have been            The Danish Association of Teachers          school where many pupils change mathe-
doing in education. However, so far their      of Mathematics experienced this year a           matics teachers immediately after the
efforts have been to some extent tamed         great success in holding a theme day in          tests are taken in third and sixth grades.
by the Danish ATM, who have had the            September concerning Shared Aims II 1            Similarly it is a problem for those serious
opportunity for input, particularly about      and the debate about the national tests,         teachers who compile pupil plans with
the curriculum, but to a lesser degree with    with competent and knowledgeable                 the pupils, that they may not mention
respect to national tests. For instance,       introductory speakers. The day was open          the test results in those plans.2
there used to be an oral component of          to a number of members other than                     The problem of teaching to the test is
the school-leaving tests which the             those who attend the general committee           the greatest unsolved problem, inasmuch
government ended a couple of years ago         meeting. All participants formulated in          as every piece of research shows that tests,
despite protest. Now, thanks to their ATM,     their groups a series of statements giving       to a greater extent than the curriculum,
the government has obviously recognised        advantages and disadvantages of the tests.       define the goals of teaching. There are
the shortcomings of their recently             The participants were well informed about        many complex problems surrounding the
proposed tests for earlier years.              them in detail. There was therefore wide-        national tests in mathematics, and the
    Would that we could have similar           spread agreement that in their present           members who took part in the associa-
influence on government decisions about        form the tests were not usable by either         tion’s theme day can certainly mention
mathematics education.                         teachers or pupils.                              many more than are presented here.
                            David Fielker           There are good intentions behind the             The situation with the postponement
                                               tests, for example in furthering commu-          is a clear example of how the school
     
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: [...] it is a problem for those serious teachers who compile pupil plans with the pupils, that they may not mention the test results in those plans.2 The problem of teaching to the test is the greatest unsolved problem, inasmuch as every piece of research shows that tests, to a greater extent than the curriculum, define the goals of teaching. The situation with the postponement is a clear example of how the school system has been exposed to an illthought-out and unprepared political initiative which contains so many problems and unfortunate consequences that, in addition to frustrating teachers and pupils, creates unease and anger in the schools over the different announcements and the absence of quality.
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