The other day, after realising that I was in book drought mode having just finished Belle de Jour's first book I decided to read something I hadn't for a long time and pulled Freakonomics off the shelf. One of the chapters of this book is about an analysis of standardised testing scores in school to spot patterns that might indicate that teachers are cheating.
The argument is certainly an elegant one. If you have a system where "bad" schools are defined as those that score lowly in tests; and those that score lowly in tests must therefore have "bad" teachers it stands to reason that some teachers might try to help their pupils out in order to keep average scores up.
Now, I have no idea whether standard testing in UK schools is carried out in the same manner as the US .i.e. pencil marks on an answer sheet which are fed into a machine. However, it did get me thinking about whether anyone had ever thought to analyse the test scores in UK schools to see if there were patterns that might indicate cheating by staff rather than the kids.
Of course, some might say such thoughts are just wrong. To accuse teachers of possibly cheating in order to stop themselves getting fired or a school being taken over would no doubt send the Unions wild. However, now that we the Soviet-esque Ten Year Plan from Ed Balls which includes yet more taking over of failing schools, perhaps now is the time to start to look at these test results?