Raising the bar for all students may work for high fliers, but different students need different achievement goals if we are to raise the attainment of all students.
Attempting to lift performances by holding all students to the same expectation flies in the face of what we know about learning, according to ACER Chief Executive Prof Geoff Masters AO, writing in his regular column in Teacher.
‘Raising the expected performance standard in each year of school and holding all teachers and students accountable for achieving these higher standards may not the most effective way to improve levels of performance in Australian schools,’ says Prof Masters.
‘Raising the bar’ may be appropriate for some students, but is likely to be inappropriate for students who are already struggling, Prof Masters says. He proposes an alternative system in which every student’s current level of attainment is identified and used to provide learning opportunities at an appropriate level of challenge.
‘This is an ideal, but if we could better approximate it, we may see more students learning successfully and overall levels of performance in Australian schools improve,’ Prof Masters concludes. ■
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‘Is setting higher standards the answer’ by Geoff Masters is published in Teacher.