GCSE results reveal an abused generation
Originally posted by Peter Inson at 00:00, September 1 2012
Politicians, teachers, “experts” and the media all fail students
Michael Gove derides the standards achieved in the GCSE examination, the system created by his Conservative predecessors in office. Now he is looking for another system to impose.
Teachers try to protect the children who are entrusted to them by warning about government interference but cannot find a way of keeping politicians out of the classroom. They have not come up with an alternative system.
Three years ago the then Ofqual chief warned about misleading results from modular assessment. Two years ago the next Ofqual chief resigned over government policy, last year the organisation was involved in a report into declining standards in examinations and now it claims that last January’s exams were marked too leniently. The present chief regulator, Glenys Stacey, also abused the English language in her interview yesterday with the BBC when she referred repeatedly to “professional examiners,” and one has to ask what amateur examiners might look like.
In an interview on BBC television yesterday a sixteen year-old, who had gained a “D” grade in his GCSE English language examination, rather than a predicted “C” was duly rolled out by the adults around him as a victim – he didn’t think that he would be able to start an apprenticeship on Monday.
Nobody asked him whether he had contacted his prospective employers, to find out whether they would still take him on, or whether they might accept him provisionally, perhaps until he had re-taken the exam. Nobody suggested that he might present himself to the firm in a positive light, perhaps by means of a well-written letter or e-mail – surely someone predicted a “C” grade could do that. Surely, is this not the very stuff at the heart of literacy?
But no. One lot of adults at loggerheads with another lot is prepared to mis-use an innocent and seemingly poorly supported victim to insist on a particular point of view. Teenagers who despair of their education are entitled to do so.
Shame on us.