GCSE results: Schools end up teaching to the test rather than improving subject knowledge, warns headteachers' leader
Avoid switching to subject in which you achieved a higher grade but which you didn't really enjoy, warns head
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Tuesday 20 August 2013
Schools are teaching to the test during GCSE years rather than concentrating on improving their pupils' subject knowledge, a headteachers' leader warned today.
Kathryn James, director of policy at the National Association of Head Teachers, hit out at the "illogical situation" whereby schools are under pressure to improve their GCSE results at the same time as exams regulatory Ofqual is charged with the duty of ensuring the overall pass rates remain steady.
"The pressures within the system are distorting the ability of schools to stay focussed on teaching to the subject rather than test," she added.
"We have the illogical situation where every school is under pressure to increase results every year while the regulator is under pressure to hold results steady. This is not a sustainable situation."
Ministers have increased the minimum target for schools from 35 per cent of pupils getting five A* to C grade passes including maths and English to 40 per cent this year.
At the same time Ofqual is conducting a policy of "comparative outcomes" - insisting that exam boards should be working towards ensuring results are "broadly" the same as in the previous year.
Meanwhile, headteachers have warned pupils not to switch their chosen A-level options just because of a poor showing in the subject at GCSE.
"GCSE results don't always reflect students' potential in a subject," said Jane Gandee, head of St Swithun's School in Winchester and a member of the Girls' School Association. "Teachers' knowledge of their work over two years and their assessment of individual potential tends to be more reliable than public exam results.
"It is particularly important to stick with subjects that you enjoy rather than changing to one in which you achieved a higher grade but which you didn't really enjoy. I have seen numerous examples of this over the years and it never works because students simply don't apply themselves if they are not engaged."
British are sexually uptight, dirty and drink too much – according to Spanish book
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
expenses on shoots: WORLDbytes: Volunteering with a media based charity,for a ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A school in Tameside is currently l...
£50 - £70 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind are currently looking for ...
£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...