Children from ethic minority groups 'more likely to be marked down by their teachers'
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.
Wednesday 14 November 2012
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.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...