Children from ethic minority groups 'more likely to be marked down by their teachers'

 

Children from ethic minority groups are more likely to be marked down by their teachers in tests and exams, Education Secretary Michael Gove will say today.

He will make the point in a speech to headteachers this afternoon designed to support his plans to move away from teacher assessment in exams to traditional end-of-course tests.

He will tell the Independent Academies Association conference in London that externally marked tests are “fairer”, adding: “The evidence shows that in teacher assessment of English achievement there is a tendency for ethnic minority children to be under-marked and students from non-minority backgrounds to be more generously marked.

“With external testing there is no opportunity for such bias - the soft bigotry of low expectations and tests show ethnic minority students performing better.

“So external tests are not only a way of levelling the playing field for children of all backgrounds, they are a solvent of prejudice.”

Mr Gove will also  mount a robust defence of exam league tables in the wake of a report from exams regulator Ofqual last week showing they played a part in putting too much pressure on teachers to bump up their pupils’ marks.

He will praise their “clarifying honesty” - claiming they have rescued schools from being judged on “hearsay and prejudice”.

Before they were introduced, he will say, schools in disadvantaged areas “were written off as sink schools - but many of them were performing well, better than other schools with more privileged intakes which were coasting”.

Mr Gove will also claim that “easy exams are worse than no exams at all”.

Defending his plans to make both GCSEs and A-levels more rigorous, he will say “our self- belief grows as we clear challenges we once thought beyond us.

“If we know tests are rigorous and they require application to pass, then the experience of clearing a hurdle we once considered too high spurs us on to further endeavours and deeper learning”.

Passing exams, he will continue, can bring the “happiness” which “sustains future progress”.  “There is no feeling of satisfaction as deep, or sustained, as knowing we have succeeded through hard work at a task which is the upper end, or just beyond, our normal or expected level of competence”.

Mr Gove’s comments come after a report from exams regulator Ofqual last week claimed the pressure teachers were under from targets and schools seeking a good league table showing had led to them marking their pupils’ English GCSE work “over-generously”. The Department for Education announced in the wake of report it was reviewing league table accountability measures which put too much pressure on securing C grade passes.

Mr Gove will insist: “Without tests and league tables we would have no effective means of helping poor students succeed .”

Meanwhile, Labour’s education spokesman Stephen Twigg last night called for action to tackle failing schools in northern towns and seaside resorts, saying an “arc of underachievement” was holding back some of the poorest children - particularly from white working class backgrounds - in these areas.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf