There is a great deal of evidence that boys develop differently to girls. There is a great deal of evidence that for both sexes there is a massive variation in the abilities of children at different ages. There is similar burgeoning evidence that children learn in different ways. On top of all that all children have different influences from the nurture that they receive, all of which will have an influence on their learning.
So why do politicians continue to insist that one curriculum is better than the next and that we must measure continuously to assure success. With so much variety among the young a strict curriculum will limit education for everyone and measurement will ignore everything but the mean.
The critical path through the education that is available for children between the ages of four and eighteen is different for every child. The only assessments of the child during that process should be undertaken at a school level, to be used as a part of the feedback loop for the child and their parents.
To be given the opportunity to undertake a worthwhile role in society when their state education is over, we do need a series of standardized tests. These have to be almost entirely objective. The world is a competitive place.
Schools should be measured on their output, not the process involved.
We put way, way too many restraints on our teachers. We overburden them with assessment and testing. We've spend years attempting to get as much 'learning' for our tax penny as we can and we have forgotten that educating is not a formulaic process that can be applied to anyone and expect the same result. We do not value the efforts of those involved in the most important part of children's development.
Education of our children is not training. Education of our children should only be about the development of them as individuals. It should be about building them a solid foundation that will best place them to make the most of the life of learning ahead of them and allow them to take up a meaningful role within their community and our society.
'When am I ever going to use quadratic equations in a job' is as non sensical as would be the question, ' When will I ever use a star jump playing hockey'. The subjects 'taught' at school should be chosen not for their perceived usefulness but only as those most likely to expand the capacity to think, communicate and enquire.
Education has to be about the child and nothing to do with politics.