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February 18, 2012

RIP John Marks

John Marks by Simon TownsleyTHE TELEGRAPH TOLD ME about the passing of John Marks, father of Kevin Marks. I know and respect Kevin's voice from hours on the TWIT network and I feel his loss.

From the Telegraph: RIP John Marks. Born June 18 1934, died February 18 2012. The co-author of several books and a multitude of pamphlets, Marks made it his mission to highlight inadequacies in standards of literacy and numeracy in schools. His influence continues to be felt in Ireland whenever there's discussion of league tables for schools.

John Marks was a co-author of two studies that helped to ignite a national debate about standards and the importance of accountability in state education. These were Standards in English Schools, analyses of English secondary schools’ examination results in 1981 and 1983. In 1996 he wrote a newspaper article about how he and his colleagues (Caroline Cox and Maciej Pomian-Srzednicki) had tried to conduct their 1981 “census” of the examination results of all the schools in the country: “Many schools and local education authorities refused to send the information which legally they had to publish.

“Many others only co-operated when we promised them anonymity. Our most striking finding, from our sample of more than 2,000 schools, was that children’s chances of getting good results so vital to their future careers varied dramatically from school to school, even between schools of the same type in similar areas. ”

In 1992 the Department of Education published A-level and GCSE results for all state schools, and performance tables have since become a regular annual feature in the press.

I hope Kevin shares some of his father's work as part of his Readability favourites, a link I often check below.

Extracted from the obituary section of The Telegraph with photo by Simon Townsley.

John Marks -- "Two Kinds of Order" on how markets, science, language and liberal societies are emergent, 1985.

Bonus Link: Kevin Marks' readability favourites.


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