Teaching to the test is the norm in the Netherlands, writes Joep of Dancing Crocodile. Students conclude secondary education by taking the national exam. If the don’t pass it, they retake it the next year. He’s all for it.
The results for the exam are proof of the student’s level per subject, regardless the school where he has studied. The results of all students per school give relevant information about the school’s efficacy. And I have to accept that the results of my students at the national exam for my subject gauge the quality of my teaching.
It goes without saying that school has to offer more than just a highway towards an exam. The exam result is only one of many features that make a good school. But our national exam definitely makes the teacher accountable for intellectual attainment measured with a yardstick that is not homespun.
I do not trust teachers, nor schools, for that matter, to devise their own goals and have them decide which level is sufficient. I would not entrust myself with such responsibility.
I have to deliver the goods and services that society needs. School is not a playground in which we are given leeway to implement our best intentions for the benefit of other people’s children. Education at school is an essential part of the real world.
Joep teaches art and design in an English immersion school. Note that English is his third language after Low Saxon and Dutch. And he does not, as he fears, write “Dunglish.”