Exam boards and teaching to test

All of us are different. I know I’m stating the obvious here but it seems some people need reminding. Particularly where the education of our children is concerned.

Have you seen this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11696836

It outlines concerns that schools are abusing the exam system and choosing different exam boards in order to get children through to higher grades. A first glance this may seem unfair. But then the testing and exam systems have been unfair for years and years, stacked as they are in favour of a academically able and neglecting the rest.

Testing and examining has been a bugbear of mine for as long as I can remember. What bugs me most of all is the attempts all the way through the system to treat children as if they are all the same, as if we can pack them all into the same size boxes, squeezing any sticking out bits until they die and drop off like lambs tails. Or worse; categorise their failure to fit as a ‘difficulty’ with the child, when in reality it’s the system that has a difficulty in acknowledging that we are all different.

Take twenty grown ups. Let’s stick them all in racing cars and make them racing drivers. Or on horseback and make them all Dressage riders. Or in a kitchen and make them all chefs. Why couldn’t we do that? Why couldn’t we could make them all as good as each other, as skilled as each other, as competent as each other whether or not they have an aptitude for racing, riding and cooking or not? Why couldn’t we? That’s what we expect to do to children.

Ludicrous, isn’t it? Yet this is the way we treat children within the education system. We treat them all as if they are all the same. We use more or less the same approaches, the same tests and the same exams. And expect them all to achieve these same qualifications irrespective of whether it suits them or not. That’s what we’ve been doing for years.

Different children need different approaches to their education and to enable them to gain what they need in the world after school. One style of examining and one approach to achievement is in complete neglect of their individual needs.

No wonder more and more parents are turning to home education. They are sick of the cloning of their kids. They are sick of league tables and teaching to the test. And they want their children to become educated, not simply collect qualifications.

Teaching to exams neglects a complete and rounded education. And if we narrow down the range of exam styles and approaches then we will narrow down that education even further. And more and more children will be failed.

Thank goodness home schooling can offer them an alternative.


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