An uncertain and approximate business? Why teachers should love testing

Session description

Jeremy Harmer

Session details:

Jeremy Harmer (New School, New York)
Many teachers have at best an equivocal attitude to testing and at worst outright hostility to the whole concept. Yet we (or rather they) do it all the time. This talk will discuss downsides and upsides of high and low stakes assessment, and will offer a testing vision for both lovers and haters.


I cannot hear this one very well...

I could hear well. Maybe you have to update a computer plug-in such as shockwave flash.

Although if you could hear other videos maybe this isn`t problem..odd you only have problems with one presentation..Hope you solve the issue cause it is a great presentation, worth listening to. 

As above, impossible to follow the speaker;

the video does not open :(


had no problems,,,,


Sound problems.

We have updated the recording, hopefully you'll not be experiencing any more problems with it. Thank you for your patience!

Best wishes

Monika / IATEFL Online Team

Hanaa Khamis's picture

that was a very inspiring and thought-provoking speech. Really enjoyed it!


It is a great chance to attend such a conference thanks a lot . I do really hope to repeat such an occasion regularly. To have a full benefit and to develop our skills to match the others.

Maria Araxi Sachpazian's picture

The video now works fine and the sound is OK as well. Great content delivered a bit too fast. Jeremy Harmer is far too ''rich'' to be contained within a 30minute slot.



·3rd attempt, now working, thanks!

Great! Thank you :)

Best wishes

Monika / IATEFL Online Team

As usual, Jeremy`s presentation was OUTSTANDING! He always points things out very clearly giving reasonable arguments. 

Harmer once again shambles around shouting and sputtering at people, telling them what to do ("LEARN about testing") without giving any indication that he himself has a proper grounding in the field. He sets up an absurd straw man argument against testing and then knocks it down with "arguments" which are almost offensively simplistic. NOTHING substantial was offered by Harmer. There was no appreciation whatsoever for the subtlties of current issues in testing, just the usual tired platitudes and over-blown rhetoric. 



I must admit it's rather thrilling to have been name called in Jeremy's session on testing with even my now out-of-date FB profile image projected onto the screen and out into the world, and yet being dismissed along with my colleague Luke Meddings with an "ermm" and a "but" followed by a pause left me feeling a bit, well, dismissed.  Had Jerermy not taken my words out of context and had he not then gone off on a ramble, I would have just laughed this off. Luke and I have both had quite a bit more to say on the issues swirling around testing than the slogans Jeremy shared, but that hardly matters either. What matters is that Jeremy really didn't speak to the issues at all, confused matters with an example about tuba playing, and to confound things further, kept making reference to the Pearson Signature Event. This is the event  at which the speakers used a combination of eduspeak and flash to highlight Pearson's latest products in an attempt to keep us from looking too deeply.  There's a whole lot more involved than teachers needing to "learn about testing" I'm afraid. If you'd like a solid background on what this might be, have a look at the work Phillip Kerr has been doing on his Adaptive Learning Blog <> and read the work of Stephen Krashen, Diane Ravitch and Susan Ohanian among others.  These are people who know the issues, present solid well-researched arguments, and are willing to dig deep into the perilious world of standardized testing, mismeasurement, and big data. If after doing some of that reading you come away still thinking that all's right in the world of testing, then fine, but please don't base your conclusions on this presentation.  While I'm normally quite a fan of Jeremy's work, this talk was mostly bluster and fluff.