My take on Gove’s u turn on the GCSE proposals….
I absolutely agree. There should be one exam per subject that everybody takes at 16. These exams should be hard. Exams should be seen as a way of testing people’s ability whether they are academically gifted or not. Pretending everybody is academically talented by lowering standards helps nobody. Give everybody the same opportunity and we’ll know where we stand.
From BBC website….
Michael Gove hints at dropping CSE plans
Education Secretary Michael Gove has hinted he may not introduce a new CSE-type exam alongside the expected return of O-levels……
I wholeheartedly welcomed these original suggested changes. It is about time we swept away dumbed-down GCSEs. I do, however, disagree that there should be a second level of exams for pupils deemed less able.
The whole point of an examination system should be to test and compare. Results in an examination should reflect the candidate’s ability. If an individual scores a low mark this shows their ability. These students should not be seen as underachievers, they should be helped to find their vocation in life.
Students who are unlikely to score well (or indeed any candidate who wants to) should be given the opportunity to learn practical skills at school in tandem with academic subjects. In that way a student who gets what society deems to be ‘bad’ results may emerge from school at sixteen with meaningful training towards becoming (for example) a tradesman.
For years I have been saying that there should be a single examining body; perhaps, finally, this might come into being.
Here’s my take on some of the education news hitting the headlines this week…
Tougher maths in primary school curriculum review
Pupils in England’s primary schools will be expected to know their 12 times table by the age of nine, in a revised national curriculum.
There will be an emphasis on improving arithmetic in changes for schools proposed for September 2014.
There are also plans to scrap the current system of levels used for Sats tests and measuring pupils’ progress.
Everybody is in favour of improving standards and higher levels of literacy and numeracy. It is, however, very important that educational professionals themselves are given a chance to have their say when it comes to major changes. I agree that we should beware of’ ’ministerial whims’ and concentrate on strong consultation with the people on the ground.
Firms offer school leavers remedial classes
Many employers are providing remedial classes for school and college leavers, a major annual survey suggests.
A third of 542 firms surveyed for the Confederation of British Industry and Pearson were unhappy with youngsters’ literacy and numeracy skills.
This is just more evidence of the shortcomings of the education system. It will be interesting to see how the D of E respond.
Sats test scoring angers school head teachers
Head teachers in England have criticised arrangements for scoring this year’s Sats tests taken by 11-year-olds.
I agree entirely with the head teachers. Creating an average English mark from two scores which are arrived at in a completely different way gives a very misleading result. It is also unfair to compare these results with those of previous years. Regardless of the argument over the scoring method wouldn’t it be better to differentiate theses results as something separate from previous Sats so that students past and present are represented fairly? Indeed, why not let them also sit the standard test after schools have given their assessment mark to see how the results compare? We could then evaluate the relative merits more easily.
JaguarLandRover and British Airways back new colleges
Jaguar Land Rover and British Airways are among major businesses backing 15 new University Technical Colleges (UTCs) approved by the government.
I think these new colleges are a good idea in the current climate. What hasn’t been said is that these are really twenty-first century apprenticeships; an excellent idea. However, the need for such Colleges is also a reflection of the deterioration of our examination system as a whole. There was a time when students would naturally rise to the top through examination success and University education. Many were sponsored through University – a University system their future employers trusted.
Business approval of these UTCs is a clear sign that companies would much prefer to have input into the training of future employees from an early stage rather than relying on traditional schooling.
They will at least know the calibre of candidate they are getting, something you can no longer do by looking at top GCSE and A Level marks.
Ofsted’s one-day school inspection warning
Education watchdog Ofsted is to introduce “almost no notice” inspections in England, calling head teachers the day before arriving.
In a world where Ofsted inspections are an accepted norm, ‘almost no notice’ inspections are clearly a good idea. If you are going to inspect and judge you need to see how things are, not how things are after frantic all night preparations. That said, just the word Ofsted brings the fear of God into the heart and mind of any Head Teacher. Nobody would refute that inspection and quality control are an essential element to the education system but the government needs to find a way of making these inspections seem less of a witch hunt and more of a way to encourage and support.