Letter: Elusive carrot
Tuesday 24 August 1999
Presumably this is to give the impression, in the face of the yearly accusation that exams are getting easier, that standards are not rising as fast as they actually are. This highly retrograde step has the effect of rendering year-on-year comparisons meaningless.
What is the point of introducing scholarship aptitude tests to gauge the exact level of a student's ability at each stage of his/her schooling, only to impose a predetermined percentage of higher grades at public exam level?
The waters are further muddied because norm referencing kicks in only if there is a more than 2-per-cent increase in standards. This creates a climate where a successful teacher's quest for significant yearly improvement is a carrot that is continually out of reach.
Moreover, the resulting apparent deceleration then becomes a stick with which to beat the profession. This can only lead to increased disillusionment and a further loss of morale.
A good teacher will derive job satisfaction from seeing students fulfil their potential. This motivation is seriously in danger of being undermined.
Head of Art
North London Collegiate School
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