Here’s my take on the latest news about GCSEs in Maths as featured on the BBC website today (22/5/12)…
Too many schools are entering pupils for maths GCSE early, says Ofsted in a major report that is critical of the way the subject is taught and tested.
I agree that students should not be encouraged to sit Maths (or any other subject) early. School should be focused more on learning and less on passing.
This is the problem with an examination system that is driven from the top down. Start with grades and how to achieve them and think about the teaching and content later.
Because of the structure of the system schools are keen for students to take exams early to relieve the pressure on other subjects. Maths is a solid candidate for early entry as it is relatively easy to assess how an individual will perform. Schools can then put these ‘pass’ statistics on the ledger. Unfortunately, this production line method means that many students who are gifted at maths (and therefore ideal candidates to sit early) are not stretched and encouraged to develop their mathematical acumen.
If the system wasn’t so entirely grade driven, teachers would be able to teach Maths with a view to making pupils able mathematicians. If there wasn’t such pressure to achieve a certain quantity of As, Bs & Cs we might produce pupils who actually understand the maths rather than just being taught how to pass the exams.
Also, over structuring the exams removes the need for pupils to think a little more laterally, therefore not adequately stretching the more gifted. The problem is reflected across the entire GCSE system. In History, the emphasis is more towards learning by rote and regurgitating facts and less on analysis and conclusion.
In short the need to think to excel has greatly diminished.
Overhaul of GCSE results could mean fewer grades…. GCSE results could be overhauled with a cut in the number of grades available suggests the exams regulator for England, Ofqual.
Here’s my views….
At last somebody sees sense! Lets revert to a system that everybody understands. Grades A,B,C,D,E & U, with C and above being seen as a pass. The outcome is then clear. Does anybody really care about the differentiation between F & G? GCSEs should be hard, thus removing the nonsense of A* which is simply an admission of dumbing down.
Here’s my take on the story that appeared on the BBC website yesterday regarding proposals to introduce performance related pay for teachers…. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-18089505
Performance related pay in the teaching profession is surely impossible to quantify?
Every lesson in every classroom on any given day presents different challenges. The variables are endless; class size, location, age, demographic. Along with that each and every cohort is unique; possibly similar or totally different from the last and the next. And how do we measure performance? Exam results? Disciplinary record? Attendance?
As well as that, performance related pay naturally introduces competition which can breed disharmony. Teachers should be paid equally and fairly.
Would love to know your opinion!
This story recently caught my eye (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18053619) about competition for state funding and a Government initiative to award £10,000 ‘pupil premium’ prize for schools that help pupils from poorer backgrounds.
I personally believe that competition for funding in a state run school system is completely divisive and likely to cause unrest within the teaching community.
I completely agree with Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, that ALL schools should be fully funded.
The Government needs to listen to representatives of the education sector. I think if the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers and the Deputy General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers fundamentally disagree with their policy then Government really ought to listen.
They understand education and the issues the sector faces and recognise the integral importance of a well rounded schooling for all pupils. Turning it into a competition will only exacerbate splits and divisions.
Tell me what you think!
Whether it’s getting your child to learn a completely new subject, or topping up their existing knowledge, private tuition offers a host of tangible benefits for parents.
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For more details visit www.kctutors.co.uk. You can follow Nevil on Twitter @kandctutors