Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

Educational flurry? Looks like I’m not the only one… #gove

I don’t even live in England, but I feel the need to have a wee rant.

Gove,( the Education man in the government) (today, at least… we’ll see how that goes) has decided to scrap about half of the English school exam system and have a system based on … single exam summative assessment with no coursework or account taken of effort/work during the year.

English: Michael Gove speaking at the Conserva...

English: Michael Gove speaking at the Conservative Party “Big Society” policy launch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All your educational eggs in one basket.

Not only that, the exams are going to be difficult.

Which is fine, if the children are able to pass them – but the reality is that, if the exams are difficult, only about two sevenths  (OK so that is arbitrary and I am guessing) of the children will be able to pass them. That means that more than half of the children will spend the majority of their school career facing failure down the barrel of a summative gun.

I never thought I would look at Standard Grade through rose tinted spectacles – but it was A GREAT THING. The media used to moan that 99% of kids used to pass it. Of course they did. It was calibrated so that no matter how little you could do, you could get credit for what you could do, even if it was no great shakes – and your future college lecturer or employer would know how literate you were. And it was a huge achievement to gain a grade 6, even although it meant that you had serious issues with literacy. To get a 6, not only did you have to overcome huge difficulties with reading and writing, you had to show consistent effort over two years. If you got a 6 in S Grade it was the best you could do and you should be CELEBRATED!!! for it! Go you!

OK OK so, only grades 3, 2, and 1 meant that you could read and write WELL – but at least we knew.

With a hard PASS/FAIL exam, we only know who does well. We don’t know SQUAT about everyone else that has burst a gut trying their hardest but not being given an appropriate chance to show what they CAN do, even within that skill set.


All I am saying: Calibrate. Celebrate.



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8 thoughts on “Educational flurry? Looks like I’m not the only one… #gove

  1. In the States our schools and teachers have increasingly been forced to teach and learn to the test and I strongly feel that this is short changing the students in a huge way. For students gifted in taking tests, it is easy but there are so many people who aren’t gifted in that way, they need essays or papers to show that they have understood. I am sorry that England is going down that path, children are more than just pass/fail.

  2. You know what I would suggest . . .

  3. I know. It’s totally alarming that the guy in charge appears to have done zero in the way of educational research!
    The twittersphere doesn’t appear to agree with his plan. Maybe there’ll be a government U-turn in good time…

    • Scotstig on said:

      I know…… it’s all a bit bizarre. It does all seem to smack of “it was better in my day” but I think the public whom Mr. Gove represents are baying for the blood of teachers. When the exams pass results go up do the public pat teachers on the back and say “well done” for finding a good unilateral teaching method? No, they say the exams are too easy and so we cannot trust them.

      Unfortunately employers are members of the public too and they will always choose a student with a 3,2 or 1 for English over a hard working 6 because the 6 (in a competitive world) just doesn’t cut it. It might appeal in a sociological or educational way but to an employer it says the student isn’t capable and he would be much better hiring a cheaper more literate and hard working, British or foreign worker.

      • Yes, the grade 6 young person will find it hard to get a job 😦
        But the problem is that if the exam isn’t calibrated that far down, the employers are left with the non-graduates all being “failures” – with no idea as to what that means in reality.

  4. Raising standards: good.
    One size fits all education: bad.

  5. Pingback: The cage called the normal curve « The Other I

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