Pathways, limits and lessons of the Stop the SIMCE Campaign in Chile
It has been almost 30 years since the first application in Chile of the SIMCE (the Education Quality Measurement System), one of the oldest standardized tests in Latin America. Its validity has been based on a complex interaction of interests that have strengthened it to become the main regulator of the Chilean education system (Campos et al, 2014). We can trace its origins to the dictatorship, and its continued development to democratically elected governments, both those on the centre-left and on the right (OPECH, 2005).
This political and technical consensus on the need for and appropriateness of a standardized test has been completely disassociated from the reality of schools. We can summarize the main consequences of the tests on school life as: student and teacher stress, the pressure to achieve better results, the selection of and discrimination against students who do not achieve high results and the concentration of teaching on Spanish and Mathematics. On the other hand, the observable effects on the education system as a whole have included: increased privatization of services in order to increase results, a decrease in hours spent on or the complete elimination of some subjects in favour of dedicating more time to those subjects that are measured, the hegemony of the SIMCE over the education research agenda and disproportionate spending on the development, application and improvement of the tool (Docencia, 2009; Inzunza, 2014).
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