Italy in foreground of anti-testing fight today.
School students and teachers in Italy are today in the forefront of the movement against testing which is sweeping across the world. The so-called Invalsi tests are being taken in schools across all levels at the present time, and according to surveys one in four high school students is refusing to take them. Moreover there are expected to be protests at many schools today.
Students are critical of the standardised tests because they take no account of cultural and geographical differences and are geared to the ‘world of work’, focusing on so-called problem solving rather than critical thinking, and enabling students to be able to ‘pull the lever or press the button’ at the right moment, rather than questioning the world in which they live. As well as Mathematics and Italian, the tests also claim to test character.
Thanks to the inaptly named and much contested ‘good school’ reform measures of the Renzi government, the tests are now being used to evaluate and categorise both schools and teachers. This reform is the subject of ongoing strikes by teaching unions, with one union COBAS, organising its strikes to co-incide with the tests. Some other teachers are going to school but refusing to administer the tests. Teachers are opposed both to standardised testing, to the casualisation of teaching and to the increasing privatisation of education in Italy. A quick search on Pearson‘s website for instance indicates that they are profiting from the tests through the selling of practice tests, textbooks and software.
Today there will be a demonstration against the tests and the ‘good school’ reforms outside the education ministry in Rome.
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