Education system conundrum

The education system conundrum

Schools most important measure is their exam results A-C measure and most people would not believe that a school with 30% 5 A-C could be better than one with 100%. value added is not generally understood by parents. I recall one laughing at the fact that a Grammar School was considered underachieving when it got a 95% pass rate.

Interestingly these high achieving schools regularly have poor value added figures and even these are distorted by the armies of personal tutors that support the sons and daughters of aspirational parents. If you can’t quantify the value of the tutors you can’t quote your value added.

But what of the system itself. If the students do slightly better than last year (not too much – that would be dumbing down) then it is in everyone’s interests . Teachers can say they have done their jobs, head teachers can point to the improvements, education ministers can congratulate themselves on their policies which are obviously working. It is not therefore surprising that this has been happening for the last 20 odd years. So our kids must be brilliant compared to those graduating in the 80s . Are they?

The exam boards have a vested interest in making the exams as easy as possible, as to make them challenging would result in schools opting for the one most likely to give the students the best grades – and who can blame them, that is what they are judged on. I am constantly asked when delivering sessions on school improvement what the easiest syllabuses are, not what is the most appropriate for our students to gain the most from. I have met a teaching assistant who claims to have 145 BTECs as that is the number that he has ‘helped’ the students through. Another school science results went from 18% to 100% in a year with teachers visiting the homes of truants to get them to jump through the hoops. BTECs are terrific options for some students but the abuse of the system is nothing short of a scandal.
Can we really justify exam boards competing with vested interests of easiness as our system? Surely it’s time for one central regulated body so that results reflect real achievement. My daughter has a grade A in French but can speak nothing other than the carefully prepared statements for her oral.

Does this system prepare our students with the skills needed for the future?

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2 Comments

  1. No complaints on this end, spilmy a good piece.

  2. You’ve really helped me understand the iusses. Thanks.

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