Concern from Industry:
I have a theory about the continued increase in examination passes (Grades
A to C). Those of us in industry and commerce know that today’s pupils are
not as skilled as pupils of the same age in previous decades.
Alleged improvements in examinations started when the Government placed
education high on the electoral policy.
Examination Boards are under pressure to attract more and more schools to
register with them for examinations. A simple formula leads to exam board
survival - attract more schools to register their pupils with the board.
This I suspect is why the number of pupils passing GCSE exams has
continually increased. Schools will not register their pupils for
difficult courses that lead to poor examination pass rates, but they will
if their pupils have more than a fair chance of success. Have exam boards
lowered standards to increase pupil pass rates and therefore attract more
Schools are now preoccupied looking for courses that will lift their 5 A
to C grades. GNVQs are growing in popularity as some are worth four GCSEs.
However, a growing number of teachers believe they are barely worth one
GCSE. Despite this, many schools have paid out vast sums of money to Exam
Boards to register their pupils for these courses. The aim is to increase
their schools 5 A to C pass rate. If a pupil passes a GNVQ qualification
plus one more genuine GCSE they can be added to their schools 5 A to C
statistics. Is this an examination scam? Or does it genuinely lead to an
improvement in pupil education?
Why are teachers not complaining?
Many are now complaining and standing up for standards. But all to often
self interest means that if a class teacher is achieving good examination
passes and reaching targets set by line managers - there is very good
reason not to 'rock the boat'.
Why are Examination Boards not complaining?
Being an Examination Board is now big business with many jobs on the line.
Think of all the unnecessary paper work teachers have to complete, someone
at the Examination Board is paid to check it all, process it and set in
the first place. Why complain when it is now possible to have a career
setting, checking and processing paper work rather working in front of
pupils in a classroom.
Why is the Government not complaining that
examinations are getting too easy?
Very simple answer - good examination passes make the government look good
to the general public.
Once this country could be rightly proud of the standards set by its
independent examination system. Can it be proud of the system now?