Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

NAPLAN-like tests for pollies please

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-09-15

If the pollies to left and right are so keen on academic standards and publishing the results of formal testing, including the notion that it provides choice, then why don’t all the pollies submit to similar tests, across all the subjects relevant to parliaments, of the multichoice sections of year 12 subjects, and year 12 literacy test?

Why not make sitting such a test compulsory for all those standing for parliament, with the AEC supervising, and publishing the results on their website next to each candidate in the list of those running in each seat?

That would provide electors with some really useful information about the abilities of the candidate to grapple with a range of issues.

Law, economics, maths (at least veggie calculus), each of the major sciences are all valid tests, as well as basic numeracy and literacy.

Of course, there’d be fun for press and public alike looking at the relative averages on a party-by-party basis.

I’m not saying we should demand a pass in all subjects before someone has the right to stand for parliament, but it isn’t unreasonable in a democracy to know just how dumb or smart, how ignorant or informed, the candidates are.

Personally, I reckon the spreads per party on a subject by subject basis would be very telling, and I’d expect different parties to get different balances (or imbalances) across Snow’s two cultures.

Of course, the only pollies who like the idea of things like NAPLAN, but not the idea of publishing the scores of politicians, are those that want the public as dumb and ignorant as they are.


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