The Transient and the Timeless: Surviving a lifetime of policy and practice in assessment

Richard Kimbell
2010, Vol. 15, No. 3,


A personal retrospective
In1959 I half-passed my 11+ and went to a technical school in Kent. In 1964 I took O levels and in 1966, A levels in metalwork and technical drawing. These examinations were unimaginatively constructed –
amounting to tests of theoretical knowledge (theory paper) and practical skills (the practical). I was good at them.
During and after the war, my teachers had been responsible for setting up production lines in the school – manufacturing parts for the ships being maintained in Chatham dockyard. They knew about precision, we had lots of practice and we ended up pretty capable draughtsmen/craftsmen (it was of course a boys school).
I went to Goldsmiths to train as a handicraft teacher, and I was seriously shaken up to discover designing. I was used to being given engineering drawings of tool clamps and drilling jigs that I just had to make. Designing things for myself was a revelation. I did not at first enjoy it. I wanted just to revel in my skills that were better than the norm in the first year group because of the experience and
facilities to which I had been used at school.

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