I couldn’t let the year end without some commentary on the Higher School Certificate (HSC). In addition to post-HSC coverage in the media, it was the talking sign outside of a large high school that strengthened my resolve that we need transformation not improvement. The sign read ‘celebrating our HSC results’. While it appears fairly innocuous, the focus is misplaced. The whole reason for schools existing is not results, but the growth of the individual child.
All of this follows on from the point I made recently regarding PISA and why we continue to get it so wrong. There are approximately 75.000 students who sit the NSW HSC. What happens at the end is a reduction of learning to a simple rank that is often misunderstood as a mark. Sadly, the high achieving high schools then become the gold standard. The problem is as one letter writer pointed out in the SMH last week, the list of schools, ‘makes people feel inadequate…it’s an unfair competition. It is a school [James Ruse High] that if it was a sport, would be disqualified because it’s on academic steroids.’
As the year comes to a close, my desire is that good theory, practice and evidence finally silences the detractors. We need to accept that the HSC needs to be abolished and a whole new curriculum framework is needed in today’s world. I actually don’t believe this is too difficult given we have had a decade of voices like Sir Ken Robinson et al. and numerous practitioners who have illustrated how the current factory model of schooling is doing more harm than good to the creative and curious minds of young people.
And that’s where I’ll be focussing my energies at the beginning of a new decade. And on that final note for 2019, I wish you a Merry Christmas and thank those who have taken the time to read, comment and subscribe to the blog. Your feedback continues to challenge and shape my ideas and professional learning.
Until the New Year, safe travels.