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Minister's academic selection claims are outrageous

Published 09/11/2015

As CEO of AQE (Association of Quality Education), I am writing to express my concern at the minister's claim that AQE tests are, in effect, "dodgy dossiers".

This complaint allows me to address - once and for all - Mr O'Dowd's oft-quoted claim that "international evidence" exists which demonstrates that academic selection damages the education of young people. As it turns out, it is the minister's evidence that is dodgy.

In an extensive, peer-reviewed analysis of the minister's "international evidence", one of the world's most acclaimed statisticians, Professor Svend Kreiner, wrote: "Most people don't know that half of the students taking part in the research do not respond to any reading items at all. Despite that, PISA (the Programme for International Student Assessment) assigns reading scores to these children."

Half of the pupils in the minister's "international research" were given reading scores derived from tests they didn't even take. AQE could never be accused of behaving in this way.

I trust that Minister Farry will set the record straight by confirming that, in the last few months, British universities have moved unanimously to reject the methodology (set out in the Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes project) which informs Mr O'Dowd's outrageous claim.

Mr O'Dowd and Mr Farry should set the record straight without delay.


Joint CEO, AQE Ltd

Belfast Telegraph

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