The Tyranny of Testing?

Summer Turner

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending an Intelligence Squared education debate. The motion was: ‘LET’S END THE TYRANNY OF THE TEST. RELENTLESS SCHOOL TESTING DEMEANS EDUCATION’. It was a battle between Tristram Hunt and Tony Little in favour of the motion and Daisy Christodoulu and Toby Young against the motion, all chaired by the ever amusing Anthony Seldon.

Going into the room, I had no doubt in my mind that the vote would be in favour of the motion – the language alone guided the audience as to the way they should vote. Not many feel comfortable voting for ‘tyranny’ or ‘relentless’ demeaning. Yet the panel in many respects agreed about the value of assessment and I wonder whether the question we should really be asking in more detail is about the type of tests we do and for what purpose.

In a rare twist, Tristram Hunt mentioned the power of…

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